Cultural-educational touristic routes

Cultural tourism route “Wooden architecture in Vilnius and Šalčininkai areas”

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VILNIUS – KETURIASDEŠIMT TOTORIŲ (19 km) – SKURBUTĖNAI (3 km) – RŪDNINKAI (21 km) – KARUŽIŠKĖS (16 km) – JAŠIŪNAI (15 km) – GOJUS (3 km) – VILKIŠKĖS (13 km) – TURGELIAI (9 km) – AKMENYNĖ (9 km) – TABARIŠKĖS (16 km) – MEDININKAI (21 km) – ŠUMSKAS (27 km) – KENA (8 km) – BUIVYDŽIAI (24 km) – BEZDONYS (20 km) – NEMENČINĖ (8 km) – EITMINIŠKĖS (11 km) – VILNIUS (32 km)

Šalčininkai and Vilnius areas might be called the Babylon of Lithuania. One may find Lithuanias, Poles, Russians, Tartars, Karaites, Ukrainians, Jews and Romany people dwelling there. For hundreds of years they lived according to their traditions, customs and religion. The region was surrounded by large forests, therefore, people built both their houses and temples of wood. While travelling along this route, one can see wooden churches, enchanting by their solemnity and harmony with nature.

The mosque of the Village of Forty Tartars

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In 1397, the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas (1350-1430) gave home to several hundreds of noble Crimean tartar families in Lithuania. The tartars were supposed to guard Trakai and Vilnius. For their services to the duke, they had some privileges – they could keep their religion and customs. According to the legend, one tartar, who lived by the river Vokė, married four women and each of them gave birth to 10 sons. So the people named the village as of Forty Tartars. Tartars have been still residing in this impressive rectangular street village, which has three cemeteries of local residents and a mosque.

There are only four functioning Muslim mosques in Lithuania. One of them is in Forty Tartars. The tetragonal wooden temple was erected in 1815. It is unique, since it is only mosque in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania that does not have a mihrab. The mosque is separated into men’s and women’s places of worship with separate entries. The temple had been functioning for a long time before Soviet authorities closed it. The mosque was returned to its attendees only in 1980. Currently, the temple is the spiritual centre for the country’s Muslims. The mosque is surrounded by a 16th-17th century cemetery with tombstones, made of field stones. MORE

Skurbutėnai chapel

Near Asdrė, the left inflow to the river Vokė, one will find a typical street village – Skurbutėnai. Close to the main street, behind a small stone fence, there is a wooden chapel, built in 1746. After the reconstruction, performed in 1855, the chapel has remained to the present day, being a witness of turbulent events. Due to the war of 1812 and the uprising of 1863, the temple remained closed for a certain period. The chapel is a simple building, reminiscent of a larger rectangular farmhouse with cut angles in the altar part and a side vestry. There is no tower above the roof, therefore, the cross is attached to the building’s pediment. The temple has three memorial works of art – the easel painting “Alegorija” (2nd half of the 19th century) candlesticks (1749) and the cope (19th century).

The Church of the Holy Trinity in Rūdninkai

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The Rūdninkai forest has been well known since the 15th century for its iron ore mines and iron-works, bears and bison, thus, the Grand Duke Casimirus Jagellon (1427-1492) had a luxurious hunting estate. At present, the forest is a landscape preservation park, however, hunting is still performed sometimes. Holidaymakers pick berries, mushrooms and herbs in pinewoods. The forest attracts bird spotters and photographers and in autumn people come to the former Soviet military grounds to listen to black grouses mating sounds. The streams Visinčia and Šalčia are popular among fishermen and canoeists.

In 1470, the Duke Casimirus Jagellon instructed to build a chapel in his hunting estate for parishioners from the surrounding villages. Unfortunately, the chapel burned and the villagers wished to have a church. There also was a pretext – an injured bear attacked the duke, however, his assistant saved his life. The church was built by Casimirus’s son Sigisismund I the Old (1467-1548) and decorated by the duke’s saving wotum “Bear’s Paw”. In the 16th century, the church housed the coffin with the body of the Queen Barbara Radziwill (1520-1551) for one night, when the mournful procession carried it from Krakow to Vilnius. In the middle of the 17th century, the temple and the hunting estate were burned down by Russian Cossacks. The present-day wooden church has been charming since 1790. In the middle of the 19th century, an altar was brought from the closed Trakai Cistercian Church.

