Warm summer evening in Palanga, Lithuania.
A legend from this place tells: "Grand Duke Kestutis, who ruled over Trakai and Zemaitija, once heard about a maiden named Birute. She was a guardian of the sacred fire. Only the most beautiful virgins could guard these fire altars found in ancient oak groves. Birute was though of as a godess. Kestutis traveled to Palanga to see Birute and as soon as they met he fell deeply in love with her. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and she was intelligent and clever. Kestutis asked her to become his wife, but she had to decline - she was promised to the gods until death. But the Duke had to have her, so he stole Birute and took her to Trakai. On the trip home he treated her with great honor and when they arrived he married her in his castle. Though Birute was sad to leave the oak grove she soon fell deeply in love with the Duke. Eventually, Birute and Kestutis had a son - Vytautas the Great. He would become the most famous and honored duke of Lithuania. After her husband's death Birute returned to Palanga where she served the gods until her death. Today the hill where the sacred fire had been burning and where Kestutis met Birute, is called Birute's hill. At the foot of the hill there is a bronze statue of Birute with a wreath of flowers. At the spot where the sacred fire was burning the Christians later built a chapel. Even today this story is known as the greatest love story in Lithuanian history." The story is taken from: www.kurortras.lt
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