Water in the surroundings of castles and manors is also one of the most important aesthetic accents. The magnificent image of the manors is often supplemented by water bodies of the natural landscape, while local and foreign landscape specialists and park designers hired by the landowners and nobles could not do without artificial water bodies and fountains when planning the manor’s surroundings.
The manors surrounded by lakes
Bikuškis Manor is located on a picturesque shore of Alaušas lake, where the steep slopes of the western shore descend into clear waters. The legend has it that the lake was named in honour of Duke Alaušas. His castle was located on the eastern shore, and the duke loved the lake so much that after his death he asked to scatter his ashes into the waters of the lake.
The waters of the lakes especially emphasise and highlight the elegant and light whiteness of the Užutrakis Manor house. For the family of the count and the landowner it used to be the usual way to come to the manor: by rafting across the waters between Galvė and Skaistis lakes. A ferryman lived in a specially built small house in that place. The land route by which the visitors come to the manor today used to have a rather domestic purpose and was even called the “potato road”.
The waters of the botanical gardens
The Botanical Garden of Vytautas Magnus University with a well-groomed pond system is located in the vicinity of the Aukštoji Freda Manor. Water bodies fill the landscape of the manor with life. The landscape park of Aukštoji Freda Manor, formed in the 19th century, also contains exceptional water bodies in Europe – they have been shaped as the initials of the founder and manor owner Józef Godlewski: G and J.
The park of the old Kairėnai Manor, which passed from owners to owners, with its complex pond system, has survived to this day. Today, the Botanical Garden of Vilnius University operates in the territory of the manor. In total, there are several dozen ponds in the park with a huge variety of plants and birds breeding, while the fish living in them keep the waters clear. There is an island in one of the ponds in Kairėnai Park, which can be reached by a wooden bridge, it has a gazebo. Water bodies maintained by the springs and connected by channels are a part of the cosy and lively landscape of Kairėnai Park.
Fountains in the surroundings of the manors
The park of Kretinga Manor was filled with the sounds of rippling water in the 19th century, in 1875–1880, when five fountains were installed here by the initiative of the then owner, Count Józef Tyszkiewicz. At that time, the park was formed in a French manner and had a geometrical plan. Arched lime tree alleys divided the space of the park into four rectangles, with a fountain under the sculptures in the middle.
The central fountain was in the middle of the flower beds, from which the paths led to the other four fountains on the outskirts. Over time, the fountains were abandoned and destroyed, but in 2004, the specialists from the Kretinga Manor Museum started the restoration of the fountains. The research determined the exact locations of the fountains, collected data on their installation features, materials used, and more. In 2007-2009, the central fountain of the manor park and in 2016 a sculpture of an antique woman with a water umbrella in its centre were restored.
The fountain in the vicinity of Plungė Manor, the palace of Duke Michał Ogiński, is an exceptional accent, emphasising the grandeur of the central building, contributing to the luxurious and harmonious aesthetics of the manor’s surroundings. The fountain in the middle of the pond in front of the palace, with the sculptures of Aphrodite and three cupids, had adorned the manor’s surroundings since ancient times but was destroyed during World War I. Today, the restored fountain and its sculptures can be admired by the visitors.
The reflections of old manor buildings on the water
The buildings of Aštrioji Kirsna Manor are reflected in the waters of the surrounding water bodies. The name Kirsna itself is a word of Jotvingian origin meaning black river. The pond system of this manor is mentioned in the inventory of the 18th century.
The brewery building of Pienioniai Manor is also reflected on the surface of the pond. The building, that had different purposes at different times, is a long-standing witness of the times passed. In addition to the brewery, the barn, the smokehouses and the observation tower buildings have survived in the Pienioniai Manor, and the lion sculptures can still be seen from the columns of the entrance gate.
The stone buildings of Saldutiškis Manor, located very close to the main palace building, are reflected in ponds surrounded by trees from the old park. There are five ponds in the park of the whole manor, some connecting to each other, some of them have islands.
The ponds of Liubavas Manor were described in written sources of the 16th century in the treasury book of the manor of the Lithuanian Duke Sigismund Augustus. Even then, they were being fixed and reconstructed. Today, the waters of the old ponds reflect the restored Baroque buildings of Liubavas Manor of the 18th century. Long-lived lime trees are standing on the shore of one of the ponds with a remaining islet in the middle. You can imagine the swans peacefully swimming around – these birds were really loved by the owners of the romantic Liubavas Manor.The old local maps even show a separate building of Liubavas Manor along the pond – a swan house.
The sounds of water around the water mill of the manor
The waters of Žalesa river, which have long been dammed for the needs of the Liubavas Manor mill, can be heard near the oficina and orangery buildings of the Liubavas Manor. The pond is separated from the mill building by an old stone-paved road, on the other side, its waters fall down on both sides of the century-old stone mill, flow around the inner courtyard island and rejoin the river.
Lithuanian castles and manors invite you to admire the blue of the surrounding waters, walk along the shores of park ponds, listen to the roar of fountains and streams, discover the harmony of landscape and architecture, natural and cultural heritage.