Near the Rūdninkai cemetery you will find the monument of 5 m height, erected in 1975, commemorate that in 1863, the Rūdninkai forest became the stronghold for all those, who responded to the rebels’ call to squad, which was hiding in the forest for several weeks, withstood the attack of the Tsar’s army on 9th of March, 1863. MORE

Cognitive “Forest Wealth” route and “Livestock”

The best way to feel the forest is to visit the Parudamina forestry. The foresters themselves installed a one kilometer long route and the visitors are invited to see the forest plants, and birds and animals, living there. The foresters placed information plates along the route, providing information on the types of trees, found in the forest, the quartal lines network, the change of tree types, the forest layers and the most important works, performed by the foresters. However, the route should be most interesting to younger visitors: they will be told on the benefit of forests and trees and how not to lose their way in the woods. What is more, they will see fallow-deer, moufflons, raccoons and pheasants in the forestry yard. MORE

St. Anne’s Church in Jašiūnai

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Jašiūnai is found on the eastern edge of Rūdninkai forest. People have been dwelling in the area from the ancient times, which is evidenced by the barrow, found near the town. According to historical sources, a manor had been there from 15th century, which belonged to Radziwills till the 18th century. In the 16th century, the Radziwills accommodated an evangelical reformate’s synod with a church there. However, the noblest times for the manor started in the beginning of the 19th century, when it welcomed the historian Mykolas Balinskis (1794-1864) and his son Jonas Balinskis (1827-1902) – the founder of firs psychiatry department of Russian Empire, as well as Vilnius University Rector Jonas Sniadeckis (1756-1830). Their graves can be found in Jašiūnai cemetery. The manos became an important cultural centre: it had a huge library, it was visited by university professors, writers and poets, including Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855) and Juliusz Slowacki (1809-1849), botanist Stanislaw Jundzillo (1761-1847). Thus, it comes as no surprise that the educated hosts provided a refuge and medical treatment to the injured participants of the 1863 rebellion. At present, the Jašiūnai manor is under reconstruction. The resurrected manor will have a restaurant, hotel and conference rooms.

Religious wars had devastating consequences for centuries. The land of Jašiūnai is no exception. In 1640, the Catholic church was robbed by duke Janusz Radziwill’s soldiers, in the beginning of the 18th century, the church was burned down by Protestant Swedish army. There was no temple in the town as late as the beginning of the 20th century. By the way, there were some chapels, and a Dominican monk lived in the manor in the middle of the 19th century. However, the Tsar’s authorities closed the chapel in 1866. The one tower and three naves St. Anne’s Church was built only in 1929. This humble wooden church is the pride of Jašiūnai. MORE

The Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

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Further on the road turns to Gojus – an old street village with the wooden single-nave St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Church, erected in 1937. At present, the church belongs to Old Believers community, which has almost sixty members. MORE

Vilkiškės Mansion

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The wooden manor was built in Merkys valley in 1847 by the noble Dmochowsky family. The manor – a rectangular single-storey building, erected on a high stone foundation, was decorated by a mezzanine with a two-storey portico. Each storey was supported by light columns, the entrance was constructed as a broad staircase, wooden carvings cascaded from the windows. The manor was surrounded by a park with linden, oak and larch alleys. However, the Tsar’s authorities confiscated the manor from Dmochowskys for their participation in the 1863 uprising. The building served as a school during Soviet times. At present, the manor is being reconstructed, after the reconstruction the building will be used for cultural events and educational purposes. MORE

Turgelių Švč. Mergelės Marijos Ėmimo į dangų bažnyčia

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Pirmoji bažnyčia Turgeliuose pastatyta 1511 metais broliu Vaclavo ir Aleksandro Mangridų ir Viktoro Gabrialovičiaus pastangomis. Dabartinė Švč. Mergelės Marijos Ėmimo į dangų bažnyčia murinė, perstatyta 1897-1909 metais pagal Vilniaus gubernijos architekto Aleksejaus Polozovo projektą.

