The Primal Capital of Lithuaniapiliakalnis
XII Festival - 4-6 July, 2010

Kernave is a cradle oNew_Picture.pngf Lithuania. It is an ancient capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, situated on the banks of the river Neris. Picturesque hills of Kernave are considered to be a visit card of the Lithuanian tourism. What is interesting about Kernave? Kernave was firstly mentioned in chronicles in the 13th century but nevertheless it is a unique place, a cradle of the Lithuanian people. Archaeological research, which was held and is still held in Kernave showed that people lived in this place 10000 years before it was mentioned in chronicles. The hills in Kernave and the artifacts found there are the main part of the reservation, which was founded by the Lithuanian authorities to prese rve the unique place. Nowadays Kernave reservation has the territory of more than 200 hectares.It is the first centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and it is mentioned in the list of the world cultural heritage by UNESCO.
PROGRAMME*4 Jul (Sunday) 11 A.M. – 7 P.M.
10.45 Parade of participants of the festi val
10.55 Opening of the event
11.00-19.00 Presentation of archaeological excavations
11.40 Archaic music concert. Todar Kaškurevič’ group
11.20-12.20 Presentation of XIII-XIV c. Kernavė town history, daily life and reconstructed woman’s costume
11.30-13.00 Archaic games and contests, music
12.00-13.00 Lecture „Horse in the History of Lithuania“, video film "With Horse Sign"
13.00-14.00 Lecture „Research of Kernavė Archaeological Site“, video film „Kernavė Archaeologists“
12.30-13.30 Children competitions: best glued pot, archery, spinning
12.40 Presentation of making up the fire, music and rituals
13.00-14.30 Horse breed Žemaitukai demonstration and competition
13.30 Presentation of archaic musical instruments
14.15 Presentation of medieval court of justice and punishments
14.30 Medieval fights
15.00-16.00 Lecture „Kernavė Archaeological Site. Research of XIII – XIV c. Cemetery“, video film „Kernavė Archaeologists“
16.00-17.00 Presentation of video film „The Past Reborn“
15.30-16.30 Presentation of XIII-XIV c. Kernavė town history, daily life and reconstructed woman’s costume
15.30 Archaic music concert. Ensmbles “Visi”, “Trys keturiose”
15.30 -16.30 Children competitions: best glued pot, archery, spinningArchaic games and contests, music
16.30 Presentation of silver articles casting
17.00 Medieval fights
18.00-19.00 Archaic music concert. Todar Kaškurevič’ group
After almost 30 years of successful archaeological researches, today we know that the first settlers appeared in the territory of the Cultural Reservation of Kernavė as early as in 9th-8th millennium BC, in the Epipaleolithic period. Since then until the very Early Middle Ages, the territory was continuously settled by people who left their traces. Formation of large settlements started in the Pajauta Valley in first centuries AC. Hillforts were used to defend the settlements. Hillforts are the most powerful element of the Cultural Reservation. There are up to one thousand hillforts in Lithuania, but there is no other complex of five hillforts along the whole region of the Baltic Sea. It is a heritage of historical-natural processes (glacier drawback) and long-term human traces. InLithuania, the hillforts as a principal type of a pro-historical settlement have been functioning since the Bronze Age till the end of 14th century. Kernavė is not an exception here. In 13th century Kernavė becomes a town of feudal craftsmen and tradespeople, spread in the Pajauta Valley between the Neris and fortified hillforts.
The central hillfort (called the Aukuro Hillfort) was the duke’s estate, the remaining four carried out the functions of defence of the duke’s castle and the town. In written sources Kernavė was first mentioned in 1279 in the Livonian Chronicle and the Herman Vartberg Chronicle, where it was described as Traidenis’, the Great Duke’s of Lithuania, estate (1269-1282). At that time Kernavė was the most significant economic-political centre of Lithuania – the first capital of Lithuania. These were Kernavė’s palmy days.
In 1390 Kernavė was burnt in an attack by Crusaders. After the fire the wooden town and castles have never been rebuilt, people moved out from the Pajauta Valley and started settling on the upper terrace, in the present territory of the settlement. In time, the remains of the old town were hidden from spectators’ eyes under a thick alluvial deposit stratum, which was an ideal preservative of the entire organics and, simultaneously, the traces of townspeople’s – inhabitants of the Lithuanian Troy. Unlike in Vilnius, in Kernavė cultural strata remained absolutely untouched from the end of 14th century, so they perfectly preserved their inestimable information.
Archaeological researches
Kernavė is one of the most important and the most interesting monuments in Central and Eastern Europe from the archaeological point of view. The first inhabitants settled here as soon as the glaciers retreated around 12000 years ago. Since then the settlers have never left Kernavė. People were born, brought up here; they worked and fought, died and were buried here. Therefore, in the compact territory of 196,2 ha over 40 monuments from different periods have been found and examined more or less thoroughly (over 8000 sq. m. of land have been explored). This gives us a chance to revive not just separate periods of our prehistory, but also reconstruct the whole development of life style and burial customs in the region. Most of the excavated sites in Kernavė remind a big pie divided by cultural layers of different periods. Each layer of this pie is an invaluable page of Kernavė prehistory. Professional archaeological researches started in 1979 after the fall of the eastern slope of the Mindaugas Throne hill-fort (headed by Assoc. Professor P. Kulikauskas, A. Luchtanas, Vilnius University). The cultural layers of the 4th -14th centuries were discovered. In 1979 a part of the settlement located on the northeastern side of the Lizdeika hill-fort foot was examined (middle - second part of the I millennium AD).Reservation territory (194,4 ha)
The territory includes the entire valley of Pajauta together with five mounds looming nearby and the upper terrace of the river Neris where nowadays the settlement of Kernavė is located. Mounds are the most expressive feature of the reserve. They number up to one thousand in Lithuania, yet you will never find five of them together in one and the same place. This is a heritage of historic nature processes (retreating glacier) and human activity. Mounds existed as the main type of an ancient Lithuanian settlement from the end of the Bronze Age to the 15th century. Kernavė is no exception in this respect. During the first centuries AD large settlements were founded in the Pajauta Valley, while in the 13th century Kernavė became a town of feudal artisans and merchants with a defensive nucleus in the form of mounds. A number of researches proved the fact that the place of the Duke's manor house was located on the Altar Mound, while the mounds of Mindaugas Throne, Lizdeika, Kriveikiškės and the Castle Hill were fore-mounds that served for the protection of the Duke's Castle and the town.
The full complex of cultural properties is protected within the territory of the reserve. There are known and registered 18 archaeological, historical and cultural values.
Mounds of KernaveThe complex of hill-forts: Mindaugas Throne, Lizdeika and Castle Hill (from left to right). The Kriveikiškis hill-fort is outermost, it’s obstructed by the Lizdeika hill-fort. The Pajauta Valley is located between the Neris river and the hill-forts.
Pajauta Valley

Mindaugas Throne

Lizdeika hill-fort