Description of activities
NOVEMBER - MARCH
Tuesday - Saturday 10.00 - 16.00
Open Air Museum exhibition (reconstruction of the 13th - 14th century craftsmen yards in Kernavė) is closed during low season.
Kernavė Archaeological Site Museum is closed on Sunday, Monday and national holidays.
APRIL - OCTOBER
Wednesday - Sunday 10.00 - 18.00
Open Air Museum exhibition (reconstruction of the 13th - 14th century craftsmen yards in Kernavė) has the same opening hours.
Expositions are closed on Monday, Tuesday and national holidays.
Kernavė is the land which represents the origins of Lithuania. The site reveals all the settlements stages of this region over the course
of 11,000 years. Life, sometimes booming, in decline at other times, has never stopped functioning in Kernavė. The natural landscape was partially changed so that it could make life more convenient for its inhabitants and to meet the demands of defence. The relief formed during the last glacial period, the spectacular valley of the River Neris with the authentic traces of activity left by people having lived there for thousands years and the defence system of five mounds, the site of Kernavė can be treated as an example of the integral cultural landscape remaining almost intact up until the present day.
Thanks to the archaeological research it is known that the first inhabitants settled within this territory already by the 10th-9th millennia B.C. The remaining cultural layers of settlements and burial monuments from various periods are attributed to all the epochs from late Palaeolithic to early Middle Ages.
Kernavė particularly contributes to the understanding of pre-history in the whole Baltic region. In the 13th -14th centuries the town was flourishing and was one of the most important economical and political centres of the shaping Lithuanian state, often named as the location of the old capital of Lithuania. The heritage of the medieval Kernavė is important as an example of the last Europe’s pagan state urban culture as well. Here, the existence of the pagan civilization is very clearly seen, but still it had already been influenced by the traditions of Christian Europe.
In 1390, during a raid to Vilnius, Kernavė was attacked and completely destroyed. The residents of Kernavė burned the castles upon retreating. That’s why Kernavė is often called the Lithuanian Troy. The old town was not restored any more after these events. Eventually the silts of the Neris River covered the town remains and the old capital of Lithuania sank into oblivion. Nearly 600 years had to pass, until the archaeologists found the old Kernavė.
In 1989, several years after great archaeological discoveries, Kernavė Museum-Reserve was established, and in 2002 the Kernavė Museum-Reserve was set with the status of State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė. In 2004 the Kernavė Archaeological Site was included into UNESCO World Heritage List. The principal aim of the cultural reserve has been to preserve the complex of territorial cultural heritage objects in Kernavė, the immovable and movable cultural valuables existing within its territory and organize their scientific research. In 2012 the door of reconstructed modern Kernavė archaeological site museum was opened in the town centre (Kerniaus st. 4a, Kernavė, Širvintos district, LT-19172) and new exposition reveals to visitors the most impressive archaeological artefacts found in Kernavė.
The open-air museum exhibition opened in 2016. It represents a fragment of the town of Kernavė from the 13th‒14th centuries. In order to preserve the heritage of the Archaeological Site of Kernavė this open-air exhibition is situated outside the borders of the former town. You can see replicas of archaeological finds there. Authentic archaeological material witnessing the life of the townspeople of medieval Kernavė is on display in the Archaeological Site Museum.