Polozovas išsaugojo didžiąją dalį senosios bažnyčios sienų, trinavės bažnyčios fasade iškėlė du bokštus ir sukūrė naują neobaroko stiliaus architektūros formų apvalkalą. .1928–1930 m. sieninę tapybą sukūrė dailininkai Valdemaras Kačinskis ir Skvarčinskis, dekoro darbus atliko Konstantinas Čarneckis. Kompozicijos nutapytos bažnyčios skliautuose, virš vargonų choro, taip pat vidurinėje navoje, virš piliorių, šoninėse navose ir presbiterijoje. Iki mūsų dienų bažnyčioje išliko XX a. I pusės įranga, taip pat paveikslų ir skulptūrų, vitražų, sukurtų XX a. II pusėje ir šio amžiaus pradžioje. MORE

Pawel Ksawery Brzostowsky Ethnography Museum

One can learn of the glorious history of Turgeliai at the P. Brzostowsky Ethnography Museum, displaying the manor’s architectural elements, documents and publications about Pawlawa. DAUGIAU

St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus Church in Akmenynė

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As a Greek Catholic confession church it was mentioned in 1830 Turgeliai Church visitation. The present church was bilt in 1928 and in 1945 the parish was created. The church is high and has one nave, in the Frontpage of the church there is a quadrangular tower. The interior of the church is not very rich, but has a few art monuments. One of them is the painting „The Painful Mother Mary“ created by A. Valinavičius in 1834. The ornamente iron crosses of churchyard‘s Stony wall gate and 2 wooden XIX century Angels sculptures also belongs to cultural heritage monumento list. DAUGIAU

St. Archangel Michael‘s Church in Tabariškės

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The church and belfry ensemble of Tabariškės charms the viewer with a combination of folk architecture and baroque traits. The church was bilt in 1770 by Lithuanian stribe Mykolas Skarbek-Važinskis. He accommodated old regula Carmelites near the church, wcho took care of the parish school , hospital and the Huse for the poor ones, founded by the abbey in 1809. The clerc also initiated construction of the chapel in the cemetery. The founder and his family members were buries in the krypt in fronto f the big altar. In 1832, the abbey was closed by the Tsar‘s authorities and the buildings decayed. From the Carmelites times there remained side naves altars, decorated with wood carvings and mannered angels figurines, as well as valuable 18th century easel paintings: the portrait of A. Važinskis, the painting of St. Anne, St. Joseph and St. Joachim and the painting of Christ holdingo a reed cane. There also are some unique reliquaries, liturgical were, smals portale altars of peculiar baroque shapes, as well as the bell, casted in the beginning of the 19th century by the orderį of the founder and embroidered chasubles. MORE

Anna Krepštul Museum

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There is the museum of folk painter Ana Krepštul (1932-2007) in Tabariškės Multifunctional Centre. During her lietime, the disabled woman had painted more than 3 500 paintings, rediating beauty, comfort and serenty. 50 of them are on display in the museum, others are in collections in Lithuania, Poland, USA, England and other countries. A. Krepštul‘s works decorate the curches in Rostov-on-Don in Russia and Vitebsk in Byelorussia. The painter‘s room was recreated and one can see her wheelchair, where she used to paint, and her ease. MORE

Medininkai Castle

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In ancient times, forests were called „mede“ and the forest caretaker – „medininkas“. Already in the 14th century, a stone castle with an impressive tower stood in the forest-surrounded Medininkai. The castle was used as a fortress, in which the residents found shelter from the Tartar and German‘s attacks will the beginning of the 15th century. In tems of the territory, the castle was the pargest in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It occupied the area of 2 hectares, and with the protective trenches and mounds – even 6.5 hectares. Its 14-15 meters high and 1.8-1.9 meters thickness walls and four towers were bilt of stones and burnt bicks by using the Baltic brick tying method. The wall‘s perimeter reached 568 meters. Shooting holes were made at the height of 11 m, the shooters got to the holes from inside the yard over a wooden gallery. The most important tower, five-storey and 23 meters high, stood on the northeast of the defence wall. There were Severas wooden strictures inside the castle yard. The castle was restored and a museum was set out in the tower not long ago. Finally, one can see a magnificent view of Medininkai town and its surroundings from the tower top. MORE

