Introduction of Lithuania: Most Famous Manors and Palaces - Photo credit: Amber255 via Bitlanders.com
Welcome dear readers! I started a series of blogs about Introduction of Lithuania, my native country. I already wrote a blog about our castles; now I want to introduce you our greatest manors and palaces that still keep the spirit of our history. We have a lot of palaces, I simply cannot describe all of them, but I will try to introduce you at least those that I have visited myself, and those are the most famous palaces in Lithuania.
The all magnificent palaces and mansions that scattered in all the most beautiful corners of Lithuania can be proud of what they have preserved to this day. In the past, the manors were very important centers of countries' cultural life, and now they are waiting for the tourists - manors convey to them their unique history.
The breathtaking views, the history flying in the air, the wonderful nature are for anyone who wants to escape from everyday life and visit one of the Lithuanian manor palaces. Summer can be a great time for new adventures. Visit the wonderful palaces that are renewed for the second life, where you can not only relax but also entertain as a real landlord.
We should feel empowered by where we came from and who we are, not hide it. It is important to acknowledge that everything we do affects our ancestors as much as they have affected us. ― Lorin Morgan-Richards
Lithuanian Heritage - Manors
Almost in every corner of Lithuania, we can admire still famous manors, often neglected and devastated but still recalling the dramatic events of our nation's history. The manor in Lithuania is perceived in two aspects: the manor as a building, and the manor as a cultural center. With the development of Lithuania, the manor began to form as a cultural center. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania became the most important center for diplomacy, administration, and the maintenance of our language. The ruler of Lithuania, his family members were the patrons of artistic works, architectural constructions, and Lithuanian chronicles. Another aspect is the manor as architectural buildings. The various styles of architecture charm the visitors till now. Many manor palaces are built by foreign architects.
Manors in Lithuania were made up of palaces, auxiliary dwelling houses, and other industrial buildings, sometimes with a church or chapel, parks, and gardens. The buildings were built compactly around a large courtyard, sometimes scattered or grouped by function into sectors around the courtyards.
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The manors lost their privileges after the World War I, and there were no new manors palaces built; the old ones began to disappear, especially during the period of Soviet occupation when they were nationalized. After the restoration of independence, 817 manors were counted in the accounts of cultural values, of which 239 were completely ruined and removed from the list. There are currently 578 manor palaces in the inventory of cultural properties.
The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania stands proudly in the heart of Vilnius, in the Cathedral Square. Their story recalls the most magnificent times of the country's life, as the most Grand Dukes of Lithuania settled there. Burned over and over again, having changed the architectural style, eventually ruined - after 200 years, the palace once again revived, and invites us to visit it.
The 16th and 17th centuries are called the golden ages of this palace. At that time, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania together with the Kingdom of Poland was an influential state of the region. There were so many historic events of European significance in the palace. The palace also was known by one of Europe's richest libraries, extraordinary collections of weapons, armor, and hunting trophies.
There were accumulated many valuable artifacts: paintings, jewelry, tapestries, there have worked famous artists, and there was an intense cultural life. The prosperity times ended in the seventeenth century. The palace was devastated by the occupation forces of Moscow and then was completely destroyed. The idea of restoration of the palace was born together with the liberation movement in Lithuania in the 20th century. Archaeological researchers found about 0.5 million unique finds, and they became the basis of the restoration of the palace.
In 2002, the reconstruction of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania was started. On the occasion of the commemoration of the Millennium of Lithuania in 2009 July 6, the symbolic opening of the restored Palace of Grand Dukes of Lithuania took place. Now, the palace is again a symbol of Lithuanian statehood, and national pride, a center of history, citizenship education, and cultural heritage.
I have been there only one time as it was restored not so long ago. After palace's opening to visitors, there was a mass of people coming to explore the greatest palace of Lithuania. And we went also. It is needed to see all the beauty that is inside with your own eyes. Sometimes it is hard to believe what the rich things the noblemen used in daily life. Watch the street view of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
Pearl of the Baltic Cultural Heritage - Tyszkiewicz Palace
Tyszkiewicz Palace - Photo credit: 15min.lt
In Palanga, near the Baltic Sea, there is a unique work of nature and culture - the residence of Count Tyszkiewicz. This magnificent neoclassical palace was built in 1897, and cultural historians call it the pearl of the Baltic cultural heritage. The Tyszkiewicz Palace stands out as an impressive, even 100-hectare Palanga botanical park, which presents an amazing combination of rare and interesting plants, and expressive sculptures.
