Marijon Printing House and Library

Marijonai press and library was built in 1927 and was working till 1940. It had a huge impact in the Lithuanian press evolution. The printing house released 360 publications and had 6 periodic publications (from 1918 to 1940). The library had more than 50 000 volumes (at that time it was the third biggest library in Lithuania). Also, there was a bindery and periodic publications redactions together with printing house. The building was very spacious and modern, with many separated rooms for administration, printing work and even for short breaks. J. Matulaitis was planning to save everything that was written in the Lithuanian language as well as articles about Lithuania from other countries. The printing house of Marijampolės Marijonai and all the publications are the most important and oldest Lithuania heritage. What is more, the printing house had huge impact at interwar time. Without Lithuanian fonts they also had Greek, Hebraic and Russian fonts. The library was closed in 1940, after Soviet Union occupied Lithuania. Now the printing house have Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis pilgrims center, a library which has rare printed fonts. The building was renovated a couple of years ago.

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Marijonai Gymnasium

The school in monastery building was opened in 1921. Later, the building was made with three floors and was dedicated for boys' gymnasium and dormitory. The school accepted boys from twelve years old. The school employees’ focus was to accept boys from poor families, in that way many parents could save some money by not paying for their children’s education. The main purpose of the gymnasium was to prepare boys for higher education in the future and acquire new candidates for their congregation. This classical gymnasium was formatting the strong knowledge steps. Despite huge attention to language they also focused on philosophy, physics, math, biology, history, church, drawing and physical education. They also had many different school clubs like literature, society, abstinent, sports and drama. Marijonai gymnasium released many doctors, engineers, lawyers and other specialist at interwar time. Gymnasium was closed in 1940. The school was revived in 1997, after Lithuania became an independent country. Later, in 2008 the school was named as a gymnasium.

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Marian Monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Imm aculate Conception in Marijampolė
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Marian Monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Imm aculate Conception in Marijampolė

The name of the city of Marijampolė has its origins in the Marian monks – it is the city of Marians, city of Maria. The first monks who settled in our city were Adalbertas Strachas and Hiacintas Vasiliauskas. The primary goals of the Marians back then were helping bishops in their parishes, praying for the dying ones and developing educational activities. Immediately after settling, the monks founded a primary school, they also helped the neighbouring bishops in carrying out missions and recollections.  After the 1863 uprising, the Tsarist government of Russia condemned the Marian monastery to extinction. Many monasteries were destroyed, and the Marians were left with only one monastery – that of Marijampolė, but only until the last Marian monk passed away. No new novices were allowed.  In 1909, in the city of Warsaw, bishop Jurgis Matulaitis secretly gave the Marian vows in witness of the last Marian monk alive, bishop Vincentas Senkus. Before long, more Marian candidates emerged.  After Lithuania regained independence in 1918, Marijampolė became the centre of the Marian monkhood. In the Interwar period, more than one hundred monks lived and worked here. In 1922, the monastery gained its current look after construction of a gallery connecting the second floor with the churchyard. One year later the Marian Gymnasium was built. This place was the home to one of the largest libraries in the country, which had around 50,000 books. The Marians had a publishing and printing house, wood workshop, orangery and great garden.  The first and second Soviet occupations ceased the Marian work. The Soviet government of Lithuania closed all monasteries and expropriated their property. The Marian monks had to live and work scattered until Independence.  Currently the Marian fathers and brothers of Marijampolė not only serve the God and Church, but also take care of the monastery’s heritage and tries to make it accessible for as many Lithuanian and foreign pilgrims as possible.

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Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel in Marijampolė

The Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel in Marijampolė is one of the most important churches in the diocese of Vilkaviškis. Pilgrims from Lithuania and neighbouring countries come here to pray at the tomb of the blessed archbishop Jurgis Matulaitis. In 1750, Pranciška Butlerienė, the elder of Prienai, invited the Marian priests of the Blessed Virgin Mary‘s Immaculate Conception Monastery, who started to build a church and monastery at the confluence of the Šešupė and Javonis rivers. Eight years later a wooden Church of the Holy Cross was consecrated. In 1809, the church burned down in a fire. Construction of a new stone church took a while. It was consecrated only fifteen years later and was named after Saint Michael the Archangel. In the XIX century and at the beginning of the XX century the church was several times expanded and decorated. It has Neo-Baroque features, a ground plan in the form of Latin Cross, and two towers with an apse. In 1934, the remains of archbishop Jurgis Matulaitis were brought from the Kaunas Cathedral and buried in the Chapel of the Holy Heart of Jesus. In 1987, after the archbishop was proclaimed a Blessed, an altar was built and named after Him. The relics of the Blessed one was relocated thereto. And the chapel was named after the Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis. Another chapel, that of St. Anne’s, is the resting place of the remains of Vilkaviškis diocese bishop Antanas Karosas. In the churchyard, there are graves of the Marian monks and of the 1831 uprising participants. The church has a painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Child, which was famous for its miracles. It is one of the biggest sacred values of the diocese of Vilkaviškis. In 1992, the church was titled a small basilica.

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The complex of building of the former Teachers’ seminary

The complex of building of the former Teachers’ seminary located on Vytauto street remembers well the times of the first revival, too. The seminary was founded in the former club of officers in 1919. It was one of the first two institutions preparing teachers in Independent Lithuania. There is a nicely repaired library near the main building. The Faculty of Education Science and Social Work of Marijampolė College was operating there until 2014.

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Kvietiškis Manor

According to historians, the Kvietiškis Manor was built in 1717 by Elder of Prienai Markas Antonijus Butleris and his wife Pranciška. It comprised a wooden mansion, 3 barns, 2 granaries, 3 stables, a grain storage chamber, cart storage and other buildings. At that time manors were built from the cheapest wood materials, therefore the first buildings of the manor did not survive to this day. In 1738, the Kvietiškis Manor was mentioned in the inventory of the Prienai eldership for the first time. The manor inventory of 1782 provides a view of the manor back in those days: it comprised 20,000 hectares of land, 35 villages and 7 villages related to the forestry business. During the land reform of 1926, the manor was left with only a large farmstead with 65 hectares of land. In the same year the Lower School of Agriculture was founded. For 45 years after the Second World War it operated under the name of Technical School of Agriculture. As of 31 August 2001 it is the home of a higher-education institution – Marijampolė College. Currently the remaining wooden manor house, dairy, warehouse with a basement, barn, janitor and farmhand houses are historically, architecturally and culturally significant.

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Haknasat Orhim or Choral Synagogue

The fire of 26 Mat 1894 laid waste to the city centre and the street which was then called Policijos (currently P. Butlerienės st.). It created a new empty space which during the reconstruction was used to build a new synagogue. In 1899, city’s architect Valerijus Rybarskis designed a house of prayer and, most likely after one year, it became a new elegant landmark of Marijampolė. The synagogue was actively used until the Second World War. After the war the Soviet government established a warehouse and vegetable shop here. Both the interior and the exterior of the building were damaged. In 1985, the synagogue was reconstructed and given to Marijampolė’s House of Engineers and a library of technical literature. After a decade, the building was started to be used by an educational centre of the Marijampolė district, later replaced by an educational centre of a well-known teacher, educologist and creator of the national school Meilė Lukšienė. In 2014, an art gallery of Beatričė Kleizaitė-Vasaris found home in the synagogue. It exhibits the painting, graphical and sculptural works created by well-known Lithuanian expatriates.

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Railway station

Marijampole Railway Station was built between 1923 and 1924 and has a great architectural value. It is one of the most decorated objects of such functional style in Lithuania. In terms of composition and style, the station is original among the buildings of this purpose in Lithuania. The station is bunk, with a large local water tower in the center and a single-storey trunk and administrative premises. The building is made of brick, the exterior walls are covered with red finishing tiles with inserts of plastered parts. Asymmetrical, progressively developing composition of the building is characteristic of the modern direction. In the décor of the building there are also supports of historical styles (attic decoration elements close to neobarok, high chimneys are taken from neo-Gothic), but thanks to stylization, this detail harmoniously binds to the whole. Valuable and protected elements and parts of the building are the volume of the building, authentic materiality, facades and their décor, interiors and their décor, planned – spatial structure, authentic joinery products (passenger waiting room benches, doors, windows).

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