The Church of Holy Trinity and St. Casimirus in Medininkai

After the Christianization of Lithuania in 1387 one of seven parishes was founded in Medininkai and a church was erected. Later, a regular Penance chapter abbey was founded. In the middle of the 17th century, the church was revaged by the Russian army. Later, it also suffered when Napoleon‘s soldiers came, and, in 1832, the Tsar‘s authorities closed both the church and monastery. The new temple was bilt only after one hundred years. At present, the church has a replika of V. Sledzinskis‘s painting „Saint Casimirus“ and valuable baroque organ. In 1994, as the St. Casimirus abbey was founded, Franciscan monks settled in Medininkai. MORE

The Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Šumskas

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Tourists are attracted to the town by the impressive Church of St. Michael the Archangel and the Dominican abbey. The virst wooden church was bilt in the area already in the 17th century by the manor owners Mykolas and Halina Šumskis, who also accommodated the monks nearby. In the 18th century, the Dominicans themselves founded the late baroque style stone church, which was erected with participation of famous architect Augustinas Kosakauskas. In 1812, the French army ravaged the wooden monastery, but at present one can badmire the new classicist L shaped two-storey abbey buildings, connected to the church and bricked in 1833. In the 19th century, the Dominicans maintained the parish school and hospital, but the Tsar‘s authorities closed the abbey. Catholics regained the church only in 1917. Nowadays, the church has some Dominican valuables: the painting of the convent‘s patron saint „Saint Michael Archangel“, painted in the 18th century and the painting, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The crucifix on the big altar, made in the 20th century, is also worth seeing. The Šumskas‘ inhabitants have a special relation with angels: facades of Severas of the town‘s houses are decorated by carved angels, exhibitions of children‘s applications of angels are arranged, a book of angels‘ drawings has been Publisher and the local folk artists‘ works are displayed not only in Šumskas. The town is full of traditional Kraft shops, where the folk artists turn their creative visions, of course, related with angels, into reality. Tourists can also judge the townspeople‘s hoby – there is a park in the churchyard, where one can see eight sculputures of angels. They were created by artists during plein-air painting. MORE

Vilnius Regional Ethnography Museum

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When Jogaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania and the King of Poland, founded seven parish churches in Vilnius Episcopate, one of them was erected in Nemenčinė in 1387. However, people had dwelled there much earlier – a wooden castle existed already in 10th century. In the 16th century, the town residents were exempted from the obligation to pay taxes, however, in retur, they had to keep in order in brizges over the river Neris up to Kernavė. In 1794, Lithuanian rebels, led by Tadeusz Kosciuszko, had a fight with the Tsar‘s army near the town. It is worth visiting Vilnius Regional Ethnography Museum and seeing exhibits of ethnic heritage of the multinational Vilnius region. Painting, wood carving and needlework exibitions are also arranged there. Currently, a lot of people from Vilnius reide in the town. Moreover, the surrounding forests, occupying the area of about 200 square kilometres, are very popular among those seeking relaxation. MORE

The Church of Mother of God of the Gate of Dawn in Kena

The name of Kena has been mentioned in historical sources since the 16th century. The Cistercian monks, who settled in the town at the end of the 17th century, bilt a chapel, which was functioning till 1866, when the Tsar‘s authorities closed it. Only in 1920, a new temple was erected. A simple single-nave church was bilt of wood and capped by a multi-sloped roof with a smals tower. The church has three altars, a valuable wooden crucifix and richly ornamente metallic cross. The painting of Our Lady of Chapel of the Dates of Dawn is decorated by two gold-plated crowns. MORE

St. George‘s Church in Buivydžiai

The history of the Buivydžiai village which stands on the left banko f the Rover Neris dates back to the 16th century. The octagonal St. George‘s Church was founded by Mykolas Radziševskis in the end of the 18th century. The church was wooden, it burned down in 1982. However, the congregation made each and every effort and four years late they were already able to pray in a new stone temple, luite reminiscent of the previous one. Near the church stands a tall square platform spiky pyramid form Radziševskis family chapelmausoleum.