Within the palace, there is the Amber Museum, which houses the world's largest collection of amber inclusions, captivating crowds of visitors from around the world. Here, you will also hear the history of the formation of amber, stories about its prevalence, trade routes, processing, and utilization. Well, and in the cozy chapel of Tyszkiewicz Palace, you will enjoy concerts, often organized various thematic art exhibitions and poetry evenings.
I know this palace from my childhood as it stands not far away from my home. And it always was very beautiful. I have been there many times. I love slow walks in its park at any time of the year. The museum I have visited two times: first time, it was an excursion with school friends, and later, I have visited it with my family. There are really unique amber pieces worth to see. Inclusions of the amber are stunning: all kinds of insects and other things.
Oginski Manor Palace in Plunge
If you are going to the Samogitian capital, then do not miss the opportunity to visit Oginski manor palace in Plunge. An impressive and magnificent manor will decorate the photo gallery of every visitor. The art lovers will be able to visit the exhibitions of the Samogitian Art Museum. In addition, it is one of the most musical palaces in the country.
In XIX century, the duke Oginskis acquired Plunge manor house, town, and its surroundings. He founded the palace that became famous for its beauty and cultural activity. The Oginski palace is one of the most beautiful Lithuanian palaces built in the nineteenth century. Later, the Samogitian Museum of Art has been opened in the palace, and it works until now. The museum collects and exhibits the artworks of Samogitians, and also presents to visitors the cultural heritage that reflects the history of Plunge palace, and Oginski family.
Plunge manor palace's complex is one of the best preserved in Lithuania, although time and misfortune have made its own - many of the former buildings are already destroyed or ruined. Those who are left are quite eloquent. The main attraction of manor complex is the central manor palace and the two former ones next to them. There are many preserved buildings in the park territory, and the park itself is also beautiful.
Oginski Manor Palace in Plunge - Photo credit: nuomone.wordpress.com
I have been there three times. Every time passing by this place, we stop and going to walk in the park as it is a really beautiful park. We start our acquaintance with the manor and the park from the park gates and the guard's house, which now houses such a mini tourist information center. Behind the gate is an alley based on stones. For me, when visiting such places, I always like to go to the main object by the park's tracks, rather than immediately enter the manor palace. When I walk through the manor park covered by trees, I better penetrate the atmosphere of the manor, and I always have a peculiar feeling of surprise or discovery when I finally come to the main object. At the end of the tree alley, is a large space with the palace and other buildings. The inside of the palace is not yet well-organized, and until full reconstruction, it is necessary to put in a lot of work and money.
Oginski Park is one of the largest Lithuanian parks located in the city. The main part of the park is a scenery park with local trees and shrubs, but the most beautiful place of the park is Oginski Manor Palace Ensemble.
Verkiai Manor Palace
Verkiai Palace is called Vilnius Versailles not in vain - it is one of the most valuable buildings of Classicism in Lithuania. Verkiai Manor is located on the outskirts of the city of Vilnius, in a beautiful landscape, and it occupies an area of 82 ha. The manor is properly and artistically integrated into the natural environment and represents one of the most valuable classical ensembles in Lithuania. The Verkiai Manor ensemble consists of a large number of surviving buildings and small architectural details. All this territory is protected by the state as Verkiai Architectural Reserve.
Verkiai Manor is the long-lived residence of Vilnius Bishops. From the big palace, today has remained the only basement, but other buildings were renewed: the tower and a large hall, and the glass-iron orangery were renewed. The western building was the least reorganized, thus it is still maintaining a strict architectural style.
Verkiai Manor Palace - Photo credit: voruta.lt
Visitors to the Verkiai Palace assemble area are attracted not only by the history of this place or the gorgeous manor palace but also by the beautiful nature that is surrounding the palace from all sides. On the steep slopes of the Verkiai Hill, there is a spectacular oak tree alley. We once visited a restaurant that is located in one of the palace buildings, so after this, we explored a bit the manor and a park. It's a really beautiful place even if the main building is not survived. I very hope, it will be restored one day.
Pakruojis Manor Palace
Pakruojis Manor is the largest in Lithuania. On the first side of the 16th century, in the written sources, the mansion was mentioned as wooden. However, later, it was expanded, and the main attraction now is the ornate two-story palace with columns and arches.
Today, the palace provides accommodation, and the halls rental services. Excursions are also organized. Every weekend, there are organized performances about the life of nobles, attracting viewers from all over Lithuania and abroad.
