History

ALYTUS IN HISTORICAL SOURCES

    Alytus was quite late mentioned in historical sources. 14th century it is mentioned 8 times in three different sources: in the chronicles of Wigand von Marbur, in the descriptions of the crusade routes to Lithuania, and in duke Jogaila 1387 granted privilege to Skirgaila. 
     For the first time in written sources, Alytus was mentioned in the chronicle of Wigand von Marbur, describing the crusaders routes to Lithuania in 1377 - the year of the death of Prince Algirdas. The chronicle says: "... Master Vinrich (Kniprod) sought to locate castles for the protection of the land. Having found them, they ordered the walls of Barten and Rhine Castle to be built. After that, the Marshal Brother Gotfrid and the great comrade brother Rindiger Elder overwhelmed the lands of Merkine and Alytus, which had been invaded in the morning. In those districts, there were four troops of the army who returned without loss, killing many pagsans and parsing the prisoners. "
     The second time Alytus was mentioned in the chronicle of Wigand von Marbur in 1392. description of the routes to Lithuania. Where we can read: "Through the cold and snow, the Marshal of the Order ordered a campaign against Lithuanians. Upon approaching the land of Lithuania, he divided the army into three parts. The first unit went towards the Birštonas Castle, but quickly retreated. The second one saw in the land of Punia, the third - in Alytus ".
     The description of these two hikes does not mention the attack on Alytus. Another attack on the Alytus castle was mentioned in 1392 in the same description of the route to lands of Lithuania. However, in another chronicle of the crusaders, written by Jonas from Posilga, which is more detailed and characterized by precise portraiture of events, the march of that year is described more likely as attack of Lyda but not Alytus castle. When exactly was Alytus castle finaly destroyed by crusaders we do not know.

DESCRIPTIONS OF ORDER ROUTES TO ALYTUS

  The Crusaders were collecting all of the useful information about routes to Lithuania, obstacles in them, settlements, defensive structures that they were preparing to attack and destroy the land and other interesting details. Alytus is mentioned five times in the descriptions of the Crusades in Lithuania ("Die Littauisehen Wegeberichte"). In three of them, the routes to Alytus are described as the main object, while in the other two Alytus is mentioned as a city on the way to the further locations. The first one reads: "The road from Daudiškiai to Alytus in 1384 on the day of St Peter (August 1). This route is described by Qwewede from Tammow:
     "This way, Owewede from Tammow wants to drive to Alytus Castle. From Daudiškis to Rausvė river 2 miles from Raukšė 3 miles to Šešupė, from Šešupė 4 miles to the Amalvė River, there are 2 ugly swamps, each one rope length [1]; from Amalvė 4 miles to Alytus castle, including a river through which you will need to get over, there will be enough water and grass for all the nights on this road. He also knows well the roads from Daudiškiai to Birštonas, Nemajūnai and Punia "[2].
     Description of the second road (road to Alytus and Merkinė) "Merkinė and Alytus":
     "This way to Alytus will be shown by Helmig and his son Kiken from Vargen. From the lake, called Dusia, it is 5 miles to Alytus, including a river called Obelyte; here the army can rest if they want, because there will be enough grass and water, from Alytus to Nemunaitis, from Nemunaitis to Merkinė 4 miles, the field is wide enough and the road is good. Then they know the road to Trakai "[3].
     The third route is the road to Alytus: "This road is described in 1384. On the St. Stephen Day (August 2) in Merkinė. This way will be show by Jagaude from Girmow and his comrade Schlode who want to lead us from Šešupė to Alytus. There are 4 miles to the Field of Malva, we have to make to small bridges, the first one rope length, the second one - half ropes, and there the army will be able to rest, to Alytus 5 miles a good road, and from there he knows all the roads to Trakai". 
     In addition, Alytus is mentioned in several descriptions of Trakai, Gardinas and other places. One of them is also the royal estate in Alytus.

YOGAILA PRIVILEGE TO SKIRGAILA

The first written sources about Alytus are that has to be attributed is 1387 privilege granted by king Jogaila, in which duke Skirgaila is appointed to govern the Trakai principality. In reference to the walls of the Principality, the privilege states: "... from Trakai for the Nemunas border from Merkinė town until the Merkinė valley, then down to Nemunas and to the German on both sides of the river Nemunas, and forest as was in the ancient times, and the townships: the first Nemunaičiai and the county, the second Alytus and the county".
     It is clear from the privilege that the administrative unit was Alytus in the fourteenth century. Unlike the Merkinė, which at that time was already a city, Alytus began to evolve from the small town. In the description of the Trakai duchy Merkinė is called a castle, and Alytus and Punia are just small castles.

 1. Rope - length measure 140-150 feet; foot - 32.2 cm. 

2. Jurgis J. Šidlauskas A. "The Land and the People". - V., - P. 26 

3. Ibid. - P. 31

According to Antanas Rinkevičius