Buivydžiai will fascinate you not only with its traditional wooden architecture, but with its picturesquare landscape and hanging monkey bridge over the Rover Neris. MORE

The Church of Our Lady Blessed Virgin Mary of the Gate of Dawn in Bezdonys

Although the village of Bezdonys has been known since the 15th century, when it was visite by Grand Duke Jogaila, its wooden single-nave Church of Our Lady Blessed Virgin Mary of the Gate of Dawn was bilt only in 1937 and it was closed by Soviet authorities ten years late. The church was returned to the congregation only in 1988. MORE

Nemenčinės town cemetery chapel

The classicist single-tower stone church was bilt in 1855 instead of the burnt down wooden church. The main founders were noble Polish Parczewski family. Approximately in 1860, the Parczewski built a wooden family chapel near the church, where most representatives of the family, including the founder of the church Alexander Parczewski, were buries. The three-nave Church of St. Michael the Archangel has two side altars and the setting, made at the end of the 18th – beginning of the 19th century, which are declared as the monuments of art. MORE

The Church of St. Anthony of Padua in Eitminiškės

The history of the church begins in 1685, when the town was given to Vilnius missionary monks, who bilt a chapel there. In 1866, the chapel was closed and demolished by the Russian authorities. Only in 1924, on the local residents‘ initiative, a wooden towerless Churcg of Saint Anthony of Padua was bilt. Ten years late, the priėst Ambraziejus Jakavonis (1886-1943) was appointed as the parish rector. On Easter of 1943, the soldiers of Armia Krajowa invaded the parish and killed the priėst. Ambraziejus Jakavonis is honoured by a memorial stone in the churchyard. MORE

Treasures of eastern Lithuania: from the Hills of Medininkai to the villages of Dieveniškės

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VILNIUS – MEDININKAI (33 km) – JUOZAPINĖ (2 km) – TABARIŠKĖS (20 km) – TURGELIAI (7 km) – MERKINĖ (3 km) – ŠALČININKAI (24 km) – NORVILIŠKĖS (40 km) – DIEVENIŠKĖS (13 km) – BĖČIONYS (3,5 km) – RIMAŠIAI (3,5 km) – JAŠIŪNAI (38 km) – VILNIUS (30 km)

„From the Hills of Medininkai to the Villages of Dieveniškės” is an exotic route brimming with discovery. It is only by travelling it that you will find incredible treasures which will please your heart, eyes and ears. You’ll visit the Medininkai memorial and Medininkai Castle, which is the oldest and largest enclosure type castle in Lithuania. You will feast your eyes on the view from Lithuanian’s highest point and hear the silence in the wooden Tabariškės church, which has been standing for centuries. And among the ruins of the Paulava Republic estate, you will feel the ticking of time meant for you, and you alone, like nowhere else… Just tens of kilometers from the hustle and bustle of the capital at the ethnographic villages in the Dieveniškės Historical Regional Park, you will still find the same yearly cycle that has been spinning quietly in these villages for centuries. And the shadows of the Norviliškės monastery will tell secrets which have all but sunk into oblivion. This route will be coloured with exoticism by the fact that it will take you along the Lithuanian-Belarusian border; you will have to carry identification with you, and when you return, you will be asked at the border post what you’ve brought in from the neighbouring country, even through…you won’t have even been there.