Pakruojis Manor Palace - Photo credit: celebritypix.us
The palace is like a live museum. It worth visiting. You will enjoy every minute there. I have been there only one time, but really it was not enough. I want to come back again.
Rokiskis Manor Palace
The Rokiskis manor palace stands in Rokiskis town. The oldest manor palace has not survived, its place is not clear and precise. Now, the manor palace and other buildings are given away to the Rokiškis region museum. The museum presents the unique material of the culture and history of Rokiskis region: abundant archaeological finds, old books, documents, and publications.
The Duke Tyzenhauz established a hunting manor here, and also rented it to other noblemen. In XVIII century, they relocated their residence and started to build a new manor and town. It is built in Classical style. The ensemble consists of 16 buildings and a park.
What can I add from my side? It is the beautifully nice place. This is the only surviving wooden mansion in the Rokiškis region and one of the most unique wooden manors in Lithuania.
Rokiskis Manor Palace - Photo credit: efoto.lt
Astravas Manor Palace
Astravas is a suburb of Birzai town, located near the lake. Significantly, the largest footbridge in Europe leads through this artificial lake (525 meters). While we drove, the footbridge was more like a paved road that separates the lake into two parts. Of course, we went to this place not to look at the footbridge but to visit the beautiful, interesting architecture of Astravas manor.
Upon approaching the palace, the gorgeous main tower and the lion's sculptures standing next to the entrance fall down into the eye. In the left side of the main palace's entrance, the columns are also attracting attention, which stands out from the general view of the building.
Summing up, Astravas manor palace left quite a good impression. First of all, due to its interesting architecture. And there is a beautiful park too.
Astravas Manor Palace - Photo credit: excursus.lt
Birzai Manor Palace
The palace-fortress of Birzai is a sign of Birzai region. This archaeological-architectural monument is the only one in Lithuania. The artificially formed lake was designed to protect the castle and access to the city. The complex consists of the castle palace, the remains of the defensive structures, the bridge, and the gates. The interior of the manor buildings and the palace is decorated with reliefs, sculptures, and paintings. The prince Radvila built the modern, largest and strongest bastion fortress of Italian-style in Birzai town. He wanted to protect the town and its surroundings. In XVIII century, Sweden occupied our fortress, and leaving, they simply exploded the palace with other fortress buildings.
There are several masonry buildings in the courtyard of the fortress. The most important of them is the three-story building - Perkunas Palace. The Representation Palace of Birzai Castle was rebuilt a few decades ago. There are now a Public Library and Birzai Regional Museum. Other buildings are still renovating.
We were there at a time of renovation and could enjoy only the surrounding area and a park, but we could not see the whole beauty of the inside interior of the palace. The palace inside was in a full rebuilding.
Birzai Manor Palace - Photo credit: 15min.lt
Taujenai Manor Palace
The main object of Taujenai town and attraction center, known all over the country is a Taujenai Manor. The manor was first mentioned in XVI century. It is classical Italian-style manor palace. Until the 20th century's middle, the manor was the residence of the Dukes of Radvila. In Soviet times, there was a directorate of the Soviet economy.
Currently, the manor is a tourist, recreation, party, and conference center. Manor Park is open to visitors. At weekends, visitors are welcome to live jazz miniatures, Spanish Music parties.
I think it's very beautiful place and very beautiful palace. It left a really great impression. Maybe because it was a very sunny day when we visited the palace, and the whole atmosphere was light.
Taujenai Mansor - Photo credit: 15min.lt
On the Final note
In almost every region of Lithuania, you can admire the great manors of Lithuania' historical past. I could write and write about them, as there are plenty of great palaces in my country. Simply, it would become a too long blog. Unfortunately, I have not visited all Lithuanian palaces, but when I have a spare time, I enjoy such trips to the historical places.
Lithuania is such a small country, but in almost every corner of it, it is possible to discover important manors with palaces of the different historical periods. Many of them are abandoned or vandalized, thus speaking about the dramatic history of our country. Watching them, I realize that one day, they can go away and become just part of the history. On the other hand, exploring the manors of Lithuania, I also learn the history of different regions of my country.
Plunge palace - Photo credit: baltukelias.lt
The remaining part of the historic manor system is very valuable, as it testifies to the longevity of the state of Lithuania, its culture, its relations with the cultures of other European countries. Manor culture still influences our morality and behavior, it shapes the concept of art and culture in general, and thus enhances the culture of today's Lithuania.
So, welcome to explore our Lithuanian manors and palaces!
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