Druskininkai is a small town in the southern part of Lithuania on the border with Belarus. Some days ago, when a group of friends asked me to take a ride over there I could not refuse. Therefore, we jump in the car and we dedicated to ourselves just two relaxing days in this spa oasis.
Druskininkai is famous in fact for its healing waters. The name of the city comes from “druska” that in Lithuanian means just salt, in effect, the water sources of the city are salty.
The town, which is about 120 kilometres from Vilnius, is located just beyond the western borders of the Dzukija’s national park that is characterized by the presence of these small water mirrors, which are often hidden in the dense vegetation of the area. The first impression that you have whenever you come to Druskininkai is as impressive as extravagant; the typically soviet architecture seems to take us back in time. Indeed, during the soviet regime this small country was extremely well known for its miraculous sanatoriums, from every part of the territory you could find someone who tried to get a doctor to prescribe a cure in these establishments. About ten thousand people each year benefitting from these services for free, then after the disintegration of the USSR have suddenly fallen into disuse only leaving an indelible mark in recent history. However, nowadays Druskininkai is getting more end more famous and is regaining its ancient splendour due to some technological attraction like the futurist snow arena and also because of the reconstruction of a lot of valuable buildings. Effectively, venturing into the small historic centre, there are also strong traces of an even farther past, tsarist time. Small colourful wooden houses sprouting here and there along the city’s major pedestrian street that connects the Miesto muziejus (city museum) which displays a magnificent collection of engravings depicting scenes of nineteenth-century everyday life and stunning panoramic postcards of the region. On the other side stands the largest indoor water park in the country that attracts thousands of tourists. In the middle of the walk you can stop for a relaxing break admiring the dancing fountain. The nicest thing is that this fountain is turned on from a jukebox by which visitors can choose the soundtrack over which water jets’ dances accompanied by fantastic coloured lights. Behind this fountain it opens to the view a beautiful conifer park that is decorated with statues and prints of M.K. Ciurlionio’s paintings. Precisely in Druskininkai is located a memorial museum of the Lithuanian painter and composer who spent here his youth. Between those buildings of historical value can be surely mention the Staciautikiu cerkve Orthodox Church that with its picturesque spires and the unmistakable cobalt blue stands out among all the other constructions. Heading south, almost to the shores of Druskins Lake you can see the Sv Mergeles Marijos Skaplierines baznycia (Church of Virgin Mary Scapular) built in the gothic revival style with characteristics red brick.
At this time of the year the town is quiet and mostly frequented by those who want to spend a few days relaxing and benefiting from the effects of these waters that were once considered miraculous.