Also called Vainutas Tumulus and Milzinkapis (the Grave of the Giants)
Kivyliai village, Vainutas eldership, Silute district
Tumuli are the places of burial of the ancient military heroes. There are thousands of such places in our country. One them is a man-made grave in Kivyliai. Its name derives from the village that is located nearby. The old people also call it Vainutas. But the most heartwarming of all names is Milzinkapis (the Grave of the Giants). You will probably will not realise, human, while walking on this hill that you are making your tracks on the sacred grave! Today‘s Kivyliai Milzinkapis is overgrown with a wild grass, bushes and trees. It quietly stems to the sky without drawing attention to itself and patiently guarding the peace of the deceased ones. But if you will take a closer look, you will see old stones lying down on the ground: overgrown with moss and partly covered with black soil. These stones are not ordinary rocks, but stone wreaths and their remains. If you will take another closer look, you will also notice hollows and traces of a ditch that once fringed this Grave of the Giants. These signs are the witnesses of the fact that probably the oldest Grave of the Giants is situated here! It is because due to the change in mythology, understanding of the world of the dead, the funeral traditions no Graves of the Giants were formed in later times. For this reason, graves were only fenced with stone wreaths. A huge amount of soil is needed to build the Grave of the Giants. And people used to bring all required stuff by carriages and with hands. It is absolutely a team work. No doubt that this is an act of ritual when people bring little by little small amount of soil in their aprons, boots, hats, in the fold of their palm or otherwise. Building such grave requires an extremely united community, large number of people to do the work and very clear and strong feeling that this must be done. Thousands of graves of our ancestors have survived into the present in Lithuania because of this strong belief. Nobody knows who is safeguarded by Kivyliai Tumulus. But such determination to bring a soil in own cupped hands is not without the reason. This is probably the place of eternal rest of the great giants who fiercely defended the homeland against the enemy, who had wholehearted love for their close relatives or were always ready to help a stranger – surely, no one would have built such a hill for a villain!
A sacred man-made hill of Kivyliai also witnesses that there was a settlement nearby where people lived in peace and unity. Building a grave required hard working people, and it was too hard in those days to gather people from the far lands!
If you will ever walk around Kivyliai Grave of the Giants, that is situated close to the bend of the River Sysale, you should not only admire the panorama of the surroundings but should also find the stones overgrown with moss. They are worth to be noticed because they are of very great importance…