Lazdijai Local Customs

  • LITHUANIAN  DARK  BREAD
    LITHUANIAN DARK BREAD
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  • MAILBOX
    MAILBOX
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  • TYPICAL  LOCAL  HOUSE  IN  OUTSKIRTS
    TYPICAL LOCAL HOUSE IN OUTSKIRTS
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Most Recent Local Customs in Lazdijai

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    Pyramidal cakes

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    PYRAMIDAL CAKE (SAKOTIS)

    There was tradition of baking such pyramidal cakes ("sakotis" in Lithuanian, "sekacz" in Polish) as on my picture in Lithuania and north-eastern Poland (Suwalki district). In the past they were baked mainly for wedding ceremonies. There was special celebration of cutting the cake by young husband and sharing among all, numerous wedding guests.

    I am sure that this custom survived. I could see a lot of pyramidal cakes sold in local, small cake shop in Lazdijai (look at my shoping tips, please). It costed 8,80 Lt (? 2.65; US$ 3.19; 12.7 Polish zl). Hmm... I didn't buy it, I tried to be (again) on low calory diet :-).
    Do you want a recipe? Follow the link below, please.

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    Euroenthusiasts?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    ELECTION POSTER FOR EU PARLIAMENT

    I was in Lazdijai just before the election to the European Parliament (13th June 2004), the first in which Lithuanians took part just after joining European Union on 1 May 2004. No wonder that I could see many election posters in Lazdijai and other cities and towns throughout Lithuania.

    Lithuanians elected 13 of 732 members of European Parliament and with the turnout of 48.2% they were more politically active than say Polish people with only 20.42% - good sign for future of Lithuania. Well, Lithuanians were the most enthusiastic for European Union of all new EU members - over 91% of them voted for joining EU, in Lazdijai a little bit less - results here. Is Lithuania a country of euroenthusiasts? We will see... in a few years...

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    Graffiti - art of the street ?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Aug 2, 2004

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    GRAFITTI  ON  A  FENCE

    Sometimes graffiti are real art, sometimes just voice of street, sometimes both. They are often painted by unknown authors and against the law (art crime ?). Sometimes local authorities designate usually neglected walls to be cover by graffiti as a kind of decoration. Never mind the local law, I think it's always a kind of local culture whatever it is.

    There was a wooden fence, on my picture, covered by graffiti in Lazdijai centre/downtown - at main town square called Nepriklausomybes aikste. It was the only colorful place among grey, mostly Soviet-style buildings. More, please! :-)

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    Dirty cars? Why?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Aug 2, 2004

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    COVERED  BY  DUST

    Generally, There were few cars in Lazdijai. But there were quite many very dirty, old cars. Back of this car, on my picture, was covered by thick layer of dust. Well, there were (in 2004) still a few villages close to Lazdijai which were accessible exclusively by unpaved roads or better to say tracks.

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    Closed on Monday

    by matcrazy1 Updated Aug 2, 2004

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    CLOSED  ON  MONDAY!

    I knew about museums closed on Monday (all over Europe). But I was surpriced to find small grocery (in the outskirts - on my picture) which was open everyday (8.00 am - 7.00 pm) except just Monday. Were they all closed on Monday in Lazdijai? Surely not, at least those located in the centre/downtown.

    Just in case you don't know Lithuanian...
    DIRBAME = we work (we are open)
    NEDIRBAME = we don't work (we are closed).

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    Russian language

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jul 23, 2004

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    ZIBINTAS  HOTEL,  GOSTINICA,  VIESBUTIS

    Before my trip to Lithuania I was told that many locals don't like speak Russian because they didn't like the Soviet Union and its regime. I was told that some locals don't like speak Polish either.

    I didn't notice anything like that both in Lazdaiaji and other Lithuanians towns. In Lazdijai locals, I met, could speak Russian and they spoke with me in Russian. I even found old, post-Soviet advertisement of former hotel Zabintas in three languages: Lithuanian (viesbutis), Russian (gostinica) and English (hotel) - look at my picture, please.

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    Soviet cars

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jul 23, 2004

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    VOLGA  CAR

    It was not so easy to find any post-Soviet car in Lazdijai and Lithunia but... I did find this Volga car on my picture.

    Well, as a kid my parent told to me: "Behave. If not... "black Vloga" will kidnap you". Haha, black Volga was common car of Soviet authorities incl. KGB (secret police) which used to arrest and excile many Lithuanians and Poles in the past.

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    Wall paintings

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jul 23, 2004

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    GRAFITTI  ON  THE  WALL

    I am not sure whether it's Lazdijai local custom but I found colorful paintings like on my picture on walls of a few neglected buildings. I found it quite nice custom adding some colours to mostly grey city. It was a kind of allowed and supported by local authorities grafitti, I suppose.

