Kernavė Archaeological Site

The Kernavė Archaeological Site gives an exceptional testimony to the evolution of human settlements in the Baltic region over a period of 10 millennia. Being one of the largest (194 ha) archaeological open-air sites it has presented numerous archaeological findings. The landscape has been shaped from the late Palaeolithic Period to the Middle Ages. The Site has exceptional evidence of pantheistic and Christian funeral traditions. The preserved traces of ancient land use and the five impressive hill forts of Kernavė represent all the stages of Baltic settlements, the evolution of fortification, and the system of defence. In the 13th and 14th century Kernavė became a significant economic-political centre of the State of Lithuania. The Kernavė Archaeological Site was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004. In 2011 the Site was inscribed on the List of Cultural Property under Enhanced Protection.

Kernavė is an area of unique archaeological and historical value. In 2004 the State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thus recognising the importance of the area according to two value criteria for UNESCO heritage sites:

- as a site which presents an exceptional testimony to the evolution of human settlements in the Baltic region in Europe over the period of some 10 millennia. The site has exceptional evidence of the contact of Pagan and Christian funeral traditions;

- as an object with settlement patterns and the impressive hill forts representing oustanding examples of the development of such types of structures and the history of their use in the prie-Christian era.

The State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė is comprised of:

- the territory of reserve (194, 4 hectares) with cultural heritage objects (valuables) and an open-air exposition;

- the Archaeological and Historical Museum with collection of artifacts and exposition.

The State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė was established in order to protect territorial complex of cultural heritage objects, and also to investigate, supervise, exploit and maintain the originality of the site. These aims are actualized by the Administration of the State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė.

Kernavė is a land that represents the primeval past of Lithuania. On the picturesque bank of the River Neris in the centre of the amphitheatre of the Pajauta Valley stand five hill forts, by where our ancestors have settled, lived and been buried since time immemorial. The landscape formed in the course of history, numerous archaeological finds testify to the historical processess and cultures, wich have existed in the area for 11,000 years. Thriving at times, stagnant at others, life in Kernavė never ground to a halt. The cultural heritage of the last pagan country in Europe – the remains of ancient capital of Lithuania – lies hidden under a layer of deposits.

Visitors are invited to reveal the secrets of the past centuries safeguarded by the Pajauta Valley, climb the hill forts and feel the magic allure of the past.