Long ago the parks of the Lithuanian manors were only open to sirs, counts and other nobles, but today they greet each and every one wishing to escape the city bustle and listen to rich stories. The oldest parks of Lithuanian manors were established in XVII century and some are taken care of until today and preserved just fine.
The culture of the manor parks has enriched the landscape and diversity of flora of Lithuania. Masters of this craft were invited from abroad to Lithuania to form the parks and plants that have been seen before were brought here as well. The gentry, wanting to show off to each other, spared no expense for the primping and decorating of their parks.
There are about a thousand historical green spaces left in Lithuania. Many of them belonged to the gentry. There aren’t many structures of the green spaces reminding of renaissance and baroque left; however the heritage, which fascinates the eyes of the tourists and holidaymakers none the less, of later periods, is abundant.
One of the oldest and best preserved manor parks can be found in the district of Lazdijai, on the peninsula of Ančia lake. In the middle of the XVIII century, the hetman governing the township of Veisiejai, Mykolas Masalskis, began planting the park. Later on the park was passed on to the Oginskiai and gained a similar form of what we see today. The park has a pond where fish were once grown for the kitchen of the gentry of the manor. A channel connects the pond to the lake of Ančia and there is a little bridge over it that goes by the name of Love. It is said that when walking over the bridge you need to make a love wish and it will definitely come true. There are over 2000 of different types of trees growing in the park, the oldest of them being an ash tree of almost 200 years of age. This particular tree is the widest representative of its type in Lithuania. Try embracing the mighty one and receive some centuries-old wisdom and then admire the alley of limes planted in a circle. Remember that once these trees were admired by the counts and nobles. Romantic, isn’t it?
Counts Tiškevičiai left a significant trace in the culture of the manor parks of Lithuania. Until this day the visitors enjoy their well-preserved manors, gardens and parks. One of the mostly visited is the Barlbieriškis manor park in the district of Prienai. It is a handmade masterpiece of man and nature taking up an enormous area of 10 hectares. The English style park was formed in the beginning of XIX century. Perekšlės river curves around the park and it is also decorated with centenarian trees. The alley of American lime trees, which was formed by the gardener of counts Tiškevičiai is very well preserved, as well as the Tatar and Ginnala maple trees and European larch tree. There is not much left of the buildings of the manor, which were built in the XVI century, only ruins of farm-hand building and stables where the Balbieriškis culture house is now settled.
One of the largest well-preserved manor parks in Lithuania is the Dubrava arboretum. Mostly arborescent plants are grown at the botanical garden in the district of Kaunas; therefore it is called the arboretum and is the only one in our country. It covers a territory of 50 hectares. Brace yourself for a good walk! There are 800 of common and rare plants of Lithuania growing in the park. Some of them can only be found at the arboretum. Across the park there is a recreational path of Dubrava minor reservation. Following the path you’ll reach the unique object of Lithuania’s nature – an upland moor, which fascinates with its individual flora and fauna, and birds that could rarely be observed somewhere else.
The Vainežeris manor, located in the district of Lazdijai, is also of unique beauty. The park is set next to a picturesque lake, and deciduous trees make up most of the vegetation. In summer, the tourists are delighted by the vivid greenness of the park, in winter – a frozen lake and snow covered tree-tops, and in autumn the view of the red and yellow deciduous trees just takes your breath away. The park is also unique in its residents. During night-time you can see bats, in the hollows of the old trees many species of birds found home and in the lawns of the park, in the specially built clay houses, you can hear the buzzing bees working.
While travelling through the parks of Lithuania, take interest not only in their fauna and flora, but in their rich history as well. Then you’ll easily feel the special atmosphere that lingered here a few hundreds of years ago.
You will find the manor parks of Lithuania to be visited and their historical sights at www.lietuvosgamta.lt website. The beauty of the parks, during various seasons, is revealed in many photographs and video clips, and an audio guide will tell you the story of the parks. And when you have chosen the park that is most interesting to you, you’ll find its coordinates and location on the map.