History of the Manor | Pakruojo dvaras

History of the Manor

Pakruojis Manor has been first mentioned in written sources in 1531. The establisher and the first owner of the manor was the steward of Rietavas M. Vakavicius. Later, the manor was ruled by V. Martinavicius, A. Koleckis, S. Juskevicius, the noblemen Zabielos, the Munsters. When Wilhelm von der Ropp married the countess Alexandra Munster in 1786, the manor as a dowry became the property of von der Ropp family. 

Pakruojis Manor has been owned and ruled by several Ropp generations: Theodor (1783-1852), Hermann (1810-1890), Leon (1860-1940), Julius (1910-1944).


The first manor buildings were wooden. Masonry ensemble of the manor palace was built in 1817-1840 from local building materials. Manor was developed until 1890. Wilhelm von der Ropp started the construction of the manor, later premises have been designed and constructed by T. von der Ropp. Large manor park of the English style has been planted in 1835 – 1840.


The main accent of the ensemble – an ornate two-storeyed palace with a portico and dorenian columns, pilasters, capitels, archs and vases at the balcony corners. Roofs were tiled, premises had furnace and fireplace heating. There were lots of art treasures at the manor. The fine art collection of painting, graphics and sculpture was exceptionally interesting and rare. The initiator of this collection was Theodor von der Ropp, who travelled across France, Italy, Spain and brought back many works of art of the Italian, Dutch, French artists. The collection expanded constantly, has been traded and travelled around Ropp manors in Lithuania and Latvia. There are only several works known that have been sold and came to public collections in Germany and Italy. After the nationalization in 1940, 19 paintings of the collection entered M. K. Čiurlionis National museum of art, 1 painting and 2 sculptures – Šiauliai „Aušros“ museum.


There were small warehouse, stables and ice-cellar by the manor palace. The western complex consisted of brewery, dairy and piggery premises, eastern – a barn and residential blocks, southern – two garners. Manor outbuildings were located behind the pond. There were smithy, inn and windmill, separated from the central manor palace by a large park, as well as the Arch bridge, that has become the symbol of Pakruojis, dam of the river Kruoja and water mill, built of stone and dolomite.


Manor owners managed about 6500 dessiatines of land. The commodity economy, which gave a lot of income, has been developing  ever since the time of Baron Wilhelm von der Ropp. Manor pharmacy was established in 1866, which served 3956 residents. There was also a hospital having twelve beds. The exemplary credit association was managed by Baron L. von der Ropp in 1897 in Pakruojis. There were also a manor brewery and steam mill in 1909. After the First World War Pakruojis estate was the exemplary economy, known for its industrial cattle breeding.


After the land reform in 1922, Ropp‘s economy has decreased: they had the centre of the estate and 300 ha of land. The estate had land reclamation. Animal husbandry, as well as gardening and beekeeping has been developing further. Julius von der Ropp inherited the estate under a will in 1940. The German repatriation headquarters had been founded at the estate. In 1944 J. von der Ropp together with war refugees departed to the West and, supposedly, was killed, because nothing is known about his destiny.  


After the war, the Soviet economy was founded in Pakruojis estate. The manor palace was renovated in 1959.  There was an agricultural technical school until 1979, later- an agricultural personnel training school.

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