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The new book carriers smuggle their literature by bicycle (2004)

            In 2004 we in Lithuania commemorate 100 years, that printing of books in Latin letters was re-allowed. For 40 years books were smuggled by the so-called “book carriers” over the Lithuanian border. On the way of their feet you may join in July the international bicycle tour “the Trail of the Book Carriers”. Within nine days we achieve  the aim of our tour: We follow all the way in North Western Lithuania from Shiauliai to Tilsit/Sowjetsk and back.

In the times of the printing prohibit Lithuania belonged to the Russian Carist Empire and the print media came from “Lithuania Minor” or “Prussian Lithuania”, the part of Prussia (Germany) in which the majority of inhabitants were Lithuanians. Nowadays it’s the other way round: The Lithuanians on the other side of the river Nieman (in German: Memel, in Lithuanian: Nemunas), nowadays in Russia wait for help from Lithuania. The “new book carriers” will be the cyclists of our bicycle tour. Each will carry at least one book to “Lithuania Minor”.

The cycle tour will happen July, 19-25. Route: Siauliai - Silo Pavezupis (Regional Park Kurtuvenai) - Kelme - Tytuvenai (Regional Park) - Siluva – Regional Park Dubysa - Raseiniai - Skaudvile - Gaure - Reservat Viesvile - Bitenai (Regional Park Rambynas) - Mikytia - Tilsit - Pagegiai - Taurage – Regional Park Pagramantis - Silale – Regional Park Varniai – Regional Park Kurtuvenai - Siauliai, around 400 km.

On our tour we’ll visit the places of Lithuanian history, connected with the life of the book carriers and Lithuanian writing, and their graves. The “Trail of the book carriers” leads via six Regional Nature Parks and the State Nature Reserve Viesvile. In these territories most of the natural wealth of Lithuania is left, as well as all the original pure living conditions, in which the „book carriers” dreamt about the future of their country. We will meet the inhabitants and mayors of the cities and towns. They all will write their wishes for Lithuania Minor and the Lithuanian Writing into the “Great Lithuanian Book”

At the Rambynas, the Holy Mountain of the Lithuanians, we will pass a mysterium for the Lithuanian Writung and memorate the Giants of the Lithuanian Word: We will step over to the graves of  Wilhelm Storost - Vydûnas and Martin Jankus; we will do it with songs, burn the traditional fire for offering, read literature at night and listen to ancient music.

The books carried by us of the Lithuanian-Russian border will be passed over to the Lithuanian community at the Vydûnas-House in Tilsit/Sowjetsk. And it’s up to us to carry the “Lithuania Minor Book” with a message to Lithuania back to Siauliai.

The Tour ends in Kurtuvënai during the barn theatre festival.

For the tour we plan a booklet with the route description, which may be used afterwards for everybody who wants to follow the „Trail of the Book Carriers”.

Even if such a tour is highly symbolic, of cause it has a much deeper sense. Each participant of the tour will while carrying her/his personal book feel on the dusty roads of Lithuania the spirit of the book carriers. And so the tour continues a living history, which reminds us to all who dedicated their lifes to the Lithuanian word and it shows us the importance of our own language.

For the cycle a working group of state and non governmental organisations was founded lead by the Regional Park Kurtuvënai. The Tour is organised by the Lithuanian Cyclists’ Community, the Lithuanian State Parks’ Associations the Tourist Club Siauliai, the Sport’s  School Siauliai, the Club „Aukuras” for the saviour of Nature and Culture heritage and other  organisations.

Information: www.bicycle.lt, www.dviratis.lt, www.aukuras.lt 






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