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2016-09-09 Back to list

The Great Escape: Kačerginė

Kačerginė, 16 km away from Kaunas, officially became a resort in 1933 and was then a hotpot of Lithuanian writers, poets, architects and other members of elite.

Entering Kačerginė by bike. Photo by Donatas Stankevičius

The Baltic Sea and its resort towns might be a 2-hour drive away, but Kaunas has the privilege of its own resort for both body and soul – Kačerginė. It’s 16 km away, located on the Nemunas River, and is easily reachable by car, bus, boat or even a bicycle (we recommend the latter). You can either spend here a few hours or stay for the night, as a brand new 3* hotel called ‘Kankorėžis“, or ‘The Cone’, has just been opened. Kačerginė is a convenient stop for those heading to the West – if you plan travelling further, we also suggest stopping at Zapyškis or even taking the ferry across Nemunas from Pavilkijys to Vilkija and then continuing towards Jurbarkas. But first, Kačerginė.

Less than 800 people are permanent residents of Kačerginė. What used to be a fisherman town started booming after the First World War, mostly for its splendid nature and peaceful aura. Kačerginė officially became a resort in 1933 and was then a hotpot of Lithuanian writers, poets, architects and other members of elite. During the Soviet occupation a handful of children camps were established, and the interwar elite was exchanged with that of the Soviet nomenclature.  

To make your day easier we’ve selected a few points of interest in Kačerginė that are worth discovering and digging deeper. A big thanks goes to Gediminas Kontrimas, a Kačerginė-based heritage protection specialist – not only he suggested us half a dozen objects to talk about, but has also contributed to their well-being and overall existence.

The Cones

As Kačerginė is situated in a pine forest, you’ll see the cones everywhere. 14 golden cones make the town’s coat of arms; there are more of them in the official flag you can see fluttering on every corner. There’s also a funny story – remember the Soviet nomenclature members residing in Kačerginė we’ve told you about in the foreword? In slang, they are also called ‘cones’.

kacergine 55accf5bc36c6Photo by Raimonda Mikalčiūtė / www.15min.lt (Original article here)

Jonas Biliūnas Square
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This is the place where open-air balls of Kaunas elite took place a hundred years ago. The visitors would arrive with a steamboat! Right next to the square there’s a villa in which a legendary Lithuanian writer Jonas Biliūnas resided. Apparently gazing at the feasts of the elite was among his inspirational methods. Right next to the square (it's waiting for a reconstruction project) and the villa there’s the first building designed by a very famous interwar architect Edmundas Alfonsas Frykas (he also designed the Kaunas Philharmonic and a lot of residential houses in Kaunas).

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The Jonas Biliūnas house. Photo from www.kacergine.lt

The Pranas Vaiciuška Villa
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Pranas Vaiciuška was a doctor and a general. His villa later became an elementary school; it is now included in the cultural monuments register. A few years ago it was bought by the organizer of Kaunas Marathon, Algirdas Pukis (we’ve published an interview with him before), and the new owner spent a great deal of energy restoring the property. Let's hope the trend will continue.

13708240 291526887867682 9163709862529794383 oThe Pranas Vaiciuška villa. Photo by Donatas Stankevičius

The Pranas Mašiotas House (Mašiotynė)
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What looks like a fairy-tale home surrounded by magical sculptures is actually the estate of a cult Lithuanian kids writer Pranas Mašiotas. Well, actually it was his son’s house (designed by V. Landsbergis-Žemkalnis) but the writer spent his summers here before WW2.

turizmo info masiotyneMašiotynė. Photo from www.turizmo-info.lt

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The Fairytale Park at Mašiotynė. Photo from www.kacergines.lt


Kačerga
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Conveniently located in the very centre of Kačerginė, the diner has been ‘the’ place for locals and visitors for more than 15 years now. The herring is spectacular.

The Obelisk
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After WW2, partisans all over Lithuania started guerrilla war against the occupants. A very important battle took place in Kačerginė in October of 1946, when 80 partisans attacked the local NKVD office and burned it to the ground. An obelisk reminding us of our history is now standing at the battle place, near the Kačerginė library.

Saint Anne’s Chapel
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Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis was one of the best-known architects in the interwar Lithuania and Kaunas in particular. You can visit dozens of buildings designed by him (Pienocentras or Kaunas artists house, for example). As the architect was a resident of Kačerginė resort, he designed a new chapel in 1936. The war and soviet occupation ruined the building process, but in 1998 the project was brought back to life by Feliksas Jackevičius and Gediminas Jurevičius. No matter who or what you believe in, the translucent silhouette of the chapel, hidden in the pines, is worth a gaze.

kacergine 55acd01135ee0Photo by Raimonda Mikalčiūtė / www.15min.lt (Original article here)


The Pypliai Mound

There’s an old Lithuanian legend about Pilėnai, a castle that was surrounded by enemies – its inhabitants chose death instead of surrender. Nobody knows the exact location of Pilėnai, but one of the versions says it might be the Pypliai mound about 4 km from Kačerginė, on the left bank of Nemunas – right where Nevėžis flows in. Nowadays, the mound is a community event space.

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The Pypliai Mound. Photo from www.kacergines.lt

The Nemunas Ring

The motorsports ring in Kačerginė was established in Soviet times after accidentally discovering a road suitable for that on a map. The first ring was 5.45 km long and the first USSR rally championship held there attracted massive attention. A longer ring was later built later to ensure some peace and quiet for the residents of Kačerginė resort. Sadly, the hopes and dreams of motorsports fanatics began to crumble and fall together with the USSR. A bunch of dedicated fellows put their forces together and established a new ring on 2003. A light drift, anyone?


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The Nemunas Ring in Soviet times. Author unknown

vienintele lietuvoje ziediniu lenktyniu trasa nemuno ziedas svencia 50 ies metu jubilieju1
The Nemunas Ring in Soviet times. Author unknown

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