Gandinga Mound of a mound with an outer bailey and a settlement
Also known as Gondinga Mound
Gandinga village, Nausodziai eldership, Plunge district municipality
Gandinga castle hill, which is also called Gondinga. The old men remember a brave and honourable Duke who lived in the distant past. He had the only daughter named Gonda. The Duke was revered by people for his courage and fairness, and Gonda was loved for her beauty and gentleness. Once the Duke arranged a great hunt. Many guests had gathered to join the hunt. Gonda also had joined the hunters. The hunters found themselves in the valley of the River Babrungas where Gonda suddenly disappeared at the peak of the hunt. Many people had long been looking for her, searched carefully dense forests, hills and valleys on the horses. They blew sharp sound emitting horns, called her name, but Gonda could nowhere be found. People started calling the place where Gonda disappeared Gondinga. And later they formed a hill in her memory. This is how this mound was given its name. It is also believed that Gandinga Hill could be built by the entrants from the North. Swedes who won the battle against Lithuanians and Samogitians had poured a sand, that they carried in their gloves, both on the warriors and on the peaceful locals in order to completely eliminate the enemies. Those Swedes were giants.
A wooden castle of the ancient Curonians called Gandinga was built on the hill in 1253. The castle was a part of Samogitian network of defensive constructions. The place for the fortress was chosen very wisely. The castle was protected by high hillsides, an outer bailey and the River Babrungas with steep banks furrowed because of springs. It was extremely difficult to reach the castle. You will see that to be true after you will climb on the hill.
The old people say that Gandinga was an extraordinary castle because of unprecedented treasures that were hidden inside it: When the Normans had to abandon Gandinga castle, they brought money, gold, silver, weapons and other good things inside the castle, closed its iron door and buried the door under a layer of soil without leaving a sign of its existence. However, people say that the door is on the south side of the castle and that there is a small spring near the door that exudes from the hill. They put the keys under a huge stone laying in the stream pool of the River Babrungas, at the northern end of the castle. They ordered the devils, whose head was “the lordling of the castle”, to watch after all those riches. Before leaving Swedes put curse on the castle saying that the ceiling of the castle will get broken and will kill someone of a certain age who will enter the castle after a certain number of years. The old people avoided visiting the castle since neither the age of a human nor the year in which the curse will come true are known. But nobody now believes in the legend. If someone would encroach arbitrarily to purloin the riches of the castle, that someone would die.
The old tribes created Medieval mode of life in the valley of the River Babrungas. The old people remember them as united: smart Curonians understood that being together creates benefit for them all in terms of an easier defence against the enemy and a better trade.
Those who travel nearby Plunge are invited to visit Gandinga village. After climbing the castle hill which is overgrown with deciduous trees and after taking a walk around its outer bailey you will surely hear a story told by the wind about the magnificent times of the Curonians.