Drūkšiai Lake

The biggest lake in Lithuania named Drūkšiai is located in Zarasai district crossing the borderline between Lithuania and Belarus and faces to borderline between Lithuania and Latvia too. This record lake is the biggest not only in the area it holds, but in capacity of water too. The lake has an interesting history as well as the present.

The main facts about the lake
• Area – 44,79km2
• Shoreline – 60,45 km
• Derivation – glacial
• Average depth – 7,6 m
• Maximum depth – 33,3 m
• Capacity – 0,37 km3
• Maximum width  - 9,9 km
• Pool stretch – 470 km2

The Drūkšiai lake includes
• 5 islands
• 3 peninsulas
• 11 affluences
• 2 heads

According to historical facts, in the 11th century a castle was erected on the biggest lake island. It was one of a few Lithuanian castles built on the lake island like the Trakai castle. Around the castle a little settlement was established including homesteads and even a church. However, the settlement was destroyed in 17th  century  by Swedes and was not rebuilt. According to a legend, after burning the castle Swedes wanted to take away the church`s bell with them, but the bell darkly drew in the Drūkšiai lake and then suddenly appeared in Gaide`s church tower.

Nowadays the lake is under strict control of ecologists as the Ignalina Atomic Power-station is built near it. The level of radioactivity in the lake is periodically measured in order to check whether it is not higher than it should normally be.  Fortunately, the level of radiation was always perfect so far. In addition to this, the safety of people visiting the lake is controlled by strong recommendations not to swim far from the shore in poorly prepared swimming equipment as not only big waves but a thick mist can lead the crew astray or even finish in tragedy.

Despite the mysticism and dangers ascribable to Drūkšiai lake, it still is very meaningful for many people. Even one of the most famous Lithuanian poets Maironis wrote about the Drūkšiai lake:

The moon rose up. Straight  from the hills
Smelled blowing blooms of white jasmins
Enchanting heart.
Among green waters waves,
Far from  the noise and straits
A bark is swinging us.