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Zervynos is an ethnographic linear village situated on both banks of the River Ūla in the Varėna District, within the territory of the Dzūkija National Park. The Village of Zervynos was first mentioned in written documents in 1742. However, the proof of settlers dates back to the Paleolithic age, as 24 Stone and Bronze Age settlements were discovered nearby the village.
This village is one of the most authentic Lithuanian settlements. All of its homesteads remained standing in the same exact locations as two and a half centuries ago. Zervynos was recognized as an architectural heritage site of national significance. 8 of its homesteads received the status of ethnographic cottages. The winding main street of the village seems to be recreating the twists and turns of the Ūla River. Several small streets that the locals often refer to as ‘ulyčia’ branch away from the main one. Wooden homesteads with thatched roofs (straw, shingle or reed roofs) are situated along these streets.
The famous wooden crosses seem to be an integral part of the village architecture. Most crosses have white aprons hung on them symbolizing the women’s wish to never have a child out of wedlock.
Since ages ago, the local residents have been mostly engaged in fishing, hunting, gathering berries and mushrooms, weaving and twining straw, twigs and sapwood. They are also widely known for beekeeping and tree beekeeping traditions. Hollowed trees, such as the Zervynos Oak, are under protection as natural heritage.
For a long time, the Vilkinis and the Tamulevičius have been the only families that resided in Zervynos Village. Any residents with a different last name were outsiders who have come to this village from another place. This fun fact is best confirmed by the Zervynos Cemetery. As one takes a walk among the old gravestones, the majority of the surnames on the gravestones are either Vilkinis or Tamulevičius.
Zervynos Village is surrounded by the Dainava forest from all sides with the Ūla River across it. If you head towards the Mančiagirė near Ūla, you come across a beautiful landscape of the Mančiagirė precipices, also considered to be natural heritage. Several lakes and small marshy pits are located in the surrounding forests. Mekšrinis is a lake of clear blue water, while Išrūginis is a slack water lake bearing a slightly green hue. The Zervynos Oak can be found in the village and two other hollow pine trees are located at is southern border.