CURONIAN SPIT AND NIDA
Has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000
A narrow 98 km (61 mile) strip of the land on the Baltic Coast, the Curonian Spit (kursiu nerija) was formed 5,000 years ago. Its Landscape consists largely of pine forests, dunes, and sandy beaches. The Park's forest are rich in wildlife such as roe deer, elk, foxes and wild boars. The sand dunes that tower over the village of Nida fall like cliffs into the Curonian Lagoon and villages have been buried beneath the shifting sands.
The Curonian Spit National Park was created in 1991 to preserve the dunes, lagoons and the surrounding area. The National park, which covers most of the spit, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
A settlement area of the Baltic Curonians, the original place called nida ("fluent" in the Old Prussian language) was first mentioned in 1385 documents issued by the Teutonic Knights, who ruled the lands within their Monastic State. The original settlement on the road along the Curonian Spit from Königsberg to Memel was located about 5 km (3.1 mi) south of its today's position near the Hohe Düne (High Dune) at Cape Grobštas (from Old Prussian: grabis, "hill"). The fishing village became part of the Duchy of Prussia in 1525 and of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701.