When walking in Birute Park, one of the most beautiful places in Palanga, be certain to visit Birute Hill. Here, centuries-old sacred Birute pine forest still thrives in the territory of former Tiškevičiai Mansion. It surrounds the legendary Birute Hill standing 21 meters above the sea level and overlooking magnificent view of soughing sea.
You will not only have a good time in the nature but also be able to travel to ancient times – the fact that people lived here a long time ago is proven by discoveries of ceramics on the hill dating back to the first millennium. Settlement complex of Curonians usually consisted of a castle, one or more settlements and an oblation table. A castle and oblation table on the Birute Hill date back to 9th – 13th centuries, a village was established at the foot of the hill. At the end of 14th century – the beginning of 15th century a defensive wall was built on the hill which was probably burnt during fights with Crusaders.
Later, a pagan sanctuary with paleoastronomy observatory was set up here. This sanctuary is linked with the name of the priestess Birutė, the wife of Duke Kęstutis and the mother of Vytautas. Stories tell that she lived here and kept the holy fire burning and was buried here after her death.
In 1898, a neo-gothic chapel designed by architect K. Mayer was built on the top of Birute Hill. In 1976, the chapel was decorated with stained-glass created by the artist L. Pocius.
Grotto is a typical element of the XIX c. classical park. In Palanga Tyshkevich palace park, at the foot of the Birutė’s hill, a grotto was made by count Feliksas Tyshkevich at request of his wife Antanina when the main park creation and palace construction works were already completed. Only natural stones were used for construction of the grotto, they were cemented. In the hovel of the grotto earlier there was a big sculpture of St. Mary which is now placed in the church. As the Lithuania’s revival began, Vilius Orvydas presented to Palanga a stone St. Mary’s sculpture. It was placed in the hovel of the grotto, but, unfortunately, it was not fit for the grotto. At present a copy of the original sculpture is placed in the grotto hovel instead of it.