Dutchman’s cap cliff

Coordinates: 55.798334 21.067449

Object address: Karklė village, Klaipėda district, Lithuania

Municipality: Klaipėda district

About 12-15 thousand years ago retreating glaciers in Lithuania formed a moraine ridge. The top of this ridge is referred to as the Dutchman’s Cap hill. That is a parabolic dune on the moraine ridge, rising 24 metres above the sea level. The Dutchman’s Cap hill is constantly washed by the waves of the sea and descends to the seashore as a 16-18-metre-high cliff. There are no other cliffs on the Lithuanian seashore that are so high. The Dutchman’s Cap cliff is included into the List of Natural Heritage of Lithuania. Ground waters erode the Dutchman’s Cap cliff at the pace of 50 cm per year and the washed-away sand replenishes the beautiful beaches of Palanga and Giruliai. There were three cases, when in this location people found 23 000-year-old mammoth bones, two of which are exhibited at the Seaside Regional Park Visitor Centre.

The Dutchman’s Cap hill used to be overgrown with an old forest of pines and oaks, creating a distinct contrast to the sand plain around, which made it a good landmark for sailors and fishermen. In the late 17th c. cartographers included the location of the Dutchman’s Cap in the maps of Klaipėda port. The title of the Dutchman’s Cap has been officially acknowledged on maps and navigation in 1818. Warning signs for ships appeared on the cliff during the same year. In the 19th c.-early 20th c. the locals used to refer to the place as Melnmuižė (which translates as “the Black Manor” from Curonian and Latvian languages).

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