The architecture of sacral and parish buildings in the area of Babtai

Marija Rupeikienė, Antanas Rupeika

Sakralinių statinių kompleksai su parapijų trobesiais stovi Babtuose, Muniškiuose ir Panevėžiuke; esama smulkiųjų sakralinių ir memorialinių statinių.

The compounds of sacral structures with parish buildings stand in Babtai, Muniškiai and Panevėžiukas; there are also small sacral and memorial structures.

Babtai is in the central part of the former rural area called valsčius. The main objects of the cultural heritage in Babtai are church structures and parish buildings. The compound of sacral structures surrounded by a churchyard and parish buildings is in the area between the Nevėžis River and two streets of Beržų and Šilo. The parsonage stands at the intersection of streets Nevėžio and Beržų, while two parish houses stand at the Nevėžio Street. The church is towerless, with three naves, hall-volume and built of logs. This is an example of folk Romanticism with some Neo-Renaissance traits, i.e., vivid so-called arcade stylistics typical of Romanticism, both inside and outside. The belfry is of ethnic architecture and of primitive shape. In the churchyard, there are two wooden chapel-pillar shrines, a roofed pole and a monument. During the period of the present study, the former parsonage homestead contained a parson house and an outbuilding, as well as a pond in the middle of the area. Two wooden houses at the churchyard in Nevėžio Street also belong to the he church. The first house is of simple volume, one-storied, with a roof extension, and of prolonged rectangular plan. The second house is of compound volume with a two-pitched mezzanine; its architecture is typical of traditional house in the townships. There is a wooden outbuilding in the yard. Before mid-20th century, there was a synagogue in Babtai; it stood in the southern part of the town, northwards of the Teškupis Brook, with old Jewish cemetery on its opposite bank. The architecture of the synagogue was simple, similar to that of wooden living houses. In the southern par of Babtai, on the Stabaunyčius Hill, there is the Babtų chapel-pillar shrine as a monument to the flight of Lithuanian pilots Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas across the Atlantic. It was erected in 1933 after the design of the engineer Algirdas Šalkauskis.

Muniškiai is a village in the southern part of the former Babtai Valsčius, 10 km south of Babtai. The church surrounded by a yard is between the streets of K. Zaleskienės and Šaltinių at the former manor homestead. The church is towerless, three-nave, hall-volume, built of logs and fronted by red bricks from outside. Its plan is of irregular cross shape, ending with a three-wall apse. The wooden church was notable for simple eclectic architecture under the influence of Romanticism style spread in the 19th century (its feature is tapering arched windows). Later, during the reconstruction of the church, its windows ended with semi-circle lintels.

Panevėžiukas is a village in Kaunas District in the northern par of the former Babtai Valsčius, 6 km north of Babtai. The church compound and parish buildings stand between the streets of Nevėžio and Striūnos; at the southern part of the yard, there is a parsonage homestead, while spital houses are north of the church yard. The church is notable for a unique plan shape and interaction of Baroque exterior architecture with details of ethnic architecture, as well as modest interior, where decore elements typical of folk Baroque and Classicism and specific space vitalising details prevail. The belfry is of simple forms and laconic functional architecture. There are burial sites at the margins of the churchyard with a wooden cross erected at the left side of the main gate. The yard is surrounded by a brick fence formed of mixed masonry (red bricks and stones) plastered walls and red brick columns. The Main Gate is symmetric with three openings framed by redbrick columns. The parsonage homestead is beyond the line of the southern fence off the Nevėžio Street. Now it consists of a parsonage, a barn, an outbuilding, a cellar and a well. The architecture of the parsonage is traditional, typical of village parish buildings. The barn had lost its authenticity and main elements of its architecture. The volume of the shed is authentic typical of outhouses n the homesteads of small parsonages. A shabby spital had lost many authentic elements of architectures; especially it is defaced by a brick porch and other additions discordant with wooden architecture.