Legends of Lithuanian manors taking us to the fabulous past

2021 01 05

Dark winter evenings, full of cosiness and festive mood is a great time to tell stories, mysterious tales and legends. We invite you to learn about some legends, related to the castles and manors of Lithuania, that have been told for centuries.

The poet and writer Vladislovas Sirokomlė (1823–1862) described his journey in 1858 in the work “Excursions from Vilnius to Lithuania” and told about many of Lithuania’s ancient historical sites and buildings. His story about the Medininkai Castle intertwines with legends. According to the author, the origin of this castle, one of the oldest castles in Lithuania, is not known neither from history nor legends, but when exploring the ruins “...They said that the bones of the giants found here were so large that the tibia was the height of a tall man.”  ...According to the legends told near Krėva, the Medininkai Castle must be as old as the Krėva Castle. It was allegedly built by some tribe of gods or giants. They were so strong that the bricklayers, working at the same time in both Medininkai and Krėva, 4 miles apart, would borrow hammers by throwing them through the air.”

In one of the old maps of the Liubavas Manor, a small building is marked, the purpose of which might surprise you - to shelter swans. The fact that the landowners of Liubavas loved and cared for these dignified birds perfectly complements the image of Liubavas as a romantic Lithuanian manor. The connection of the manor with probably the most famous Lithuanian historical figure among women - Barbora Radvilaitė - is also interesting. The manor, which belonged to Barbora’s first husband, Stanislovas Goštautas, later passed to Žygimantas Augustas, and then to her brother Radvila Rudasis. The very well known love story of Barbora Radvilaitė and Žygimantas Augustas is often spiced up by legends. According to one of them, the swans were brought to Lithuania as a gift from Žygimantas to Barbora. Actually, it is now known that the swans lived in Lithuania much earlier, but who knows, they could have been kept at Liubavas Manor near Vilnius and Barbora could have admired these wonderful dignified birds while walking around the manor...

The history of Plungė Manor park is also associated with an old legend - it is said that this park was established on the site of an old pagan shrine.  To this day, the visitors to the park can see an impressive oak, one of the oldest and largest oaks in Lithuania, called Perkūnas Oak, about which mysterious stories are told...

Trakai Vokė Manor is located in a place where extremely old legends are still remembered. As early as the 14th century, when the Crusaders were passing by, people would say that men in these areas would often be seduced and led astray in the woods by beautiful sisters - pixies, named Vokė. In 1375, the name Vokė was first mentioned in historical sources.