Plateliai Lake is the largest and deepest lake in Samogitia, having natural, cultural and landscape value. The deepest place is about 48.5 m. 17 runlets are flowing into the lake, and the river Babrungas is running out.
The waters of the lake are reaching 7 islands: Castle’s (lith. Pilies), Steers’ (lith. Veršių), Pliksalė’s, Briedsalė’s, Ubagsalė’s, Gaidsalė’s and Šončelis’. All islands of the lake, peninsulas of Kreiviškės and Auksalė are natural heritage objects protected by the state.
Plateliai Lake also stands out as having a special cultural heritage. A castle which belonged to the Lithuanian dukes in Island of Castle was standing here already in the 15th century. It was connected by a wooden bridge with the Šventorkalnis Peninsula. Bridge piles which survived from the sixteenth century, Island of Castle and Šventorkalnis Peninsula with Plateliai Manor are announced to be the cultural values.
The legend of the lake, known to every inhabitant of Plateliai, says that there was no lake in the current place of it yet. In the current place, people used to mow meadows. From the northwest, from Notėnai, a huge dark cloud has came and stood at the meadows. For three days it burred and roared, got darker and darker while dropping lower. People were in a hurry to end the mowing, and the cloud brought on them strong rain… One old woman was very surprised and said load: “Kāp platē lėij! Kāp platē lėij!” (eng. “The rain is raining so widely! The rain is raining so widely!”) The cloud bursted in the meadows during these words of her – that’s how the Plateliai Lake emerged.
Nobleman Gedgaudas was aware of the fact why the lake had to come down namely here. It is because of the black Piggy who appeared here. Within three weeks she nuzzled around a large area. Only then the dark cloud rolled in and landed exactly to the specified location. It is not clear though whether a Piggy went away somewhere or is here with the lake…
Island of the Castle is the most famous island of Plateliai Lake, which had the castle belonging to Lithuanian noblemen in 15th century. The island with the Šventorkalnis (where the old Plateliai settlement was located) was connected by a bridge of almost 300 m long, whose piles remained until nowadays. In spring, a Hollow root included into the list of extinct, endangered and threatened species of Lithuania is blooming widely here. The first registered in Lithuania plant site of Strobilomyces strobilaceus is on the island and 7 very rare types of lichens, mushrooms and moss were found here.
Briedsalė is the largest island of Plateliai Lake. The name of the island originates from the fact that the moose loved to come here. The biggest part of the island with flat shores is occupied by the swamp. There is a kingdom of beavers here.
Island of Steers is the third largest island of Plateliai Lake. It is told that one farmer used to float his steers to the island for grazing in summertime, and in autumn was taking them back home. The name of the island is originated from this fact. In spring, here the hollow roots are blooming which are included in the list of extinct, endangered and threatened species of Lithuania.
Pliksalė is one of the islands of Plateliai Lake in the southern part of the lake. The island is prominent, overgrown with old oak trees, spruces, and lime trees. Some time ago it was bare, without trees, so it was believed this has caused the name of the island – Bare Island.
Ubagsalė is in the northern part of Plateliai Lake, near the coast. It is told that in the old days, beggars, returning home from the Samogitian Calvary feast, used to wade to the island and were reveling there. The name of island originated from this fact (Island of Beggars).
Gaidsalė is one of the smallest islands of Plateliai Lake in the southern part of the lake. It is said that the Plateliai inhabitants used to bring and free out a hens with cocks to the island, so that they would not scratch around the Plateliai. It is also believed that a pagan sanctuary once was present in this island in which they used to sacrifice various animals, including cocks (Cock Island).
Šončelis Island is the smallest and youngest one of Plateliai Lake islands. The name of the island originated from the Samogitian word “šončius”, meaning a scarp, a boundary.
In Laumalenkai Landscape Reserve, you can visit two other natural heritage sites: the Kreiviškės and Auksalė peninsulas. The Kreiviškės Peninsula occupies an area of 19.78 ha. The peninsula is covered with forest, especially with spectacular oak trees. The name of the Kreiviškės comes from the word “awry”, with which the locals described the form of the peninsula. The Auksalė Peninsula consists of 3 parts, which have their names of the islands: Auksalė, Big and Small. Islands are overgrown with the forest. Peninsula has the waterlogged lake which is called Pikežeris.
Yasmin Hill, also known as the Bokštakalnis is the cemetery of Jewish genocide. At the start of the Second World War, about 30 Jews were killed and buried at the foot of the hill.