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:
From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.
Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.
In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.
Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.