A trip around the most well-known hill forts of Kretinga district should be started from Ėgliškiai-Anduliai hillfort. Presumably, this is a historial Kretinga castle site. The name of Kretinga, i.e. Cretene, was first mentioned in written sources (documents of the Livonian Order) in 1253 in the description of Kretinga castle. It is believed that the ancestors of the residents of Kretinga, i.e. Curonians, made sacrifices to the God Thunder in the castle complex; the castle was not only fortress but also as an administrative, trade, handicraft centre. Presumably, the fortress was burnt in 1263 by the Livonian Order and abandoned by local people. Today, those who visit the hillfort are welcomed by an information stand, the sculpture of the warrior bringing back to the past and very romantic landscape with rabbits running and deers passing by from time to time.
After visiting the place at which Kretinga started, it is time to travel to Kartena. Travelling along the picturesque road through the valley of Kartena town, the view of impressive Kartena hillfort opens. If we believed in legends, this hillfort was formed by stubborn Samogitians who fighted with the Swedish and Russian people. The name of Kartena originated on the same hill. Allegedly the king of Samogitians was standing on his fortress when even two enemy armies started to thrust into the castle. The Swedish argued with the Russian people about who should attack the castle first. The king of Samogitians who was watching the fight said: “look, warriors are there” (veiziekit, karė tena). Translation for non-Samogitians would be: look, a war is there. The archeological research suggests that in the 8th-9th centuries the castle of Kartena hillfort was built not by Samogitians but by Curonians. Those who climb the hillfort are rewarded with a wanderful landscape of the surrounding areas of Kartena.
The Cherry Hill wrapped in sad legends stands right next to Kartena, in Gintarai Village. The burials found in the barrows which are located near the hill date back to the 2nd century BC. This is the remains of the ancestors of Balts and Curonians lived. The Cherry Hill as a defensive place was abandoned by people in around the 12th century. After several centuries, in the 16th century, Kartena Manor Homestead was already here. According to the legends, the manor was destroyed by the Swedish people. A landlady which was buried alive remained in the cellars of the manor. Allegedly she appears every 300 years. It is sais that secret entrances to the underground of the manor which remained on the hill may be found here.
Salantai is within arm’s reach from Kartena. Imbarė hillfort emerges in the distance already before reaching Salantai, simply casting a glance to the fields. The Curonian castle which stood on the hillfort in the 10th-13th centuries was an administrative and economic centre of Ceklis land. The view of the hillfort with buildings on it can be seen in Kretinga Museum. Imbarė castle was so important that it even competed Apuolė castle and the street system found in the settlement at the foot of the castle allows assuming that in the Middle Ages Imbarė had some features of the town. The castle was abandoned around the year 1263. Later on, there was a manor on the hillfort. Today a breath-taking landscape opens in this place.
You can travel from Salantai to Senoji Įpiltis. The hill of S. Įpiltis Castle is located there. It is recognised as one of the most impressive and magnificant hillforts of the Northern West of Lithuania. When after the Battle of Durbė some Curonians who distanced themselves from Christinity rebelled, S. Įpiltis became one of the most important castles of rebels. When researching the castle site, archeologists found some findings evidencing fights with crusaders and not only excursions interested in the hillfort but also the President Antanas Smetona went to S. Įpiltis see the hillfort. If you visit S. Įpiltis, two other hillforts, i.e. Warrior Hill and Mary Hill, are also worth visiting.
Another hillfort which is noteworthy is near Rūdaičiai. Nagarba (Negarba) hillfort belonged to the Curonian land Mėguva which even probably was the small capital. Local people even call this hillfort Bliūdkalnis, since the hill has a depression similar to a bowl. And the name Nagarba has no analogues in Lithuania. The historian J. Kanarskas believes that the name is one of the oldest names in Kretinga district meaning “on the hill”. It is impossible not to notice Nagarba hillfort: it stands lonely in the fields and is a witness of the past of Mėguva land.