An armoured soldier and two lynxes on the euro coin dedicated to Dzūkija
Today, 9 September, the Bank of Lithuania issued into circulation the €2 commemorative coin dedicated to Dzūkija. The €2 commemorative coin is legal tender throughout the euro area.
This is the third coin in the series “Lithuanian Ethnographic Regions”. The coins dedicated to Samogitia and Aukštaitija were issued in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
“As of today, the Dzūkians will be able to add a euro coin dedicated to Dzūkija to their wallets. Dzūkija, also known as Dainava, is one of the most unique Lithuanian ethnographic regions, renowned for its pinewoods rich in mushrooms, sands, songs, traditional holiday customs and mineral water resorts. It is, incidentally, not the first euro coin linked to Dzūkija: earlier this year we issued a commemorative coin dedicated to Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve, the half of which extends across Dzūkija. Tree beekeeping, which was also commemorated by a coin, has been practiced for the longest in Dzūkija, in the woods of Dainava – the largest forest area in Lithuania,” says Asta Kuniyoshi, Deputy Chair of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
In the accompanying e-brochure to the coin, Dr. Irma Šidiškienė tells that Dzūkija is not only characterized by its forest area, the woods of Dainava, but also by the Lithuania’s highest point discovered in the 20th century – Aukštojas Hill, located in the Medininkai Highlands, as well as by its maintained distinctive landscape, protected at the Žuvintas and Čepkeliai reserves, Dzūkija National Park and other regional parks. There are old Tatar settlements that are still extant in Raižiai (Alytus district), villages of Keturiasdešimties totorių and Nemėžis (Vinius district) as well as the Karaite settlement in Trakai. As far as the diet is concerned, potato and mushroom meals are the most popular in Dzūkija. Dzūkians used to bake sourdough bread, pies, buckwheat babka (a type of pie) and grated potato banda (a type of pancake). They also salted bacon and meat.
The national side of the coin dedicated to Dzūkija features a coat of arms of Dzūkija with an armoured soldier holding a halberd in his right hand and leaning with his left arm against a silver Baltic shield. The coat of arms placed on a beam is held by two lynxes. Below hangs a ribbon with a Latin inscription EX GENTE BELICOSISSIMA POPULUS LABORIOSUS (hard-working people from a fierce tribe). The composition is surrounded by inscriptions LIETUVA (Lithuania) and DZŪKIJA. The armoured soldier featured on a coat of arms signifies a guardian of the land, while the lynx is a symbol of vigilance and insight. The national side of the coin was designed by Rolandas Rimkūnas. The common side, designed by Luc Luycx, is the same as on circulation coins.
The Bank of Lithuania, together with Dzūkija National park, are organising a contest – a treasure hunt “Discover Dzūkija and win a commemorative coin”, for the issuance of the euro coin dedicated to Dzūkija. A call to participate and its terms and conditions will soon be published on the Bank of Lithuania website and its Facebook page.
The mintage of the coin dedicated to Dzūkija is 500,000, of which 5,000 are of BU quality in numismatic package. UNC quality coins can be exchanged at their nominal value at the Bank of Lithuania cash offices. Coins will also reach the purses of the population through trading venues, they will be used in daily settlements.
By 2023, it is planned to issue commemorative coins dedicated to Suvalkija and Lithuania Minor, hence all five Lithuanian ethnographic regions will have their own dedicated coin.