Love modernist architecture? We hope you’ve already put Kaunas on your destination list! An English-language map of the most important buildings of the Epoque will be waiting upon your arrival.
“Modernist’s Guide” is the newest route in the “It's Kaunastic” series. We dedicated both it and “Wallographer’s Notes” which we presented a couple of days ago to Kaunas – UNESCO Creative City of Design. Our city was awarded the title in 2015; the main reason for that was the modernist architecture of the interwar period which itself is currently included UNESCO's World Heritage Tentative List.
Contemporary Kaunas would not exist without the time when the city served as the temporary capital and “stood in” for Vilnius from 1919 till 1940. Overnight, Kaunas had to transform itself from a little town of Russian Governorate to the capital that meets the European standard. The city needed to speed things up, it needed to invest, to be united and most importantly to believe! For various reasons, different professionals born, living, working or studying abroad, started coming to Kaunas and collaborating with residents, businesspeople and politicians. Offices, hospitals, schools, residential and industrial buildings as well as other signs and centres of a modern (and modernist) city didn’t arise overnight, but... almost.
Kaunas – which will become the European Capital of Culture in 2022 – is increasingly focusing on its history that usually hides in the plain sight. “Modernist’s Guide” will make the acquaintance easier and direct you to further contacts. Yes, you will notice that some buildings marked with the European Heritage Label are empty and in bad condition. You may not be able to get in some of them, while others will delight you with their freshly painted facades. Kaunas is diverse! It is essential to get to know all of its faces to walk further, right? Happy wandering!
You can pick up the “Modernist’s Guide” in the Kaunas In Tourism Information Centre and tourist-friendly places around town. As the rest of the maps marked “It’s Kaunastic”, this one’s free of charge. The digital copy is available here.