Pakruojis manor is located in the northern part of Lithuania – in Pakruojis, famous for its dolomite mines, ancient brewery traditions, noblemen cuisine and distinctive stories. Most of the Lithuanians know manor surroundings from the legendary hikes of Tadas Blinda. Pakruojis Manor, built in the Classical style, is the largest complex of manor buildings in Lithuania to have survived to the present day, and it is listed in the Lithuanian Cultural Heritage Register and the Lithuanian Record Book as the largest protected manor homestead. Pakruojis Manor homestead ensemble differs from other Lithuanian manors in its stylistic approach. Expression of stylistic forms and harmony is typical to buildings of the economy and representational part of manor, surrounded by century – old valuable Park. Pakruojis Manor homestead is the ensemble of bright axial composition, buildings consist of four groups: central – representative, two economic and industrial.
The most impressive and largest Pakruojis Manor homestead building – the ornate two-storeyed palace, located at the center of the homestead. The Manor Palace was built in the beginning of the 19tht century. Among all Manors in Lithuania, the structure of Pakruojis Manor Palace is exceptional because of the unique use of three porticoes in Manor building: six pillars – in the centre of the main facade and two more grouped four pillars - on both sides. It would be very difficult to find an analogical architectural decision in Lithuania. The Palace architect is unknown but considering the contemporary owners of the manor, he might supposedly be an architect from Germany or Latvia, specially invited by the owners. Currently Pakruojis Manor Palace is still being renovated. There are banquet halls, terraces and balconies at the Manor. Park The landscape Manor park, the structure of which has remained to the present day, has been planted in 1850 – 1860. The dammed river Kruoja makes the natural territorial limit on the one side while the other side of the territory is fenced by stone wall. According to the contemporary scheme of the English park, the priority has been given to the natural environment and the imitation of naturalness. There are 26 species of trees in the park, including the rarest ones which have been brought from various parts of the world and planted hundreds of years ago. There is also a large lawn in front of the central Manor palace. Paths, located around the lawn, merge into one single path leading towards the northern side of the Manor homestead and having the impressive metal gates, separating the functional areas of the Manor – the southern and northern, at the end. The owner of the Manor has been proud of the gates, decorated with floral and heraldic ornaments. He has bought the gates in Riga exhibition.
The Arch Bridge
The unique Arch Bridge, built on the river Kruoja, has been reconstructed a few years ago. It decorates the ensemble of Pakruojis Manor. There are only two bridges of such style in Europe. This bridge is the only one dolomite structure of the late Classicism style in Lithuania. This is the most favourable place for romantic walks or cosy gatherings with a fishing rod.
The Miller’s house, which preserved the late Classical style features, has been built in the first half of the 19th century next to the river Kruoja in the northern part of the Manor homestead ensemble. This building differs from the other manor buildings that are located in the northern part of the ensemble for its size and non-characteristic two-slope roof form. The hotel Stadala is in the newly renovated Miller’s house.
Pakruojis Manor water mill is a unique, the only mill of the late classical architectural design and structure, that survived in Lithuania, located in the northern part of the homestead ensemble beside the river Kruoja. This water mill was built in 1823. It consists of two two-storeyed rectangular parallel blocks of different lenght, connected with the external wall. There are banquet and conference halls at the reconstructed water mill.
First windmills have been built in Lithuania in the XIV century at the Baltic coast. Windmills became more popular around Lithuania at the beginning of the XIX century. Most of them have been located at the middle of Lithuania – in counties of Panevėžys, Šiauliai, Naumiestis, Vilkaviškis.
There were about 200 windmills in Lithuania at the second half of the XIX century, about 1000 windmills – in 1921. They were built in the plains, where equal and unwhirled winds dominated. Windmills in broken locality have been built on rising hills. Trees, forest and houses couldn‘t obscure windmills.
