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The top of the hillfort reveals a scenic view of Kartena town, as well as the bend and the valleys of the River Minija.

Under the initiative of Salantai Regional Park, the hillfort and its surrounding area were renewed in 2012–2013 and adapted for visitors with the support of the European Union Structural Funds.


Kartena (Cartine) was mentioned in written sources from 1253. It is likely that the wooden castle of Kartena was built in the 8th-10th century on the hillfort which was mentioned in the legend described above. Kartena hillfort was built so that is would be reliably protected by natural obstacles – Minija River valley and its deep ravines. The defensive fortifications of the hillfort suggest that in the 9th-13th century Kartena was an important defensive and administrative center of the Curonian Lands of Ceklis (Samogitians settled here later). Kartena fortress had to withstand a number of enemy attacks until it was most likely burned by the Crusaders in 1263.

The state-protected Kartena hillfort, also known as the hill of Castle, Swedes or Luztis, is recognized to be a cultural monument of national importance. The historical and archaeological complex includes the hillfort, the village, the mythological stone named Laumės Kūlis (Stone of the Fae) with an imprint of a cow’s hoof (or, perhaps, of the devil himself) and the nearby Kartena Lourdes that is famous for its spring of healing water. People believe that it was built in the former place of pagan rites and religious ceremonies.


Legends say that the hillfort was built by the Samogitians who were fighting with the Swedes and the Russians. According to one of the legends, "a large castle once stood on top of the hill of Kartena where a Samogitian kind lived. The castle was surrounded by water. Since the hill was not tall, crashing water waves could almost reach the castle walls. There were three very large fish in these waters. These fish served the Samogitian king: they guarded the castle so well, that no one was able to go near it".


It is said that the name of Kartena was created during battles with enemies. Once, two large armies – the Russians and the Swedes both came to attack the Samogitians at once. They disagreed on who would attack the castle first and started fighting with each other in the valley of Minija River. The leader of Samogitians, who was watching the battle in the valley from the towers of the castle, exclaimed to his subordinates in Samogitian language: "Veizėkiet, karė tenā!" (“Look, there is war over there!). From then on, the place was called Kartena.


The Samogitian king who reigned here "met his end with a group of horsemen" while travelling from Kartena to Kretinga. At midnight, "dead warriors rise from their graves and train for battle. These warriors are engulfed in flames, while the king is dressed in white and rides on his white horse". When the clock strikes one at night, the king and his warriors go back to their graves while shouting loudly "There will be a time, when we shall return once again!“


When the Samogitian king was gone, his "castle drowned, the water dried up and a pond formed near the hill which is visible to this day. The pond still has one of the fish to this day. It is so big, that it weighs around 100 pounds. There were many attempts to catch the fish, but to no avail, as the fish ripped apart every fishing net that was used to catch it. This monstrous fish can still be seen to this day when it swims to the surface of the pond in the dead of the night".


Other legends say that the hillfort was formed by the hands of the Swedes who built their fortress on top of it and used it to attack the surrounding areas. Therefore, it was called the Hill of Swedes.