Plungė

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Plungė is located in the North West Lithuania. It is a town including more than 23 000 inhabitants in the territory of 11,78 square kilometers.  Plungė is one of the main cities in Žemaitija, second most important after Telšiai. Rich history, great geographical location and sophisticated local society create a wonderful entire of the town.

 

History

In historiography there is a strong statement that first people settled in the territory of Plungė in 5-1st centuries before the year of grace. In 1567 Plungė was stated as a town for the first time. In 1570 Plungė started growing and got Magdeburg city rights in 1792. In the 19th century Plungė was governed by Zubovai and Oginskiai. During ruling of these families first mason buildings were built in Plungė. Architecture of these structures would beautify every old town nowadays. A neat clock-style castle was an imitation of 14th century Vecchio palace in Florence. The castle was built by Zubovai in Plungė park. Oginskiai erected an ensemble of estate of neo-renaissance and neo-gothic styles.

In 1875 one of the first Lithuanian music schools was opened in the estate. One of the most famous and talented  Lithuanian musicians and painters M. K. Čiurlionis studied music here. The end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century was a significant period of cultural and economical prosperity of Plungė town.  In the years of Lithuanian independency monks capuchins influenced the educational and cultural life, the industry was strongly influenced by local flax fabric, Jews businesses and local agriculture. For a long time of Plungė town history, Jews community was very influential there. During the years of Lithuanian independency, district of Telšiai was the third in Lithuania according as a number of Jews living there. In 1923, 44% inhabitants of Plungė were Jews. The community was destroyed in 1941 July by German forces. During the period of Soviet occupation, the face of Plungė city has changed a lot. Number  of inhabitants enlarged (from  7400 in  1940 to 23300 in 1990). Plungė town was urbanized, various industrial companies were there established in order to implement Soviet plans to enlarge Plungė twice. However, it appeared that in Plungė there are no enough water resources to develop the industry further. Finally, plans were stopped and changed when Lithuania got back its independence in 1990. Then most of fabrics were closed, the only one “Linų audiniai“ (Flax drapery) was left to work.

Nowadays

Plungė district includes many sightseeing places overall. 9 reserves, 4 parks, 13 mounds, 40 architectural monuments…  Reciting would be endless. The fact is that Plungė and its district distinguishe in number of exclusive objects.  The town itself includes a train station, stadium, the estate of Oginskiai where now the Museum of Samogitian art is established, the park where there one of nature monuments grows (Oak of Thunder). Plungė also has the Old town square and a marvelous church of St. John the Baptist. The town includes many sculptures, public offices, a stud farm and lots more.  In 2009 Plungė was declared to be the capital of culture in Lithuania. It was the same year when Vilnius became the European Culture capital. That undoubtedly shows the importance of Plungė`s town influence for Lithuanian culture life. Thus there is nothing to be surprised about that many famous Lithuanian artists were born and spent their childhood here.

Despite the fact that growth of the town was stopped in 1990, the most important – spiritual property was returned back to this place. That is true worth of art and trust.

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Location
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