Medininkai memorial

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On July 1991, six officers were shot and killed at the Medininkai border post: Mindaugas Balavakas and Algimintas Juozakas, who were officers of the Police Department’s Special Operations Unit ARAS under the Ministry of the Interior, Juozas Janonis and Algirdas Kazlauskas , who were officers of the Lithuanian Road Police, and Antanas Musteikis and Stanislovas Orlavičius, who were Vilnius Customs Department officers. After the massacre, doctors fought to save the lives of Ričardas Rabavičius and Tomas Šernas. Two days later, on 2 August, customs officer Rabavičius died – his wounds were too deep. Only Tomas Šernas survived.

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of this tragedy, a memorial was established: the registration book and items that were used by the men killed on duty were put on display in the restored guardhouse, and place marked with blood was left on the old floor. In 2007, a monument was erected next to the old Medininkai customs in memory of the officers who had died.

The memory of the officers who died is honoured each year on 31 July in Medininkai and the Antakalnis cemetery in Vilnius. MORE

Medininkai castle

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Built in the 14th century, this castle is the oldest, largest, and best-preserved enclosure type castle in Lithuania. Legend has it that Medininkai Castle was built by giants. They were so strong that when they built the walls, they would lend each other tools and throw them from Medininkai to Krėva and back again.

Medininkai Castle was left uncared-for for quite some time. Once the complex was turned over to the Trakai History Museum, its employees began to look after the territory. On 28 September 2012 Medininkai Castle became open to visitors. MORE

Lithuania’s highest peaks: Aukštojas hill and Juozapinė hill

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Aukštojas Hill is Lithuania’s highest point. The peak of the hill is 293.84 metres above the level of the Baltic Sea. The hill was named after Aukštojas, who was one of the most important deities in Baltic mythology. Juozapinė Hill, which is 292.83 metres tall, looms right nearby. This hill was previously considered the highest point in Lithuania and was marked as such in all maps that were published prior to 2004. MORE

Tabariškės church of St. Michael the Archangel

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Mykolas Skarbekas-Važinskis, a scribe of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, built the wooden Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Tabariškės in 1770 and established a foundation for it. He also helped the Carmelites settle here. The Tabariškės monastery was not large – its maintenance was entrusted to three monastic priests. However, skilled professional builders, carvers and painters were commissioned to construct and equip the church. To this day, the church has preserved its Baroque volume, the main accent of which is the bent silhouette of the facade’s pediment. The Tabariškės church contains valuable 18th century paintings and sculptures, and a rather substantial collection of relics has also survived. MORE

Turgeliai St. Mary of the assumption church wall paintings

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Turgeliai’s current church was rebuilt according to a project which was designed by Vilnius Guberniya architect Aleksei Polozov and approved in 1897. This was the year that the tsarist government revokes the ban on building Catholic churches.

Polozov preserved most of the old church’s walls, but added two towers to the three-nave facade and created a new neo-Baroque encasement. The construction process was looked after by Povilas Šepeckis, who was the church’s dean at the time, and vicar Leonas Petras Laucevičius. The church was completed in 1909 , but fitting out and decorating the interior took longer. The church was finally consecrated in 1930 by Vilnius Bishop Romualdas Jalbžikovskis. The wall paintings were done in 1928-1930 by artists Valdemaras Kačinskis and Skvarčinskis, while Konstantinas Čarneckis did the decorating. Compositions are painted in the church vaults and over the choir, as well as in the central nave, above the pillars, in the side naves and in the presbytery. Fittings from the first half of the 20th century have survived to this day, as have paintings, sculptures and stained glass windows that were created in the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. MORE

Turgeliai P.K. Bžostovskis museum of local history

The exhibition at the P.K. Bžostovskis Museum of Local History consists of seven sections with a total of approximately 3 000 exhibits, including unique maps, documents, extremely rare books, prayer books, and estate household items. MORE

Paulava Republic. Ruins of the former estate manor house

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Just outside of Vilnius in the district of Šalčininkai is a unique place that society attached special importance to several hundred years ago. It was even said that there are three republics in the state: that of Poland, Lithuania and Paulava.

