Birstonas city museum
Birstonas museum houses the exhibition from the oldest times till nowadays. It shows how defensively important was Birstonas, who were going to hunt to Birstonas land forests, how Birstonas got the right for resort status. The tools for treating are exhibited as well. Museum also houses temporal exhibitions.
Museum is located in old wooden house in the centre of town. Visiting is free.
Sanatorium "Tulpe" is known as the first sanatorium here in Birstonas. “Vytautas” and “Vaidilute” mineral waters are used for procedures. “Vaidilute” mineral water has bigger constentration of bromine. It is proved that water with bromine efficient in treating joint, nervous, circulatory, respiratory deseases.
Sanatorium is located just near the bank of Nemunas river.
Versme sanatorium fountain
Sanatorium “Versme” was established in 1975. Here water and mudp procedures could be made, here is also the only one salt room in Lithuania exists. Fountain is located just nearby the sanatorium. The look if it is quite Sovietic. The view of fountain, as I see, is quite popular for representing Birstonas.
Church of St. Anthony Paduvian
This Catholic church was built between 1903 – 1909. It was projected by famous neo gothic style architect Vaclovas Michnevicius.
The main altar of the church is a home of copy of famous St. Mary painting. The original one is in Gates of Dawn, in Vilnius. Church is interesting due to its stained-glass, symbolising Cristianising of Lithuania and commemoration of Lithuanian patron St. Casimierus.
Monument for partisans
Monument for partisans who fought against Soviet army soldiers was established in Jonas Basanavicius square. As Birstonas land is quite forested one, partisants had their hidden bunkers here, was fighting against Soviet politics.
Actually intensive actions of partisans was one of the reasons why immigration of Russians was in smaller number than in Latvia or Estonia.
Square of Jonas Basanavicius
It is the central square of Birstonas resort. After First World War Lithuanian Red Cross not only took care of medical ecquipments and buildings for medical purpose, but also for a whole look of town.
In year of 1939 the central square was formed with a monument for signatory of Lithuanian independence act Jonas Basanavicius. This personality is called the patriarch of Lithuanian nation.
The park, named after the name of famous Lithuanian Grand Duke, was formed in 19th century. Later, in interwar period (1928 – 1935) it was redesigned.
The main object in park probably is Grand Duke Vytautas sculpture. Duke is shown on the horse. It repeats the history – as known Vytautas was a visitor of Birstonas both for a war purposes and leisure time hunting.
Mound of Vytautas
This mound is one of the highest and widest in Lithuania. Here in 14th century wooden castle stood. Later it was used as a home to Lithuanian Dukes who visited Birstonas region for hunting purposes. The castle finally lost importance in 17th century, nowadays here is just a high hill, where you could see beautiful panorama of Birstonas and Nemunas river wings.
Museum of sacral art
The museum was established in year of 2000 in old parsonage nearby church of St. Anthony Paduvian. Museum represents the items used for religical purposes. Exhibition also presents life of the cardinal Vincentas Sladkevicius and martyt archibishop Teofilius Matulionis.
That time, in September 2010, it was also available to see funny caricaturas representing main sins of human (according to tertimony).
Entrance to museum is for free.
Fountain in the park and other sculptures
Birstonas boasts a number of interesting sculptures, the earliest of which is the bust of Jonas Basanavicius, a Lithuanian patriarch, in the square named after him. It was erected in 1939 and remained there throughout the Soviet period.
Not far from the church is the lovely statue of Martynas Mazvydas, a 16th century Lithuanian author, sculpted by V. Zuklys (again no first name) in 1979.
There are some more sculptures scattered all over the town but the one I liked best is the charming bronze statue of Versme (Spring), which can give you a good spring shower if you come close to it.:) The house behind it, which you can see in the fourth picture, is built over a spring of mineral water and, inside, has lions' heads as spouts. Unfortunately, there was no water coming from them. Another spring that has dried up?
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The Hill of Songs
The Hill of Songs is a collection of sculptures carved in wood illustrating Lithuanian folk songs. They were all created during the Symposium of the Baltic States held in Birstonas in 1998. Their authors are Lithuanian, Latvian and Polish artists. To understand the sculptures, you should first realize that for the Lithuanians a folk song is a form of meditation and a symbol of their motherland. The sculptures represent ordinary people at work: a shepherd, men sowing or flailing, or women sheaving. The musicians are playing traditional Lithuanian instruments like the kankles, the drums, the accordion or the violin. There is also a carving of Neptune, the King of Songs and an angel with a trumpet announcing good news.
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Vytautas the Great's Statue and Hill
As you walk along the Neman embankment, you will see a statue of a knight on a horse done in pink granite. This is a monument to Vytautas the Great, the 14th/15th century Grand Duke of Lithuania. According to Birstonas Tourism Information Centre website, the statue was sculpted in 1998 by G. Jokubonis (Is his/her first name a secret, I wonder?). It also says that "the sculptor embodied ideas expressed by a majority of Birstonas' residents - to bring Vytautas and his horse back to their hunting-ground". And a little further on - in the sculpture "Vytautas' figure blends into a horse figure, this way the sculptor emphasizes Vytautas's abilities to fight and desire to act". Well, to me it is just a good statue, looking rather imposing if you look at it standing at the foot of the hill. And I especially like the horse's twist of the head, really well done.
Not far from the statue you can see quite a number of steps leading up Vytautas' Hill aka the Mound of Birstonas, which is 30 m high and, in the 14th century, used to have a wooden castle at the top. If you climb the steps, you might get a great view of the Neman but it was too hot for us on that day to check it out for ourselves.
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Vytautas' Park occupies the old area of the resort and was landscaped in the 19th century. Its alleys all had their own names, like Birute's, Love, Dream, Birch or Conker Alleys. Their intersections were decorated with flower gardens. One of them named 'Calendar' had its flowers re-planted every day so as to form today's date. Park visitors could enjoy music played by an orchestra in a specially built pavillion. The present park is no longer so elaborate, but some of the alleys are still there and efforts are being made to create new flower gardens. The toy mill which used to function as a fountain (and is described as such by one of the Lithuanian VT-ers) used to be surrounded by a pond, which has now been changed into flower beds. I couldn't help wondering if the spring there might have perhaps dried up.
The old villas have been demolished too, but the park is still a lovely place to walk in on a hot summer day, its tall trees casting so much welcome shade.
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- Hiking and Walking
The mud treatment centre
This house with the symbol of the Red Cross above its entrance is one of the most important buildings of Birstonas. Built in 1927 by the Red Cross, it became the first mud treatment centre in Lithuania. The peat for the healing mud was brought from Velniabludis peatbog. 'Tulpe' sanatorium, as it is called. still serves the same purpose nowadays. Next to the old buildings a new water treatment site was built in 2007.
The building had the olde worlde look so I took a picture of it, not even knowing what it was.
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There are two pump-rooms in Birstonas and their website says you can drink water from them for free. But we had no such luck. This pump-room was simply locked with no excuses or explanations offered. There was no information on the opening hours either, not even in Lithuanian. Anyway, this particular spring was discovered in 1879 by the owner of the resort I. Kvinta and named Viktorija after his daughter. Later, the name was changed to Vytautas, as if there were not enough things named after him there already. The site was marked with a whale-shaped sculpture with water jetting from its jaws. It was the symbol of Birstonas until it disappeared under the water of the Neman after the construction of Kaunas hydroelectrical power plant.
The pump-room is a charming little building, if a little neglected and looks very pretty amidst the park greenery.
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