Since ancient times Lithuanian farmers have been grinding cereals by means of quern-stones and from the X century – by manual whirling millstones. The oldest grinding equipment - quern-stones and whirling millstones required human muscle power. Quern-stones have been used in prehistoric times, only some of them survived to the present day. They are mentioned in various fables, legends and stories. Manual millstones is the main and the oldest grinding equipment, used in Etruscan civilization in 500 B.C., but in Western Europe these windmills appeared in the first centuries of our era. Monumental masons have been making millstones. There is a story about interesting custom and faith, related with millstones making. Before the sunrise, millstones making master have been crawling to the stone, out of which he intended to make millstones, and stroke it with a hammer, i.e. killed it. It is the relic of the ancient faith, when people imagined that stone is also alive.
Milling has been difficult, monotonous and routine household activity. Women and men have been milling usually early in the morning. Windmills have been trusty and irreplaceable farmers‘ friends for more than three thousand years already. According to historical sources, the first windmills originated in China. So far, there are such kind of ancient windmills in China and other Asian countries currently. Egyptians has built the first windmills, having horizontal axis, approximately in 400 B.C., while in Europe such windmills appeared one thousand years later. The first mill was built in Gaul in the year of 500, in Great Britain - in 838. They were in Germany already in the VIII-IX century. Scandinavia and Poland started to build them in the XII century. Pictures of the oldest European windmills are left from the XII century.
Grain grinding started from the XIII century. By the middle of the XIX century only feudal lords had a right to build trade mills. As a result, they received huge profits. Peasants could build mills after the abolishment of bondage in 1861. In those days, windmills became very popular in Šiauliai, Skuodas and Joniškis regions. There were 161 windmills in Lithuania in 1891. The windmills made up 54% and watermills made up 43% of all mills in Lithuania at the end of the XIX century. At the beginning of the XX century, the construction period of windmills and watermills was over. It was not worth to build mills dependent upon natural conditions any more.
There are many stories, fairies and legends about mills.
Vivid Lithuanian phraseological units about mills:
„Like a windmill“ (about talkative person);
„To go by a mill“(be silly);
„To go with turnips to a mill“ (talk bullshit);
„To the mill with beets“ (about a person talking bullshit);
„Pour water on mill“ (to support);
„Fight with windmills“ (fighting with imaginable enemies).
Lithuanian folk proverbs and sayings also distinctively describe mills:
„Once you were in a mill, you go out floury“;
„Let everybody bring his own sack to the mill“;
„It is dry like on palm on the mill hill“;
„If a mill runs, a peasant will be stodgy“;
„Wagging one‘s chin like wings of a windmill“;
„Massive millstones grind fine“.
Proverbs, associated with wide sleeves of a miller:
„Priest‘s hostess and miller‘s pig are always stodgy“;
„It‘s a good living as for the miller‘s pig“;
„Fat as a miller‘s cow“.
Miller, lifting up his hands, as if was checking whether flour, flowing into the sack, is well-milled, was getting flour into his wide sleeves in that way. As if shaking his hands, he sprinkled flour out of the sleeves. During the day he swept so much flour, so his pigs and cows have not been starving. Many happenings, superstitions, symbols are associated with windmills. For example, Sudovians believed that it would be better not to go to the mill if its wings stand like a cross. If wings are in X position, then you can go to it. Owners, having windmills by the same river, had to get on well. Otherwise, the owner, having a mill above, could have open the valves at night and flood the neighbour.
The world can be imagined as a huge mill. Mill, like the Earth, rotates around its axis. It is so symbolic, as windmills usually have four wings and they can be compared with four cardinal directions, four seasons of the year. Four winds – like four cardinal directions. Existing features of season and motion could be attributed to a windmill.
The windmill, located at the northern part of the manor ensemble and built in 1823, is clearly visible from the road Linkuva. The mill distinguishes from other buildings of the manor by vertical silhouette and it is a very important landmark at the manor homestead. Manor windmill is of a circular plan, the size is vertical and narrowing upwards. Foundations and walls are made up of boulders. Facade is decorated with dark chippings, original and local material – dolomite – reveals.
After the Second World War the windmill has been used as a silo, later – as a storehouse of cement. The apertures and internal walls have been bricked up, one floor has been demolished and a new roof has been put on. Currently, there is an exposition at the renovated windmill.
The manor ensemble has been reconstructed under the project named „The largest Lithuanian Pakruojis Manor adaptation for the needs of multifunctional public tourism“. The project has been implemented in 2013.