Aukštupio Merkinė is an old manor place that belonged to many notable families, including the Radvilas, the Sluškas, the Potockis, the Dunins, the Sanguškas and the Korsakases. The estate was purchased from Ipolitas Korsakas, a Navahrudak court officer, in 1767 by Povilas Ksaveras, a young priest and statesman of what was then the Polish-Lithuanian Common-wealth; Ksaveras has studied theology in Rome and was later appointed Great Scribe and Referendary of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.Upon purchasing the estate (3,040 hectares, i.e. more than 15 times the size of the Principality of Monaco, which is 195 hectares) and naming it “Paulava” after himself, Ksaveras began undertaking reforms. He published regulations which were to be observed by all residents of the Paulava Republic. A community of self-government was established with a bicameral parliament, and the republic had its own currency and sentries. Particular attention was given to education. The president of the republic himself wrote plays which the peasants performed, and sent information about life in the republic to the newspapers of that time.

The serfdom that was flourishing at that time in the Paulava Republic was replaced by feudal land rent. Over the 25 years (1769-1794) that the republic existed, the estate’s income doubled. Paulava collapsed when the Kościuszko Uprising was lost. MORE

Vagneris mansion

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Šalčininkai’s most significant cultural heritage site is the Vagneris mansion, which belonged to counts Martynas and Karolis Vagneris, two pharmacists from Vilnius. Their lies in Šalčininkai coincided with the town‘s „golden age“. They contributed to the area by establishing a new source of subsistence for the residents: a distillery and a cheese Huse, as well as a saw-mill and a varnish and tempera factory. The distillery and the saw-mill were equipped with baths, showers and canteens for the workers. When the Red Army occupied Vilnius in 1939, the family fled to England. The archyve and library were burned. The mansio was used as headquarters for the regional executive committee, as a hospital, and so on. The landscape park fell into ruin.

Vagneris mansio is a residential villa type of building from the Historicism period. Even now, you can see its wonderful glazed-tile stovės and the magnificent „Golden Hall“. The mansio currently houses the Stanislovas Moniuška Art School, whose students regularly reap awards at various International competitions. MORE

Norviliškės monastery

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Norviliškės was first mentioned in historical sources at the end of the 16th century (at that time, Norviliškės was a folwark – a serfdom-based farm). The folwark, which late became a monastery, was bilt on a hill that stood out in the background of surrounding platins and forests. The castle‘s virst owner (as well as its builder) was Vaitiekus Šorcas, who was of East Prussian descent; in time, Šorcas, acquired many estates in the Ashmyany area together with his wife, Dorota Zenovič-Šorc. Šorcas‘ early death (in 1608) prevented him from fully implementing his defensive folwark architecture plan. After her husband passed away, Dorota Šorc, wanting to spread the Catholic faith, invited the Franciscans to come from Vilnius; she officially bestowed the Norviliškės folwark to them in 1617. The priars were to use the land to build the Church of St. Francis and an adjacent monastery. In 1623, in accordance with his mother‘s 1622 will, Doroto‘s son, Adomas Vaitiekaitis Šorcas, took the chest which contained the Norviliškės esate documents from the Franciscan monastery in Vilnius and handed it over to the Norviliškės Franciscans. From that time on, all of the documents were safeguarded at the Norviliškės monastery. In 1698, a fire broke out under undetermined circumstances in the cell where the chest was kept. The priars managed to extinguish the fira, but the documents in the chest suffered considerable Damaze. As a result, some important historical facts are now impossible to trace. Later documents indicate that another fire destroyed the church and its repository, including many valuable įtems; old inventories and foundations acts were also destroyed. Some documents attest that a new church was bilt in 1745. After the November Uprising of 1831, the church was closed and the priars were movei to Navahrudak. In 1922, the Surviliškis parishioners decided to build a new church in Norviliškės and restore the parish, and also set up a rectory in the monastery. Funded by the parishioners, a new wooden, tin-covered church was bilt in the Zakopane style in 1928 (with A. Sakalauskas servinga s rector). MORE

Dieveniškės Urban complex; church of the holy rosary of the blessed virgin Mary and bell tower

