The most famous manors of central and northern Lithuania
Aukštaitija is the largest and most diverse ethnographic region. There‘s not enough time to explore it completely. It is so different, so diverse that when you get out of the way and stop by hospitable highlanders, you can take your time there.
We will start our trip around Aukštaitija from the Kleboniškis Household Museum. Let’s dive into the past by walking around the street village of Kleboniškis – a museum. This open-air museum was moved from the area of typical 19th – 20th village buildings. The village is decorated with the 19th Kleboniškės windmill, one of the two operating in Šiauliai region.
After walking around the authentic village, you also want to see something more. We rush to the nearby Burbiškis manor. It became most famous due to the Tulip Flowering Festival held here. Over 400 different shapes and species of tulips bloom here every year! You can also take a walk in the manor park, in the central part of which there is a pond with 15 islands, 11 bridges. At the beginning of the 19th century, Burbiškis manor and its park were already widely known and visited. Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė, Jonas Basanavičius, Petras Vileišis and others visited here. The guests of the manor especially enjoyed boating in the ponds, long walks in the park. Poetry reading evenings and chamber concerts were held regularly in Burbiškis manor.
We are traveling to Pakruojis, where the oldest wooden synagogue in Lithuania, which dating back to the second century, stands! A few years ago, this cultural heritage site was restored and saved from extinction. When we enter the building, we see rich colors of the walls, painting of the ceiling. No one leave indifferent. The restorers restored the lush blue wallpaper themselves, as the digitally extracted color offered by the printers did not match. The masters in the hall had made an improvised wallpaper workshop themselves just to restore the walls as accurately as possible. So according to the surviving interior photos, the polychrome paintings on the walls and ceiling have been carefully restored. The abundance of paintings stands out in the synagogue. It is rare in any synagogue to paint so much.
After admiring the Pakruojis synagogue, we go to the nearby Pakruojis manor. When you come here, the days may be not enough, because there is really something to see, because it is the largest surviving complex of 26 manor buildings (ensemble) in Lithuania. Even in the territory of the manor occupying an area of 48.2 ha, there are 43 buildings, surrounded by 1840 a brick fence and a more than 150-year-old park with about 26 species of trees. And the manor bridge is a dolomite arch bridge-dam, a rare example of Roman aqueducts found in Europe. Pakruojis manor is also loved by filmmakers – filmed here in 1972. a cult film about the world equalizer Tadas Blinda. Today there is no shortage of action in the manor – various educations, tastings and events take place. The latest discovery of the manor for visitors is the restored and the only such a cabinet in Lithuania – panopticon. This is a collection of strange, rare, exotic artifacts accumulated by the doctor and barons of the manor, each exhibit has its own history… In short, in Pakruojis manor you can feel like a real landowner and experience a real manor taste of life!