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    Sign of poverty?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jul 23, 2004

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    DOOR  WINDOWS  COVERED  BY  FOIL

    At quite many houses in Lazdijai there were plastic wraps (foil) instead of windowpanes, in inhabited houses! Who smashed them? Winds or... thefts or ? Was it a sign of poverty, lack of windowpanes or glaziers or what ? What do they do to survive winter time ?

    I don't know any official economic statistics on Lazdijai. But driving around I think that the only chance for any progress in this area is either agriculture or tourism, probably both. I know nothing about agriculture but as for tourism I would try to attract/find some local or foreign investors (+ maybe some money from EU funds).

    I think about better quality (and better signed) highway from Poland. There is border crossing point 9 km south of Lazdijai. Despite it's the shortest way from Poland to both Vilnius and nearby famous resort and health center Druskininkai, most visitors cross the border in Budzisko - Kalvaria. Why? Hmm... better quality highway (and better signed on Lithuanian side) and more promotion is needed.

    What else? Good reataurants and good hotel(s) but cheap. Well, at this matter, Poland seems to win competition. There are quite good (and not expensive) hotels on Polish side (Suwalki, Sejny) and... no hotels in Lazdijai (at least along a highway). More: generally hotels in Lithuania are more expensive than in Poland! I wonder why?

    What about cheap agrotourism (holiday on farmland) there? What about fishing in nearby lakes? Are there mushrooms in forests around? What about local honey?

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    Crosses and chapels

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jul 23, 2004

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    CROSS/CHAPEL  IN  LAZDIJAI

    I found this Roman catholic cross/chapel on my picture at the entrance to Lazdijai via highway 134 from Kalvarija. I can easy find a lot of them in Poland, as well.

    In contrast to Poland, Lithuanian crosses were always very high (why?) but like in Poland they were usually fenced by low wooden fence. Those crosses and chapels were usually founded by catholics along old tracks and esp. at crossroads of tracks of mass pilgrimages.

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    White bricks and water tower

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jul 19, 2004

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    WHITE  BRICK  HOUSE  AND  WATER  TOWER

    There were many houses built of white bricks like on my picture in Lazdijai and other Lithuanian towns as well. The bricks were a little bit smaller in size than standart size of (usually red) brick in Poland. They looked nice at new buildings but hmm... in a few years the Lithuanian white bricks changes colour to grey in Lazdijai and to black at some other (polluted) areas.

    The skyline of Lazdijai was dominated by this water tower on my picture.

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    Discount prices :-)

    by matcrazy1 Written Jul 17, 2004

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    AKCIJA  =  DISCOUNT  PRICES

    I saw quite many such advertisements like on my picture put in SAULUTE chain grocery in Lazdijai. AKCIJA meant discount prices. Look for them and enjoy.

    I could buy the cheapest "akcija" beer (Lithuanian "Gubernijos Zigulinis") for only 0.99 Lt (€ 0.3; US$ 0.36;1.37 Polish zl) per 0.5 l (16.91 oz) bottle.

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    Poverty

    by matcrazy1 Updated Jul 16, 2004

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    TYPICAL  LOCAL  HOUSE  IN  OUTSKIRTS

    Lazdijai and especially its outskirts looked very poor. There were many unfenced, neglected houses, not painted for years, sometimes even partly damaged but still inhabited. Usually they were surrounded by wild, unmown grass and trees instead of any yards with flowers on a mown meadow.
    Locals looked somewhat poor and sad, mostly grey city as well. Hmm... it really reminded me poor towns of the Soviet Union (western Ukraine) in 70' and 80'.

    Local grocery offered very limited choice of food and drinks which probably reflected low needs and low budgets of locals. And I didn't see any young people there. Did they escape? Is this area of high unemployment? How to rise up from poverty? Smuggling various products (vodka, cigarettes) across Polish border could be an option for some locals, I suppose. But it stopped when prices in Lithuania rised to Polish level.

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    Lithuanian mailbox

    by matcrazy1 Written Jul 16, 2004

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    MAILBOX

    Hmm... Lithuanian mailbox, I saw in Lazdijai didn't look beautiful. It was just metal, not painted for years, rusty and neglected mailbox. I missed colorful mailboxes I was lucky to see in the USA. Maybe I will see them... in a few years in fast changing Lithuania.

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    Smelt of freshly baked bread

    by matcrazy1 Written Jul 16, 2004

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    LITHUANIAN  DARK  BREAD

    I was told about unique and great taste of traditional, Lithuania dark or better to say black bread. And indeed, the black bread, I bought in a grocery in Lazdijai tasted delicious, even better than in other areas of Lithuania. Coincedence or they really had great bakers?
    That unique smelt of freshly baked bread in local groceries was unforgettable.

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