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Aukštaitija National Park and Labanoras Regional Park Headquarters
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Architecture Print


The very first settlements were mentioned in the 14th century: Stripeikiai – in 1357, Linkmenys and Gaveikėnai – in 1377. After the Valakas Land Reform in the second half of the 16th century, one-street villages became predominant. Farmsteads are distributed next to each other on one or both sides of the street. A dwelling house stands perpendicular to the street on one line with the cattle-shed behind it. In front of the dwelling house the granary and the cellar forms the another line. The barn stands far behind. This kind of planning is typical for Ginučiai, Vaišniūnai, Meironys and Gaveikėnai. The most interesting are Šakališkė and Kretuonys - which is state protected ethnographic village.

Smaller settlements appeared in the 18th century. So-called "užusieniaiā€¯ – settler farms – gave rise to them. Settlers mostly were foresters and their families. Those settlements were spreading and grew up into villages. A small number of farmsteads, free siting of buildings and the absence of clear street-network are typical features for this kind of settlement. A dwelling, a granary and a cattle-shed form the central core of the farmstead. Barns usually lay beyond these. Due to the authenticity of architecture, five ethnographic villages are protected by the state; those are: Šuminai, Strazdai, Vaišnoriškės, Salos II and Varniškės II.

In 1909, after the Stolypin Land Reform, some villages were transferred into detached farmsteads. The best examples for detached farm villages are Pelakas, Pabiržė, Darželiai and Gineitiškis.

The main building material of all the structures was timber. It prevails at present as well. In the 19th century buildings were constructed of round logs and had thatched roofs. The structures of the 20th century, especially dwellings and garners, were built of cut logs and covered with shingles or wood planks. Roofs are of typical ancient construction, which were especially developed for barns.

The plan of domestic buildings changed according to the economic and social conditions. Up to the elimination of serfdom buildings consisting of three units partitioned by the main walls prevailed. The families, usually large ones, used the two units built at the sides of the anteroom for living. When the land was distributed among the heirs, two-unit dwellings began to be constructed. They consisted of an anteroom and a living unit.

The builders of old farmsteads paid special attention to granaries used for keeping agricultural products. They are built of well-prepared timber, carefully erected and raised from the ground on large fieldstones. Granaries consist of one room and have an open porch. Those buildings more than other have retained their old forms.

The cattle-sheds due to specific conditions of maintenance were changed during reconstruction. The oldest types of cattle-sheds are of two units with a passage in the middle and of two joined units. There are additional sheds adjoining the cattle-sheds, such as barns and sheds for straw and firewood.

Barns for storing corn or fodder are the biggest farm buildings. Some old barns with drying-rooms for corn have survived. The plans of all barns are the same: they are oblong buildings with entries on the sides divided by poles into three parts. Variations in the plan appeared due to different proportions in length and width and due to additions at the ends of the barns. Various types of roofs introduce variety into the composition of the farmsteads.

Other buildings, such as bathhouses, smithies, cellars and summer kitchens, are of no particular importance to the spatial make-up of farmsteads. Some of them (bathhouses and cellars) retain old building traditions; others (smithies and summer kitchens) are of later origin.

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