The Kretinga Museum (Kretingos muziejus) is located to the Kretinga Manor. Originally a private estate, it was converted to a museum in 1992, and now contains a number of archeological finds, fine and applied art collections, folk art, and ethnographic exhibits, as well as a restored orangery. Nearby is a sculpture garden featuring a reconstruction of a Lithuanian solar calendar.
The manor's location had always provided shelter from maritime winds in the area. Its modern history is said to have begun when the bishop of Vilnius, Ignacy Jakub Massalski, planted fruit trees there in the late 18th century. In 1874 the land was purchased in an auction by Count Tyszkiewicz. In the course of creating a family manor, he converted the existing residence into a palace, built the orangery, now known as the Winter Garden, and re-landscaped the grounds. The landscaping included cascading ponds, a waterfall, arbors, fountains, sculptures, and parterres.
The idea of turning the manor into a museum is credited to Juozas Žilvitis (1903–1975); the Kretinga Museum Committee was established in 1935. The garden was completely destroyed during World War II. In 1940 the museum became a branch of the Kaunas State Museum (now the Vytautas the Great War Museum). In 1987 the greenhouse was rebuilt; since 1998 the Kretinga Estate Park Friends Club has been a co-sponsor.
The exhibits portraying the life of the Tyszkiewicz family occupy seven halls, and contain family portraits, furniture, photographs, household objects, and paintings. The folk art exhibits contain textile art and works of kryždirbiai, the traditional Lithuanian art of fashioning crosses. Household articles include tools and furniture used during various eras.
Recent exhibitions have featured jewelry, ceramics, printed matter of historic interest, and folk costumes. The gardens and the orangery, which contains a cafe, are frequently updated. The museum sponsors concerts, scientific and research projects, holiday specials, a 'Tree Feast', and folk dance presentations.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.