The Spring Okmenitsa
One of the most interesting places of the Braslav district is the spring Okmenitsa it has got its name due to a river of the same name. The spring is situated at the foot of the mountain Mayak. Since the ancient times the local residents have called this spring Shakilnya that which is Lithuanian for “cold”, “stony” or even “a winter road”. Really the water in the spring is very cold. According to local reports, it has healing effects. It is so called because in winter its water does not freeze. So, all year round people come here to see the holy spring.
If you pay attention to the nearby trees, you can see a lot of colored ribbons on their branches. It looks especially nice in warm sunny summer. This is no coincidence. The legend says that in earlier times there was a huge fir-tree near the lake. It was very nice and high in comparison with others. People found a spring at its roots and decided that its water had provided it with such strength and beauty. It became a custom to take water fr om the spring, thinking that it has healing effects. But you had to thank the spring for the water to remain its quality. It was at rather difficult times, and not everyone could put a coin into the water in gratitude. Then people decided to tie a textile strip on the tree as a token of their gratitude. They say that the water cures people of many diseases, helps to rejuvenate the body, recovers health and spirits.
Most recently it was agreed to examine the water. After many procedures it was found that Okmenitsa is a spring of mineral water of a sodium chloride type.
Not far from the spring you can see several boulders. The locals say that at one time they were very small, and later they began to grow. It could not be known whether it is so or not; but they make the place near the spring look nicer. And the roads near the spring are covered with numerous small stones. Researchers say that the word “okmenitsa” means “stony”. There is another legend about the boulders. They say that one of the boulders called “a cow stone” one day ran downward wh ere cows went down to the watering site. The slope was so steep that one of the cows was hit by the stone, and only a tail was seen from outside. In order to gain the boulder’s favor, the locals brought gifts to it. Perhaps, it was the worship of some pagan god patronizing domestic animals.
There is another stone called Dudalsky. It was brought here by the glacier from the Vyborg district. On the surface of the boulder there are some prints that look like a left footmark. When the countrymen saw it they began to call it the Devil’s mark. The legend says that the stone originally was small and then it gradually grew. The devil came out behind the stone, frightened travellers and local residents and again hid behind the boulder. People were frightened and the stone grew. But once one of the locals was not frightened and offered rebuff to the devil. Being frightened the devil and it stepped on the stone and left its footmark on it. After that the boulder ceased growing.
In the area of the spring there is well developed eco-tourism. People willing to rest near the spring can stay in the nearby agro-estates. Tourists can enjoy fresh air, cure with the healing water and verify all legends.