Pay a Visit to the City of Kuršėnai

KURŠĖNAI

Kuršėnai is the largest city of Šiauliai District, situated in the northern part of the district on both sides of the River Venta. Currently, the city has the population of over 15 thousand.

The city has a rectangular structure and a mixed street map. The best part of the city is located on the right bank of the Venta. The left bank of the river is occupied by a park with the remains of the Gruzewski estate buildings.

The two railway lines, Vilnius - Klaipėda and Vilnius - Mažeikiai, run across Kuršėnai.

The city has a Roman Catholic Church.

LAURYNAS IVINSKIS SQUARE. MONUMENT TO LAURYNAS IVINSKIS

There is a Gothic-style square in the city centre. By the mid 20th century, it was a market square. The present square was established later. In 1960, a monument to L. Ivinskis was erected and the square was named after the famous educator of the people. The square became a place of many solemn gatherings.

L. Ivinskis made national cultural history not only as calendar compiler. He was a translator, a dictionary compiler, a botanist, a conservationist, and a folklore collector.

L. Ivinskis was born in Šilalė Parish on 15 August 1810.

When the patriarch of Lithuanian calendars grew old, he was sheltered by I. Gruzewski, the owner of Milvydai Manor. The educator of the nation died on 31 July 1881.

KURŠĖNAI ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CHURCH

Kuršėnai

The first chapel in Kuršėnai is believed to have been built in 1523. A wooden church was built in 1842 - 1844 (project architect Krasinskis). During the First World War, the church was destroyed. The present brick church was constructed in 1927 - 1933. It was consecrated by the bishop Justinas Staugaitis on 29 September 1933. The construction work was administered by the canon Vaclovas Dambrauskas (killed in 1941). The church was badly damaged during the Second World War. Parishioners funded the restoration of the church tower in1998.

It is a historistic, rectangular, basilican, and turreted church. There are 3 naves (the side ones are lower) and five altars in the inside. The churchyard is surrounded by a stone and lattice brick fence.

MONUMENT OF VYTIS

The Monument of Vytis has been the first monument restored in Kuršėnai during Lithuanian National Revival. It was built in 1928 on the 10th anniversary of the Independence of Lithuania. The monument was demolished on 8 July 1947.

Upon Lithuanian National Revival in 1989, the monument was restored and solemnly consecrated on 14 June that same year. The monument was consecrated by Albinas Arnašius, the dean priest of Kuršėnai.

Rallies used to be held at the monument in the years of national revival. Nowadays the flag is raised on public holidays and national festivals.

The lower part of the monument is made of concrete whereas Vytis is made of bronze. The city dwellers made donations and the municipality granted allocation for the reconstruction of the monument.

The inscription on the monument says, “Glory to the soldiers and shooters who died for their independence. Commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Independence of Lithuania (1918 - 1928). Restored by people of good will on 14 June 1989 in 2006 in the years of national revival”.

KURŠĖNAI MANOR ESTATE (OF THE GRUZEWSKI). CENTRE OF ETHNIC CULTURE AND TRADITIONAL CRAFTS

Ventos St. 7, Kuršėnai, Šiauliai District

The history of Kuršėnai Manor begins in 1564 when Sigismund Augustus gave the said manor as a fief to George Despot-Zenovich, the Castellan of Polotsk. Soon, a settlement began to grow in the manor lands on the other side of the Venta, and in 1569 the first wooden church was erected. In 1621, the estate went to S. Pac, the Grand Treasurer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and a decade later the manor became the property of George Gruzewski and his wife. At the end of the 18th century, Kuršėnai were inherited by Stephen Gruzewski. Having brought in the artist J. Rilke with the apprentice team, he built a new (current) manor house and a chapel and renovated other buildings in 1811. The estate flourished still further under ruling of his younger son Edward who took it over in 1846. The mansion and the park were devastated by the Germans who occupied the manor during the First World War and brought away the most valuable things. The fire of 1915 destroyed the peasant farms, barns, and sheds. The manor belonged to George Gruzewski at that time. Owing to advanced farming, the estate was flourishing during the interwar period. The manor was nationalized in 1940.

Kuršėnai Manor is the sole most valuable heritage of wooden manorial architecture in Šiauliai District. The original staircase, window frames, and wooden front doors have survived.

Currently, the Centre of Ethnic Culture and Traditional Crafts of Šiauliai District Municipality, founded in 2000, operates in the manor. The main task of the Centre is preservation, revival, and succession of local traditions, customs, and traditional crafts. Nowadays, Šiauliai regional permanent folk art expositions and ethnographic displays are organised in the manor house. Over 2,500 exhibits donated by folk artists and Kuršėnai dwellers are presented in the expositions.

An educational ceramics class can be ordered at the Centre of Crafts.

KURŠĖNAI CALENDAR MUSEUM

Ventos 11a, Kuršėnai

Kuršėnai are proud of having the Calendar Museum famous all over Lithuania. The Calendar Museum opened its doors to visitors in Kuršėnai Culture House on 21 December 1996. The opening day of the Museum coincided with the 150th anniversary of the release of the first Lithuanian calendar.

The Calendar Museum also accommodates Laurynas Ivinskis Museum covering the meaningful race and creation of the enlightened person. Meanwhile a rich collection of calendars displaying over 3,000 items is the proof of generous and noble work launched by the patriarch of original Lithuanian calendars.

The Museum has the following seven sections:

“Origin of Calendar”: the history of the rise of the Calendar Museum is introduced to visitors.

“L. Ivinskis”: Laurynas Ivinskis’ educative activities are covered extensively.

“Old Calendars”: the most valuable part of the collection narrating the history of calendars published in Lithuania after L. Ivinskis.

“L. Ivinskis Prize Laureates”: the best calendars of the year are exhibited.

“Diversity of Calendars”: occasional, wall, desk, etc. calendars.

“Entertaining Calendars”: calendars - souvenirs.

“Foreign Calendars”: calendars from other continents.

The year of 1990 represents the commencement of the L. Ivinskis Prize Award.

B.RADECKAS CERAMICS MUSEUM

Alėjos St. 9, Kuršėnai

B. Radeckas is the winner of the crown of the King of Potters. He himself has already ceased throwing pottery and now presents his ceramics. He created stoneware together with his wife.

 
 
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Photos used in this site were made by Zigmas Ripinskis
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