Author: R. Milušauskienė
Source: Nemunas Loops Regional Park
The Neman is not only the largest and water-rich river in Lithuania, but also the most glorified in the songs, woven into legends and described by chroniclers in ancient times. Even now there are modern legends about the loops of this river, and so far geologists cannot answer the question of how the loops had formed. Scientists say that the loops of the Neman are a unique phenomenon not only in Lithuania but in all glacier areas as well. In search of the shortest path to the Baltic Sea, the Neman performed the work of a real sculptor. "Grandpa" Neman mesmerized a lot of travellers with his valleys, high slopes, ravines, exposures, and ridges. Anyone who wants to see the beauty created by Neman should have taken off in a hot air balloon, plane, glider or just turned into a bird! Just having been in the sky, one realizes what a beautiful land we live in and what an incredible landscape surrounds us! This landscape was created by nature together with the humans living here.
One can admire the Neman from the river’s banks; they are 30-70 m high. Such elevation changes are quite rare in Lithuania. These views take travellers‘breath away and these views leave a lasting impression! Yet one question remained unanswered – how to enjoy the landscape without flying, how to feel oneself between two rivers while staying on the ground.
From now on, to feel like a bird in the sky and to see incredible landscape- one can climb the Birštonas Observation Tower - the highest such tower in Lithuania.
The place for the tower was chosen back in 1997, when the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approved the planning scheme for the Neman Loops Regional Park. The planning scheme sets out measures for the conservation, management and proper use of this unique territory. Already then there was a dream about constructing an observation tower which would provide opportunity to appreciate beauty and uniqueness of the area. The place for the tower was chosen – ridge of Škėvonys exposure (height of 92 m above sea level). The Neman River flows 240 meters away, and there is open area in the south-eastern part, there is forest nearby, panorama of Birštonas and the Neman Valley is visible.
The observation deck of the tower will be located at a height of 45 m, and the total height of the tower will be 55 m. Getting to the tower top without stopping might be difficult, and therefore six rest sites will be provided. Next to the tower there will be a recreation area and information stand with panorama of the Neman Loops Regional Park. The metal construction of the tower will be "dressed" with larch panels with triangular cells. Such "dress"of the tower might remind of wayside shrine or constellations in the sky. The tower, rectangular design with a laced roof, follows the tradition of Lithuanian defensive architecture, resembles old wooden castle towers and also associates with the later architecture of belfries towers. One might also compare the tower with roadside chapels and image of the World tree. The symbolism of the tower enlivens with the openings – small window for light penetration and opportunity to admire the surrounding beauties as they are carvings of wooden sculptures.
The State Service of Protected Areas has placed the order for the Birštonas Observation Tower , UAB "Prosfera" and architect Donatas Malinauskas are project developers, UAB "Empower-Fidelitas" is the builder.
When will we be able to climb the highest tower of Lithuania? The tower is growing very fast; even now one can see it at the Birštonas ring and follow its construction. Every day it becomes taller and more beautiful. If spring is favourable to builders, then in May everyone interested in seeing a beautiful view of the small loops of the Neman will be able to climb the tower of Birštonas and enjoy the enchanting surrounding views.
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