People often ask me what I like most about Lithuania. For a long while I would always say the people, Lithuanians in generally speaking quiet friendly and a fair few are some of the warmest and friendliest people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. Maybe it’s my personality but I seem to get on pretty well with them… or I think I do. Now however, the thing I love most is the little fun facts I discover on a daily basis… Maybe I have knack of finding these things out or maybe not, but I love the rare little tit bits you can find out about a country from hanging out with locals.
It wasn’t until I started living here that I discovered that I quite regularly I would stumble upon some interesting story or a myth or a local legend that sometimes I truly had to question… The likes of Solveiga’s crocodile news in a past podcast episode or that a city was founded by a bear? Or one of my favorites, there are swans living in the river in Kaunas during winter (Totally true by the way they do) That’s why I love Lithuania I think it always has some kind of surprise waiting for you to discover.
This post comes to from a story I was told recently by a very good friend of mine over a few too many tasty Lithuanian beers. So here it is…
All Lithuanians agree that the “father of all rivers” here in Lithuania is of course the legendary Nemunas. Now, the Nemunas is the longest and quite possibly the most beautiful river in Lithuania and it certainly is the most well-known for sure. The Nemunas and the Neris River (also up there as famous and pretty) meet in Lithuania’s second largest city: Kaunas and my current home town.
It’s said that newlyweds love going to Santakos Parkas because it overlooks the convergence of the Neris and Nemunas. In the Lithuanian language, the Neris is a feminine noun and the Nemunas is a male noun. Therefore, this romantic site symbolizes marriage, love and forever-ness it’s where the male and female join and then never spit up. (Few do mention that after the merging the rivers dirtier as you go down stream.)… but no comment there!
Whether or not this is a well-known story or the rumbling of a man drinking too much beer who knows, I thought it was a nice story and if you do ever find yourself in Kaunas do try a tasty Lithuanian beer and take a stroll around Santakos Parkas it truly is a beautiful part of the city and one of my favourite spots.
Quick facts about the Nemunas:
- The source of the Nemunas is in Belarus.
- It forms a border for Lithuania with Belarus and Russia’s Kaliningrad.
- It’s the 14th largest river in Europe.
- The total length of the Nemunas is 914 km.
- Its greatest depth is almost 5m and at its widest it’s 500m.
- The Nemunas dates back to the glacial period. (Not as old as my mom, but pretty old)
Until next time much love,