Old Įpiltis settlement of a mound with a settlement
Also called Įpiltis or Impiltis mound settlement
Įpiltis village, Darbenai eldership, Kretinga district
Old Įpiltis Mound is one of the most beautiful Samogitian mounds. It is also called Impiltis Hill or simply Įpiltis by the locals. The mound is situated near Darbenai town. The locals still remember a huge Curonian fortress that stemmed to the sky on the hill in the 10th-13th centuries. Several smaller other castles were built to protect the fortress.
The old people remember that not only a castle stood on the mound, but also that several old settlements were situated close to it. The largest settlement was in the outer bailey. People worked hard farm works here and cared for the castle matters: they supplied the residents of the castle with food, worm clothes and other household items. But no one complained about such fate because the River Juodupe flowed nearby, which has survived in to the present as a pond, and served as a rich source of fish for the locals and of water for the horses. The people of Impiltis were also known for their godly devotion: they prayed to the old Pagan gods in sanctuaries, participated in religious rituals.
But the great Impiltis Castle was destined to exist for only several centuries. The Tectonic Order began invading the Curonian lands and when the opportunity presented itself, the order had seized this fortress too. But determined Curonians resisted to the enemy control. After the Battle of Durbe they themselves rebelled against the oppression of the Livonian Order not allowing the crusaders to reach Klaipėda Castle by land.
As they could no longer tolerate such courage of the Curonians, the entrants had organised a military campaign against Impiltis in the Spring of 1263. After an unequal fight, the crew of the castle retrieved to Lithuania, while the old people, women and children, who stayed in the castle, had been burned by the Teutonic Order.
After the fortress had been burned down, the old settlement had probably not survived for a long time. Its residents left the settlement to find a better life elsewhere.
What a macabre destiny of the people of Impiltis! But the ancient Curonian greatness is still alive on the castle hill and in the territory of the foothill settlement that it overlooks! Every visitor of this place should climb up the steep slopes of the hill. Maybe thus they will manage to hear the yell of the Curonian battle or the prayer of the chief oracle of the Balts…