On September the 15th in a Kurhauz building in Palanga resort, Honorary citizen’s regalia were presented to Malgorzata Omilanowska – Polish art historian of the European significance, a scientist, professor, habilitated doctor. In this way Malgorzata Omilanowska – a former Minister of Culture of Poland – was honoured for the merits to Palanga city, for researching its history and advertising the city’s name in Lithuania and abroad.
On the eve of the festive event, professor has met up with art and culture lovers in Vilnius, in the Picture Gallery of Vilnius. During the meeting she recounted the history of a Palanga city, described in her book, as also architecture and lifestyle of a famous Palanga summer resort, which at the junction of XIX-XX centuries was favourite destination for intelectuals, artists, writers and politicians.
Indeed, during the period, investigated by Margozata Omilanowska in her book, Palanga summer resort was a place where gathered all Lithuanian and Russian intelectuals from Vilnius and Kaunas cities, as also Polish cultural elite from Austria, Russia and Prussia (Polish regions that belonged to Prussia). Possessors of Palanga city, the counts Tyszkiewicz (Tiškevičiai) have played very important role while forming this intelectual center and creating its specific architectural look. Palanga resort belonged to Tyszkiewicz untill the First World War.
Short History of Palanga Resort
In the introduction to the meeting professor Malgorzata Omilanowska has made a short overview of the history of Palanga. The prehistory of the city starts with a beautiful legend of Birutė, who was a wife of Lithuania Grand Duke Vytautas. Later after her husband’s death she returned to the seaside and to Palanga for mourning. After her death she was burried here. However, nobody knows where is her grave.
During the XVI-XVIII centuries Palanga was a village of fishermen, but from the other side it had a church and a parish. In the XIX century count Josef Tyszkiewicz (Juozapas Tiškevičius) from Lentvaris has bough Kretinga city nearby and started to arrive from time to time to Palanga. He then decided to make Palanga a seaside resort city. He started to build summer villas using a financial help of duke of Plungė Mykolas Oginskis. Years from 1892 to 1915 is a period when the seaside resort of Palanga was flourishing.
After the First World war Palanga city went to Lithuanian state and became a favorite summer place for Lithuanian president Antanas Smetona, who came to rest to the seaside from Kaunas city. Manor of Palanga and its park (a territory of 100 ha) still belonged to the counts Tyszkiewicz, but the seaside resort was already public.
During the interwar period counts Tyszkiewicz tried to sell their palace and its sorroundings to Lithuania government, but they set too high price for it. The deal between the counts and Lithuanian government never took place.
Research information of professor Malgorzata Omilanowska are included in a monograph book “Pabaltijo Zakopanė. Palanga Tyszkiewiczių laikais”, which was printed in 2011 in Polish and later translated into Lithuanian.
At the top: Ignas Stropus’ postcard “Palanga. Park palace”, 1933 m., pirm. apsk. nr KM GEK 29157, © Kretingos muziejus, www.limis.lt.
In the middle: Kurhauz of Palanga, 1926 m. postcard, inv. nr. KM IF 805, © Kretingos muziejus, www.limis.lt;