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Kaunas Town Hall | by A.Davey
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Kaunas Town Hall

Kaunas, Lithuania.



Every city, which has been counting on its history for centuries, is proud of its most important building - the Town Hall, the main municipal authority.


Market Square


In Western Europe, self-government was formed in the 12th century, when some of the townspeople were relieved of feudal dependence. Cities were given Kulm, Magdeburg rights and other privileges, including the right to elect a magistrate. Located in the Town Hall, he handled organizational and defensive city affairs, solved civil cases. In the square next to the town hall, there were usually markets and fairs where decisions made by the municipality or the magistrate were published.


Buildings in Lithuania, mostly two-storey buildings with a tower, were started in the 14th century. at the end of 2007, when cities acquired the rights of self-government (mainly Magdeburg). Town halls were mostly in the middle of the market square. The first floor was usually for commercial purposes. Specially equipped rooms were equipped with examples of length, mass measurements and swaths. On the second floor there were office, city councils, courtrooms and, most importantly, a meeting room for meetings.


The Town Hall Tower was a striking accent of the city, often with a clock, a metal weatherstorm. There was an archive inside the tower and a prison in the basement.


A total of about 180 town halls were built in Lithuania. When Lithuania joined Russia, the self-government of smaller towns was abolished. Since the 18th century By the end of the 19th century, the new town halls were no longer built, most of the old ones fell or were demolished, some converted into churches.


Currently there are three town halls in Lithuania - Vilnius, Kaunas and Kedainiai.


First in Lithuania


The first town hall in Lithuania was built in Vilnius. Grand Duke of Lithuania and King Jogail of Poland in 1387 The privilege granted in Merkinė gave the city of Vilnius the rights of Magdeburg. Grand Duke Sigismund Kestutis expanded the rights of the townspeople in 1432. privilege.


According to historians, the first building of the City Hall in Vilnius came into being after the Magdeburg rights and the formation of the self-government of the townspeople. The oldest town hall (mentioned in 1432) stood where and now. It was equipped with meeting rooms, courtrooms, a merchant community room, a city treasury, a office, an archive, room facilities, grain storage, a gun store, and a cellar prison. There was a pillar at the town hall, called a "pilot", to which criminals were beaten and executed.


Over time, the Town Hall of Vilnius has been rebuilt and reconstructed several times. 1545 The town hall was depicted as a gothic two-story building with a tower. 1662 In the tower of the building, a city clock was built - he knocked out the time for the town's inhabitants by hitting for hours. The orchestra tightened on the tower balcony on Sundays and celebrations.


1749 the town hall was seriously damaged by the fire in the city. It was commissioned by architect John Christopher Glaubic to restore it. 1769 the works were finished, but ten years later, the tower of the Town Hall started to warp due to weak foundations. It was repaired by Laurynas Stuoka-Gucevičius. Unfortunately, the tower collapsed and damaged part of the town hall building.


The City Master's Office has long been challenged for the rebuilding of the Town Hall. It was entrusted to L. Stuoka-Gucevičius, who offered a more modest and easy-to-implement project.


The town hall's reconstruction work was created in 1785, and was completed almost a year after the architect's death in 1799. The first floor of the building was equipped with facilities for storing measuring devices, guard and clerical rooms, and from there it was possible to enter the warehouse and prison. On the second floor there is a representative hall, court and merchant rooms, treasures and a large hall.


1808 According to Russian Tsar Alexander I, Vilnius Magistrate was disbanded and the building was handed over to the Little Theater. 1845 there was a permanent city theater. By adapting the building to the theater, a large part of the town hall interior was destroyed. The theater operated here until 1922. Later, the palace stood idle and began to disappear.


1936 The repair of Vilnius Town Hall was started according to the project of architect Stefan Narembski. An attempt was made to bring the building back as far as possible to the old look of the palace. It was intended to be adapted to the needs of the city. But the Second World War began to hamper the plans.


After the war, from 1944 to 1995, the Lithuanian Art Museum operated in the Town Hall.


Since 1995 The Lithuanian House of Artists carried out its activities in the Town Hall, moved from the present building of the Presidential Palace in S. Daukantas Square. Representative Cabinet of the Mayor of Vilnius (Mayor's Art) was renovated, interior of the building was arranged.


Representative and protocol events of the city are organized in Vilnius Town Hall.


Students raged


In the Old Town of Kaunas, close to the confluence of the Nemunas and the Neris, a town hall facing the east and marked with a tower of 53 m, also called the White Swan, was first mentioned in 1493. Hanseatic documents. It is believed that at that time it was a one-storey, no tower and vaulted cellars.


In the second 16th c. In the second half of the 19th century, Vilnius master Benedict Choinovsky created a new town hall - a second floor was built and an eight-storey tower was introduced. Premises on the ground floor are designed for trade and prison guards, the second - magistrate, court, office, treasury, archive, tower cellars - prison, other cellars - for storing goods.