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The village of Mingaila (where Mykolas Mingaila, a great nobleman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, was from) is mentioned in the plane of Dieveniškės in „Die Littauischen Wegeberichte“, a compilation of rogutes into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania prepared by the Teutonic Knights. Dieveniškės was virst noted in a map of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1613. The village was burnt down numerous time. In 1886, the village had an apothecary, nineteen shops and eight taverns. At the end of the 19th century, Jews made up 75% of the population; they had a school and two synagogues. The village became part of Poland in 1920, and belonged to Belarus in 1939-1941. The greater part of the town of Dieveniškės was essentially formed from the 14th century to the end of the 18th century. This part is now protected. The wooden and brick buildings are valuable from an architectural and urbanistic standpoint. The layout of the buildings (standing lengthwise toward the square and the streets) is preserved throughout the town.

The church contains several pieces of monumental value; a cross, two easel paintings, three sculptures and two bells (cast in 1743 and 1840). The churchyard features a monument to the well-known writer, Bishop Motiejus Valančius. MORE

Gauja educational trail

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The goal of the educational trail that was built at the Gauja Landscape Reserve in 2003 is to present Gauja River valley, which is of particular value, to the public. During a vegetation survey carried out in 2001, 447 species of plants and 92 species of moss were found at the Gauja Landscape Reserve. The trail is approximately 1,7 kilometres long and has 18 stations. Part of the trail is handicap accessible. There is a parking lot and a rest area next to the trail. The trail is fitted out with 61 various pieces of equipment (information stands, bridges, benches, a viewing tower etc.). The Gauja Educational Trail was recognized as the best in Lithuania in 2004. MORE

Bėčionys hill fort

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The hill fort is located to the west of Bėčionys Village, on the right bank of the Gauja. This is the only known and studied ancient hill fort in the Dieveniškės environs. Even now, remains of ramparts can be seen, with traces of the ditch next to them. A cultural layer was found at the hill fort site during an archeological dig which was dated to 1000 BC. MORE

Rimašiai linear village

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This is perhaps the most beautiful ethnographic village in Dieveniškės Historical Regional Park. The homesteads in the rural settlement of Rimašiai are lined along the left bank of Gauja, mimicking its bend. Rimašiai was first documented in 1744. At that time, the village belonged to the Daubutiškės estate, and did so right up until the abolition of serfdom. The village’s land was divided into three fields, which were each divided into pieces, which were each divided into patches. Each patch had a name: Dvarnos, Siaurutės, Plačiosios, Kamša, Margiai, and so on. This helped to find one’s bearings in the fields that were divided into multiple patches (each farmer had 15 or more patches). The side south to Dieveniškės was for homesteads, since a marshy swamp stretched across the north. The natural conditions resulted in the formation of a typical one-way linear village, with a cobblestone street. MORE

Jašiūnai estate and park

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In the 15th-18th centuries, the settlement of Jašiūnai belonged to the Radvilas, who were one of the most powerful – and at that time, also one of the richest – families of nobles. The estate was purchased by Ignacas Balinskis in 1811. The current manor house, which was designed by Karol Podčašinskis, was built in 1824-1828, and is considered to be one of the architect’s most notable works. A sevice wing designed by Apolinaras Mikulskis was added to the building in 1875-1876. There is also a servant house with stables and a coach shed. This is a historic building with folk décor. The forge and coach house are still standing, as are other folk architecture buildings: the farmhand building and the barn.

The Jašiūnai park was begun even before the manor house was built. Stretched over 11 hectares of land, this is one of Lithuania’s most beautiful Neoclassical landscape parks. The greenery forms masses of pliant silhouettes which are separated by spacious lawns that cover more than half of the park’s territory (approximately 6 hectares).

Jašiūnai is regarded as one of the most important 19th century cultural centres of the Vilnius region. Andrius Sniadeckis – a biologist, chemist and doctor who was also a professor at the University of Vilnius – was a frequent visitor at the estate. His brother, the eminent astronomer, mathematician and Vilnius University rector Jonas Sniadeckis, spent his last years at the estate. MORE

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