Juodkrantė with permanent population of about 720 people is a quiet Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

n seaside resort village
A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand , Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Village in Manhattan, New...

 located on the Curonian Spit
Curonian Spit
The Curonian Spit is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. Its southern portion lies within Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia and its northern within southwestern Lithuania...

. A part of Neringa
Neringa municipality
Neringa municipality or Neringa is a municipality in westernmost Lithuania, in the Curonian Spit. In terms of population, it is the smallest municipality of the country. Until the Lithuanian municipality reform, it was known as Neringa city, although there was never a true city there...

A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

, Juodkrantė is the second largest settlement on Lithuania's part of the spit
Spit (landform)
A spit or sandspit is a deposition landform found off coasts. At one end, spits connect to land, and extend into the sea. A spit is a type of bar or beach that develops where a re-entrant occurs, such as at cove's headlands, by the process of longshore drift...

. It started as a fishermen village and underwent a tourist boom in the late 19th - early 20th century.
For several centuries, until Klaipėda Revolt
Klaipeda Revolt
The Klaipėda Revolt took place in January 1923 in the Klaipėda Region . The region, located north of the Neman River, was detached from the East Prussia of the German Empire by the Treaty of Versailles and became a mandate of the League of Nations. It was placed under provisional French...

 in 1923, Juodkrantė, then known under its German name Schwarzort, was a part of East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...



Juodkrantė was first mentioned (as Schwarzort) in 1429 in a letter by the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem , commonly the Teutonic Order , is a German medieval military order, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order...

 describing storm damages. It was initially situated along the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 shore, about 2.5 km from the present location. In the early 17th century, facing black death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 and moving sand dunes, threatening to bury the village, the town lost almost all of its inhabitants. In the 1680s, the village relocated to its present location along the Curonian Lagoon
Curonian Lagoon
The Curonian Lagoon is separated from the Baltic Sea by the Curonian Spit. Its surface area is . The Neman River supplies about 90% of its inflows; its watershed consists of about 100,450 square kilometers in Lithuania and the Kaliningrad Oblast.-Human history:In the 13th century, the area around...

 shore. After 1724, the sources do not mention the village along the Baltic Sea shore any more. The village did quite well in the new location: a tavern was opened in 1673, a school in 1743, and a wooden church in 1795. Until 1740 the village belonged to Klaipėda County then from 1740-1795 to Karvaičiai Church District . It grew in importance after Carwaiten/Karvaičiai/Karwaiten village was swallowed by traveling sand and the seat of the church district relocated here. The wooden church burned down in 1878 but was soon replaced by a red brick Lutheran
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 church in 1885.

Major developments took place in 1860s. In the late 1850s the lagoon waterway was deepened and now ferries could arrive. It was the easiest way to travel, but it also had a side effect: workers found samples of amber
Amber is fossilized tree resin , which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry. There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents...

. In 1860 Stantien & Becker company was founded to dig amber just north of the village. During 30 years of operations, it dug out about 2,250,000 kg of amber. During its peak the company employed about 1,000 workers. The company had a positive effect on the village as it built barracks for its workers, a second school, a luxurious villa Flora, and a dock suited for ferries. The land dug out was used to reinforce the shore and swampy areas. After the company relocated to Palmnicken (now Yantarny
Yantarny ) is an urban locality in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located about from Kaliningrad on the Sambian Peninsula. Population: -Pre-1945:...

) in 1890, the population of Juodkrantė dropped from 851 in 1885 to 423 in 1895.

The tourist business was started in 1860s by Edward Stellmacher, who turned an old tavern house into a hotel named Kurischer Hof (Lithuanian: Kuršių kiemas, now Gintaras). Because of the amber business, a new Juodkrantė started to develop north to the old fishermen village. Many villas and hotels were built there. In the beginning of the 20th century there were 5 hotels, 20 villas, and a convalescent home Luisenbad (Lithuanian: Luizės maudykla). The new town was considered a luxury resort and attracted about 3,000 visitors a year. The World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 destroyed the tourist business. Neringa was a strictly regulated border region. Only in the early 1960s tourists started to come back. However, Nida became a more popular destination for tourists. This allowed Juodkrantė to retain its old business - fishing. Sometimes it is referred to as the "capital of fishermen" and holds annual fishermen festival in July.

