The Oak of Stelmužė
The oak of Stelmužė, growing in the district of Zarasai, is one of the oldest ones in Europe. Its age can reach even 1, 5 – 2 thousands of years.
The place of cult used to be by the oak in the pagan times. Priests and priestesses used to keep a sacred fire here. They used to burn offerings for the god Perkūnas. Sacrificed goats, rye and mead when praying for fruitful harvest and success in hunting.
Dukes leading their armies used to like to rest in the shadow under the wide branches of the oak. The oak used to become a hiding place in despair. Others used to get into the cavity of the oak to search for the treasure hidden under the roots of the tree or believing that there’s a road from the cavity leading to the underworld.
The mighty oak of Stelmužė was helpful when the people defended themselves from the tsar as well. In order to bar the way for him, the serfs cut off the top of the oak and blocked the way with it. This way the tsar was taught a lesson that the peasants are still suffering from the serfdom while it has been abolished everywhere else long time ago. The tree did not stop to grow without its top.
The title of the thickest tree in Lithuania falls to the oak of Stelmužė as well as the title of the oldest one. The thickness of its trunk is 13 meters. It’s almost twice the size of the other Lithuanian oaks distinguishing for their thickness. The oak has been selected as the Lithuanian tree of the year in 2016. The little oaks grown from its acorns are called Stelmužiukai and are being planted all over Lithuania.
The old and titled still green tree can be found in the village of Stelmužė, in the district of Zarasai.