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Merkinė Mound and the confluence of Nemunas and Merkys rivers have long been the symbol of Dainava region. This mound can be found on a cut cone-shaped hill, beside the confluence of Nemunas and Merkys, at the left bank of Stangė River. It is the most significant witness of the past of this place. Steep hill remains show that the castle was built on the high cape of the confluence of rivers.
Merkinė Castle was most likely built in the second half of the 13th century. At the beginning of the 14th–15th century, it became the most important military - strategic centre of Panemunė in the battles with the Livonian Order. At the time, the strategic triangle of Vilnius – Kaunas – Merkinė formed the main system of defence of the country. From 1377, chronicles of the Crusaders often mentioned the castle calling it either Merkenpille or Merkenpil. On 30 November 1391, the castle was taken over by the Crusaders, and in 1394 it was burnt down by the retreating garrison of the castle. The castle was once again burnt down by the Crusaders in 1403.
The mound itself is around 20 meters high. Its top reveals a wonderful view of the surrounding forests, the confluence of Nemunas and Merkys and an island in the middle of it, as well as a bridge across Nemunas. It has steep, 12–30 m high slopes. Part of the site still remains. It is believed that the diameter of the site was more than 20 m, surrounded by an embankment. 1.5 m high and 15 m wide mound fragments remain to this day. Until the first half of the 20th century, most of the mound was washed away by Stangė River.
There is an outer bailey to the north east of the mound. Its site is oval-shaped, with a size of 150 x 300 m, without any visible fortifications. Slopes are up to 15 m high, and up to 80 cm thick cultural layer was discovered here in 1997. Findings: pottery, iron ploughshare.
There is a settlement at the southern and western foot of the mound. It was studied in 1971, and a 2 m thick cultural layer was discovered. Findings: pottery, stone projectile, 16th century – 17th century pottery, tiles, bricks. 200 m to the east of the mound, there is a burial ground dating back to the end of the 14th century – 15th century. Merkinė campsites which were situated to the west of the town have an even older history.