1771-1780 According to the project of architect Jonas Matekeris, the town hall was reconstructed again: the building was upgraded, new cornices were absorbed, the tower was rebuilt, the interior was re-planned.


1824 The Orthodox Church was established in the former Town Hall and later the Artillery Warehouse. 1836 The third reconstruction of the building took place. The architect Karolis Podčašinskis built a temporary residence of the Russian Tsar in it. Then the building next to Gothic and Baroque acquired classicism.


1850 a fire station was installed in the tower, later in the building there was a theater, 1869-1944. - Kaunas City Municipality, Kaunas branch of the Central State Archive after World War II, 1951-1960. - Faculty of Civil Engineering of Kaunas Polytechnic Institute.


In 1965, when the students of the Kaunas Polytechnic Institute left the much damaged building, the Town Hall was left without a host for the first time.


1969 The building was renovated according to the project of architect Žibartas Simanavičius. At the end of the work, the idea arose on the tower to open the old weather tower, which had to be restored according to authentic 1883. drawings. The iron master was defeated by the master of that time Jacob Yuchnevich. When the new weathered weathered, the Polish inscription was changed to Lithuanian: "The tower was renovated by the city in 1774."


1974 the first and second floor rooms were adapted for the Palace of Marriage and the cellars of the building for the Ceramics Museum. The building was then painted with Yugoslavian synthetic 'non-breathing' paints, which in the long run significantly damaged the condition of the exterior walls - the plaster began to moisturize, fluff, and crack. 2005 The town hall had to be restored again.


Currently, the town hall is not only married but also honored guests of the city, contracts are signed, official events are held.


Hosted by foreigners


One of the most visited tourist and art lovers buildings in Kėdainiai is a two-storey brick renaissance-style town hall overlooking the Grand Market Square.


Magdeburg rights were received in Kedainiai in 1590. It is believed that the first town hall was built in the Old Market - until the 16th century. By the end of the 19th century it was the city's main marketplace. 1991 a square of Gothic masonry was discovered here. The stone house on it burnt down in 1598. fire.


Historical documents show that Kėdainiai Town Hall was built between 1652 and 1654. northwest of the Great Market Square, in the place of two brick houses standing here. When building the town hall, both houses were reconstructed from the ground. The reconstructed building gained L form and Renaissance style. A stone tower with a clock, two bells and a long mast to raise the flag of the city rose above the town hall.


The premises of the first town hall were designed for the storage of standard measures of length and volume and for the storage of scales. There are also shops that were rented for 20 gold per annum by wealthy Scots. One of the first pharmacies in Lithuania settled in one of the town hall premises. The room was rented by Scott Tennessee. On the second floor of the Town Hall there were the institutions of Senieji Kėdainiai and Jonušava: the court, office, vaito and burmistro rooms, archive. One room was dedicated to keeping the city treasury, and the other was for merchants and craftsmen. The town hall was equipped with a prison and a prison room. Although the townspeople did not like the hangman, he was very much needed for the city. The magistrate had even borrowed it for the capital Vilnius, where he was paid 30 auxins for cutting off the thief's head.


Magistrate participants spoke Polish at meetings held in the Town Hall, while major documents were written in Latin. Immigrants to Scots and Germans were allowed to apply to their Master in their mother tongue. As a result, Lithuanians were dissatisfied and city owners often complained that magistrate officials ignored them. However, the owners of the city provided special care to foreigners, as these were materially superior to most of the local Kėdainiai people.


The bell bells of both town hall tower proclaimed the beginning and end of magistrate sessions, invited merchant brotherhood and craftsmen members to meetings, military exercises and parades. The flag flowing above the town hall was not only a symbol of the city's honor, but also had a practical purpose - when it was launched on the market, it was announced as the beginning of the market, and when it fell down, it ended. In addition, after flagging, merchants were only allowed to trade at retail, and when they were lowered, they were allowed to trade in bulk.


Before the start of 1655 In the war with Moscow and Sweden, the tower clock was given to the Tilze watchmaker, but at the end of the war, the townspeople complained that they had not yet recovered the most important details of the watch. 1666 Kėdainiai clock was returned, but without some parts and was severely damaged. He repaired the city tower with two bells and served it until 1770. In that year, the town hall burned down, and only one 180 kg clock bell was saved from the burnt building.


After the fire seven years later, Colonel Mykolas Radziševskis, the Commissar General of the city owner Karolis Stanislovas Radvila, wrote that the beautiful stone town hall in Kėdainiai was devastated and dripped. It was repaired only ten years later.


1795 When Tsarist Russia occupied Lithuania, self-government was abolished in Kėdainiai, as in other Lithuanian cities. It was at the request of the townspeople in 1805-1817. The former owner of the city, Dominykas Jeronimas Radvila, was restored, but the purpose of the town hall building was different: the first floor of the building was equipped with warehouses, and the second with apartments. From 1835 In the Town Hall building there was a noble school.

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Taken on September 13, 2017