Amber treasure

Workers of Stantien & Becker company would dig up many pieces of amber
Amber is fossilized tree resin , which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry. There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents...

 shaped as amulets or knick-knacks. At first they would give them out as souvenirs, but then started collecting these items from the Mid Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 and the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

s. Richard Klebs, professor at Königsberg University, described 435 items (pendants, buttons, tubular beads, discs, and figurines of humans and animals) in his book Stone Age Amber Adornments in 1882. These ancient Schwarzorter Funde are considered to contain earliest known amber carvings. About 150 items have detailed images. The collection was shown in Berlin, St. Petersburg, London, Chicago. After Klebs death, Königsberg University purchased his collection. However, during the turbulent times of World War II most of the large collection in Königsberg was destroyed or stolen and only a few items were saved at Göttingen University, the previous sister university of Königsberg. But because of detailed illustrations in Klebs' book, scientists managed to make replicas.


Most of genealogical traces were made in Church books "Kirchenbücher" when wooden church was built in 1795. Records are stored in Evangelisches Zentralarchiv Berlin and Bundesarchiv. Some families moved to Juodkrantė from Karvaičiai when sand buried this site completely in 1797.

Hill of Witches

A large collection of unique wooden sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

s by various artists is displayed on the Hill of Witches
Hill of Witches
The Hill of Witches is an outdoor sculpture gallery near Juodkrantė, Lithuania.It is located on a forested sand dune about 0.5 kilometer west of the Curonian Lagoon, on the Lithuanian Seaside Cycle Route. Begun in 1979, it has been expanded several times, and now contains about 80 wooden...

 . The sculpture park was started in 1979 and now has more than 70 wooden objects. Most of the figures are based on Lithuanian legends or folk tales. Before the surrounding area was planted with tress, visitors could admire a view of the sea and the lagoon.

Sculpture park "Land and Water"

Another sculpture park was finished in 2002. It houses 31 stone and metal sculptures created during an international symposium "Land and Water." The sculptures are located on the recently built quay, 2.4 km in length, along the lagoon shore.

A Museum of Weathercocks is maintained by Daiva and Remigijus Žadeikiai. The gallery informs on Nerija cultural heritage. There is also a gallery maintained by the Lithuanian National Art Museum.

The heron and cormorant colonies

Of interest to nature watchers are the large great cormorant
Great Cormorant
The Great Cormorant , known as the Great Black Cormorant across the Northern Hemisphere, the Black Cormorant in Australia and the Black Shag further south in New Zealand, is a widespread member of the cormorant family of seabirds...

 (2000 pairs) and grey heron
Grey Heron
The Grey Heron , is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae, native throughout temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa. It is resident in the milder south and west, but many birds retreat in winter from the ice in colder regions...

 (500 pairs) colonies west of Juodkrantė.
It is believed that the herons have nested near Juodkrantė since 17th century, and the cormorants arrived only at the beginning of 19th century. Eventually, the cormorants were exterminated at the end of 19th century due to Prussian administration regulations and started to re-appear only in the 1970s. The large cormorant colony has damaged the old and fragile forest because the ingredients of the birds' excrement burn tree roots. During last 15 years about 10 ha of forest has died. Fishermen blame the birds for diminishing fish catches, but unlike in Prussia, the regulations now do not allow killing them as both grey heron and great cormorant are protected species in Lithuania.

Famous people

Gustav Fenkohl, a sea- and landscape painter was born 1872 in nearby Memel and lived for many years in the village.

Sport and Sailing


Juodkrantė is one of the best kitesurfing
Kitesurfing or Kiteboarding is an adventure surface water sport that has been described as combining wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport. Kitesurfing harnesses the power of the wind to propel a rider across the water on a small surfboard or a...

 / windsurfing
Windsurfing or sailboarding is a surface water sport that combines elements of surfing and sailing. It consists of a board usually two to four metres long, powered by the orthogonal effect of the wind on a sail. The rig is connected to the board by a free-rotating universal joint and comprises a...

 spot and kitebeach in Lithuania.
Open for all wind directions. Curonian lagoon side is also great for snowkiteboarding.


Juodkrantė is on inland waterway from Nida to Klaipėda. There is two piers in Juodkrantė for yacht's and boats. Yachtclub is under development. Navigation - Juodkrantė Lighthouse (20m) int.no 0049 (C3334) - White rectangle on black square metal framework tower with viewing platform. From sea visible only top part.


Juodkrantė is a place of choice for eastern winds. Paragliding
Paragliding is the recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders: lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure...

sand dune site is south-east from town. Western side - beach dunes are hard to fly.
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