The architecture of manor buildings in the area of Babtai

Marija Rupeikienė, Antanas Rupeika

Manor homesteads in 18 sites of former Babtai rural district called valsčius have been investigated. There are manor homestead buildings, which stood there, or some stand still now. The manors of Babtynas, Muniškiai, Pagynė and Panevėžiukas were the oldest and the largest ones. The manor homesteads were being erected mainly in the 18th–19th centuries. In 1940, beside the above-mentioned, the manors of Antagynė, Bukolainiai, Gailiušiai I and Gailiušiai II, Janogrodas, Juodoniai, Krivėnai, Lazdynė, Naujatriobiai, Pastrebė, Rebzdžiai, Šašiai, Vareikoniai ir Zacišius were registered.

The manor homesteads stand on both sides of the motorway Kaunas–Klaipėda. Some of them disappeared, others lost some buildings or are changed significantly, or they lost their authenticity. The west side homesteads, such as Žemaitkiemis (Babtynas) and Zacišius have the most interesting old buildings; the same is with the Panevėžiukas manor on the eastern side.

Žemaitkiemis (Babtynė) Manor on the right bank of the Nevėžis River (now on the western side of the motorway) is one of the largest manors in the area of Babtai. Now a manor-house, barn, storehouse, stackyard, remains of a cow-house and a well are standing in Žemaitkiemis. The homestead is established in a picturesque landscape, where the buildings are visible from faraway points: from the slopes of the Nevėžis or the western side of the highway. The manor-house with old 16th–17th century cellars are eclectic: the facades are notable for interwar stylistics of geometric lines, with details of historical styles, such as Baroque-type rounded corners, the order, Romanticism-like elements, as well as manifestation of modern architecture (wide glass planes). The barn is an original building of the Romanticism period characteristic of large farms. The storehouse is of simple architecture with classicism traits and original window rims. The volume of a shed is authentic, typical of buildings in large estate homesteads. Close to the estate there is a wooden chapel-pillar shrine erected in the 19th century, that is an original structure of small architecture with stylised decorations typical of Late Classicism.

The homestead of Krivėnai Manor contains two houses, a well and two ponds. The Vareikoniai Manor homestead has remains of a manor-house, a barn and a site of former outbuilding. The Zacišius manor homestead has a manor-house, a tree alley and a pond. The manor-house is of complex composition, original volume with simple and authentic architecture reflecting the stylistics of the end-19th and beginning-20th centuries.
There were 20 buildings in the Panevėžiukas Manor homestead; their approximate place is restored from the fixed reminiscences by B. Koreva. Now there is a manor-house, a building for manor workers, an ice-house, a well and a pond. The manor-house is dilapidated, it has lost its volume and many authentic details. Its original architecture had reflected the style typical of the provincial estates at the beginning of the 20th century. The building for manor workers, called kumetynas, is of typical plan and architecture used for such purpose constructions; the view is downplayed by various wooden makeshift structures.

The Lazdynės Manor homestead consists of two buildings (a house and a cattle-shed) and a pond. The Puidinė Manor homestead is formed of a manor-house (the house of Kazys Puida), two other houses and an outhouse. The architecture of Puida’s house is uneven, chaotic, with later annexes. The outbuilding is of traditional architecture characteristic of blocked farm-hand buildings of different purpose. The Pagynė Manor homestead has now only a derelict cow-house, exposing rare fragments of clay and wood walls with white silicate bricks inserted. However a tree alley of the manor homestead has survived.