Palaces, manors and town halls in Lithuania

Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania was built originally in the 15th century for the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Royal Palace in the Lower Castle evolved over the years and prospered during the 16th and mid-17th centuries. For four centuries the palace was the political, administrative and cultural center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Soon after the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was incorporated into ...
Founded: 19th century | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius Town Hall

The town hall in Vilnius was mentioned for the first time in 1432. Initially it was a Gothic style building, and has since been reconstructed many times. The current Vilnius Town Hall was rebuilt in neoclassical style according to the design by Laurynas Gucevičius in 1799. It has remained unchanged since then. Its Gothic cellars have been preserved and may be visited. Nowadays it is used for representational purposes ...
Founded: 1799 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace (Prezidentūra) is the official office and eventual official residence of the President of Lithuania. The palace dates back to the 14th century and during its history it has undergone various reconstructions, supervised by prominent architects, including Laurynas Gucevičius and Vasily Stasov. In 1997 the palace became the official seat of the President of Lithuania. The Palace traces its ...
Founded: 1750 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Kaunas Town Hall

The construction of Kaunas town hall started in 1542. At first it was a one-storey building with not daubed facade and vaulting cellars. In the 16th century the first floor was build and the eight storey tower was built in the east of the building. The ground floor was adjusted for trading and prison guards, the first floor - for trial, magistrate, treasure, archive and office. Cellars were used to store the goods. The ce ...
Founded: 1542 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

House of Perkunas

House of Perkūnas is one of the most original and archaic Gothic secular buildings, located in the Old Town of Kaunas, Lithuania. Originally built by Hanseatic merchants and served as their office from 1440 till 1532, it was sold in the 16th century to the Jesuits who had established a chapel there in 1643. The Jesuits have also completed the Church of St. Francis Xavier at the Town Hall Square in 1722. The ruined h ...
Founded: 1440 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Verkiai Palace

Until the end of 14th century Verkiai was a property of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. There was a wooden manor even in 13th century. In 1387 Lithuanian Grand Duke Jogaila, on occasion of accepting Christianity, donated this place to Vilnius' Episcopate. Verkiai served as the permanent summer residence of Vilnius bishops until the end of 18th century. Verkiai Palace became widely known after bishop Ignacy Jakub Massalski ...
Founded: 1840s | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Radziwill Palace

Radziwiłł Palace is a Late Renaissance palace in the Old Town of Vilnius. It had been the second palace of Radziwiłłs by importance in Vilnius and the largest one. It is likely that Mikołaj 'the Black' Radziwiłł"s wooden Vilnius mansion was on the same site, but the current building was constructed by the order of Janusz Radziwiłł from 1635 until 1653, according to the design by Jan Ullrich. The building fell in ...
Founded: 1635-1653 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Plunge Manor

Plungė estate was first mentioned in 1565. The current palace was built by Oginskiai family in 1879. There is a 58 hectare park, established in the 17th century, surrounding the manor.
Founded: 1879 | Location: Plungė, Lithuania

Slushko Palace

Slushko Palace was erected in 1690–1700 by voivode of Polock Dominik Słuszko of the Clan of Ostoja, who ordered creating an artificial peninsula on Neris for the purpose of building the palace there. The peninsula was formed from the soil of the leveled down hill separating Antakalnis from the Vilnius Castles. Initially the façades of the palace were unified by a giant order of Ionic pilasters framing hu ...
Founded: 1690–1700 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Sapieha Palace

Sapieha Palace is a High Baroque palace in Vilnius and the only surviving of several palaces formerly belonging to the Sapieha family in the city. The palace, ordered by the Great Hetman of Lithuania Jan Kazimierz Sapieha the Younger was built in Baroque style in 1691-1697 in the place of former wooden mansion of Lew Sapieha (who died here in 1633). The palace was designed by Giovanni Pietro Pertiand decorated with fresco ...
Founded: 1691-1697 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Taurage Castle

The most significant architectural site in Tauragė is the Tauragė castle ensemble built for customs needs in the 19th century. The estate"s houses on the bank of the Jūra River are surrounded by a large scenic park. The entire ensemble of the castle features a “romantic” character of a Renaissance castle conveyed to it by its builders. Presently, the castle houses Tauragė History Museu ...
Founded: 1844-1847 | Location: Tauragė, Lithuania

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.

The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.

Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.

The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.

Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.

The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.

During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.

In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.