CULTURE / Religion

The Curonian Spit residents were not highly religiously devoted in the 16th18th centuries. This is related to the fact that the places of worship were situated in few settlements only, and clergy used to visit the existing chapels or churches rather rarely. In 1742, a pastor of Karvaičiai village claimed about poor attendance not only from further villages but also from the same one, emphasizing that his work was hindered by underdevelopment and superstition of village people. However, in the middle of the 19th century, travelers used to mention the piety as an integral feature of the Curonians (Kuršininkai) character - not to attend a church was truly unthinkable. High religiosity of the Curonian Spit inhabitants was also noticed by Lithuanians who started visiting these places at the beginning of the 20th century: "very devout and superstitious".

After sand burial of Karvaičiai village in the 18th century. Juodkrantė became a parish center where a wooden church was built in 1795. Juodkrantė becomes a center of spiritual life of the Northern Curonian Spit. The mass in Juodkrantė has been attended by the residents of Nida and Nagliai. A modest, barn-style church building burnt in 1878. A new church of Neo-Gothic style designed by famous architect A. Studer was built in Juodkrantė in 1885. The wife of Kaiser of Germany Augusta Victoria presented to the church a crucifix and two impressive candlesticks, the owner of amber mines M. Becker - brilliant pipe organ. After the Second World War the church was transformed into a museum of miniatures. In 1989 it was returned to the churchgoers. Nowadays Evangelic Lutheran and Catholic service takes place here.

A chapel in Nida already existed in 1566, which was sand-buried a century later. The very first place of worship was established in a house owned by Kuwert in 1835. An independent parish of Nida was established in 1854. As the old church building decayed, a Lutheran pastor Gustav Echternach initiated a new church construction which was sanctified on 10 October 1888. Wooden ceiling, stained glass windows and Ernst Mollenhauer's painting Jesus stretching his hand to apostle Peter who is afraid of sinking brought the church a cosy atmosphere. The church was provided with perfect pipe organ designed by Gebauer company from Königsberg, three candelabra from the Kaiser's wife Victoria. Accurate replicas of the originals, which survived in postwar, are currently available in the church. Worship services in the church were held until 1962. In 1969-1988, Historical Museum of Neringa was functioning in it. The church was returned to the believers in 1988. At present time it belongs to the Evangelic Lutheran community.

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