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Bank of Lithuania

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Maironio g. 25, Kaunas
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Monumental forms designed by the architect Mykolas Songaila and a luxurious interior show the ambitions of the First Independent Republic of Lithuania. The building of the Bank of Lithuania on the central street of the city was opened in 1929. It was the first representative object of its kind in the temporary capital.

The classical, symmetrical architectural solutions symbolising power and strength were certainly not accidental. Songaila, like many other architects who worked in Kaunas during the 1920s, learned about them whilst studying at the St. Petersburg Institute of Engineering and the Academy of Fine Arts. The architect didn’t, however, win the international contest to design the Bank of Lithuania, it was won by French specialists, but the project was deemed too expensive and so the honour went to the design that won second place.

Interestingly, there were also people living in the building, which included apartments, garages and laundries that were all established in the complex for the people who worked in the bank. Prime Minister Augustinas Voldemaras lived in a luxurious eight-room apartment (not for long, though, since he was sent into exile in 1930) together with his family, where they used a library and reception rooms with a balcony along with a separate entrance and lift. The bank manager’s apartment was also located inside the building.

When the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in 1940, the bank was turned into a branch of the USSR State Bank. On March 25, 1941, the currency of independent Lithuania, the litas, was banned and the banknotes stored in the vaults were burned inside the building’s furnaces. The Soviet occupants were rather respectful when it came to the nationalized palace of the bank, which was declared an architectural monument in 1970. After the restoration of Independence, reconstruction was carried out and the interior as well as the original colour design were restored.

Although today a visit to the bank needs to be planned in advance, a look around inside remains one of the greatest pleasures to be had when discovering the secrets of the interwar period in Kaunas. Before opening the heavy door of the bank, pay attention to the Art Deco elements in the form of the decorative luminaries on both sides of the entrance. An exceptional sculpture created by Kajetonas Sklėrius is placed in the window niche. You can see so much inside this palace, and you’ll be amazed by both the abundance of interior details and the quality and variety of their materials. Marble, crystal, bronze, parquet, and works by famous artists—one visit may not be enough.

Bank of Lithuania

Maironio g. 25, Kaunas

Monumental forms designed by the architect Mykolas Songaila and a luxurious interior show the ambitions of the First Independent Republic of Lithuania. The building of the Bank of Lithuania on the central street of the city was opened in 1929. It was the first representative object of its kind in the temporary capital.

The classical, symmetrical architectural solutions symbolising power and strength were certainly not accidental. Songaila, like many other architects who worked in Kaunas during the 1920s, learned about them whilst studying at the St. Petersburg Institute of Engineering and the Academy of Fine Arts. The architect didn’t, however, win the international contest to design the Bank of Lithuania, it was won by French specialists, but the project was deemed too expensive and so the honour went to the design that won second place.

Interestingly, there were also people living in the building, which included apartments, garages and laundries that were all established in the complex for the people who worked in the bank. Prime Minister Augustinas Voldemaras lived in a luxurious eight-room apartment (not for long, though, since he was sent into exile in 1930) together with his family, where they used a library and reception rooms with a balcony along with a separate entrance and lift. The bank manager’s apartment was also located inside the building.

When the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in 1940, the bank was turned into a branch of the USSR State Bank. On March 25, 1941, the currency of independent Lithuania, the litas, was banned and the banknotes stored in the vaults were burned inside the building’s furnaces. The Soviet occupants were rather respectful when it came to the nationalized palace of the bank, which was declared an architectural monument in 1970. After the restoration of Independence, reconstruction was carried out and the interior as well as the original colour design were restored.

Although today a visit to the bank needs to be planned in advance, a look around inside remains one of the greatest pleasures to be had when discovering the secrets of the interwar period in Kaunas. Before opening the heavy door of the bank, pay attention to the Art Deco elements in the form of the decorative luminaries on both sides of the entrance. An exceptional sculpture created by Kajetonas Sklėrius is placed in the window niche. You can see so much inside this palace, and you’ll be amazed by both the abundance of interior details and the quality and variety of their materials. Marble, crystal, bronze, parquet, and works by famous artists—one visit may not be enough.

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