Visiting the wooden houses of Kaunas - the authentic Žaliakalnis 3

Asta Raškevičiūtė, Rytis Mekiša, 2015-01-21
House on the streets of Žemuogių 2/Aukštaičių 44; photo by A. Raškevičiūtė

In brief: One of the most important objects that support the character of Žaliakalnis (Greenhill) are the authentic wooden houses.  Not only are the outside elements of the wooden architecture preserved but all the environment as well - the landscaping, details of interior and exterior, traditional lifestyle.

Žaliakalnis is one of the most well-known districts of Kaunas; it was fully formed during the interwar period. Due to its excellent strategic position, the area was inhabited by the intelligentsia of Kaunas. Fancy wooden villas and cottages were being built. One of the most architecturally, urbanistically and historically important parts of Žaliakalnis - territory in the form of trapeze between Radvilėnai road and streets of K. Petrauskas and the alley of Vydūnas - was formed in 1923. This part of the city scheme was prepared by Kaunas city engineer Antanas Jokimas and implemented by Danish engineer M. Frandsen. Spacious lots, houses that are further away from the street and nurtured gardens formed a unique view of the district, which is sometimes described as the City-Garden.

All the wooden houses visited during the field research, which were built in 1920-1930, to this day remain almost of completely authentic. The owners or partial owners of the houses that were mentioned and of many other wooden houses in Žaliakalnis are often pensioners. That is why these people are not able to take care of their houses even if they want to, because of the financial reasons.

One of the authentic wooden houses of Žaliakalnis which was visited is situated on the corner of the two streets - Žemuogių g. 2/Aukštaičių g. 44; it is a type of a house that has rooms for rent. Captain of the Armed Forces for the Republic of Lithuania, the adjutant in Šauliai Company and one of the founders of the military theatre in 1919-1939, Antanas Gedmantas was granted a permission to build this building in 1927. The house was built using Lithuanian wood brought from Telšiai region; it was appointed to the captain because he was an army volunteer.

According to dr. Rasa Bertašiūtė, the specialist of the wooden heritage, there are many ways to preserve authenticity - a lot of theories and technologies, but one of the most important things is the love for your surroundings. A wish to preserve it also comes with the acquisition of the house - it depends on how the owner appeared to acquire the house. People tend to care more if it had been their parents' or grandparents' house.

Memorial board on the house on the streets of  Žemuogių 2/Aukštaičių 44; photo by A. Raškevičiūtė

Minties rato street, number 24 photo by A. Raškevičiūtė

Wardrobe in the house on Minties rato street, number 24 photo by R. Kilinskaitė

Fragment of the corridor; Minties rato street, number 24 photo R. Kilinskaitė

Minties rato street, number 24 during the interwar period; photo from a personal archive

House on Tulpių street, number 21; photo by N. Lukšionytė

Door handle of the house on Tulpių street, number 21; photo by A. Raškevičiūtė

Fireplace in the house on Tulpių street, number 21; photo by A. Raškevičiūtė



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