The architecture of Užpaliai manor, sacral buildings in the township and parish houses

Marija Rupeikienė

The main culture heritage structures in Užpaliai are sacral buildings (standing and disappeared: former wooden church, a compound of present day church buildings, an Orthodox church and disappeared synagogue), parish houses and manor buildings.

The Užpaliai manor lies in the northern part of the township on the left bank of the Šventoji River. The house of administrator, a cattle-shed and a water mill remained up till now. The administrator’s house is of simple forms typical of provincial architecture, where local construction traditions are intertwined with primitive stylised elements of romanticised Classicism decorations. The cattle-shed’s architecture is similar to that of the administrator’s house. The exterior of the mill, due to different materials and volumes, is sharply accentuated by two functional zones: production and living ones. This is an original building with traits of folk classicism and romanticism style. Thus, the architecture of Užpaliai manor buildings shows features of modest classicism style intertwined with folk traditions in provincial manor construction during the 19th century.

The Orthodox church in Užpaliai built during the historicism period is of rational eclectic forms, which reflect the influence of the past romanticism and is intertwined with the Russian Byzantine elements and stylised details typical of neo-romanticism. A three-part axial composition structure is typical of many Orthodox churches in small Lithuanian towns. The Orthodox churches in Tytuvėnai (with a tower at its front), Inturkė, Tauragė, Semeliškės, etc. are of similar structure.

This church compound consists of a church, a belfry, a storehouse, a fence with a gate and small architecture constructions in a churchyard. There are several parish buildings: parish priest’s homestead with farm buildings, a presbytery and an almshouse (spital). The church has been built during the historicism period; it is of a ‘brick style’ with original neo-romanticism and neo-gothic style traits. The belfry is a building of the romanticism period; its architecture witnesses folk romanticism traits with details of neo-baroque style (paired pilasters and a small round niche). The almshouse is of a ‘brick style’ and its architecture has links with the church’s architecture. The former buildings of the parish priest’s homestead (a house, three farm buildings and a cellar situated south of the church-yard) are folk architecture pieces.

The main culture heritage sites in Užpaliai have been built during the classicism, romanticism and historicism periods. The oldest known building is a wooden church (now lost) built during the baroque epoch; its architecture has been investigated basing only on one historical photograph and draft drawings (a plan and a section). A synagogue has been restored relying upon an archive design; its architecture of facades and structure of its interior spaces have been revealed.

The architecture of all investigated buildings represents clearly their time and typical traits of individual elements. There are common links in architecture of the church and an almshouse, manor administrator’s house and farm buildings, the windows of wooden church and synagogue are also similar. It is possible that the stone masonry for belfry construction is related to the materials used building the manor houses. Having in mind that a part of the cultural heritage of this township is lost; the files stored in archives were important sources of information, and rich material accumulated there contributed to the visual field studies.