In the footsteps of love in Alytus


Alytus Hill-fort

The hundreds of years old Alytus Mound is the witness of the town foundation. It is a historical and cultural monument and today there are a group of sculptures called Ancestors of Alytus Mound at the bottom of it. There are lots of legends tell about the mound itself. One of the legends is about love and the origin of the name of the town. Once upon a time Mirgrausele and Alyta lived there. They fell in love with each other but Mirgrausele was destined to be a priestess. Crusaders forayed the local castle. Many warriors died in the battle but Alyta stayed alive and thrust his way out of the encirclement of the enemy. He rode away to the Gabija hill where Mirgrausele nursed the sacred fire and hid her away. He went back to the battle himself. Although Alyta fought fearlessly he died. When Mirgrausele found out about the death of Alyta, she cried her eyes out so that her tears turned into a runlet and started to run into the river Nemunas. The priests named the runlet Alytupis, the Gabija hill was named the Mirgrausele mound and the town of Alytus was named after Alyta. Even today the runlet of Mirgrausele tears flows into the Nemunas and old people say that those who take a sip of the runlet water fall in love if they were not in love yet, and those who are in love already start loving even stronger. The mound dates back to the middle of the 1st millennium – 14th century. On the mound, there was the Castle of Alytus that was burnt by Crusaders. Authors of photographs: D. Belenihin, B. Malaškevičiūtė, S. Pinkevičienė, S. Šmigelskas.

40 min.
3.2 km
White Rose Bridge (for pedestrians and cyclists)

The highest Lithuania’s pedestrian and bicycle bridge (project by V. Karieta) was built in Alytus in 2015, on the remains of former railway bridge piers. It has been registered in the Book of Lithuanian Records.  It is 38.1 m in height and 240,52 m in length. It was officially opened on 4 June 2016. The bridge connects two bicycle paths running on the both banks of the Nemunas River that divides the town. In the second half of the 19th century, a military railway to Alytus classified as a fortress of the 3rd class, was built to reinforce the western borders of the Russian empire (Lithuania then was a part of it). A 33 m high and 240.5 m long bridge of an innovative cantilever design was built in this place in 1897 to 1899 (project by N. Beleliubskis). The carriageway was designed for rail traffic and horse-driven carriages. During World War I, in 1915, the retreating tsarist army blew up the bridge.  The Germans who occupied Alytus built up a temporary wooden military railway bridge. It was 35 m high and 294 m long. The bridge served until 1926, later it was dismantled. The modern-day bridge is popular among enthusiasts of extreme entertainment. Jumping from the bridge while connected to a large elastic cord ( Bungee jumps ) have been organised there for some time. When standing on the bridge, a wonderful panoramic view opens to Alytus Hill Fort shrouded in legends and dated back as far the 14th century, the middle of the 1st millennium. Near the bridge, there is a recreation area with walking trails, arbours and places for bonfire. Old photographs from Algimantas Antanevičius collection. The author of today's photos: J. Baranowski, G. Bernatavičius, J. Bulina, E. Dovydėnas, V. Paprastutis, M. Gudzinevičius, E. Rugieniūtė.

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