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Palanga Vladas Jurgutis’ Elementary School

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Ganyklų g. 2 / Kretingos g. 21, Palanga
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Palanga is one of the oldest settlements in Lithuania, mentioned in written sources as far back as 1161. Between the 15th and 17th centuries it was the most important port in Lithuania. From 1819 until the First World War, Palanga and many surrounding settlements belonged to the Curonian Governorate, and until 1921 it was a part of Latvia. The process of the port city becoming a resort accelerated in 1824 when a colonel in the tsar’s army, Count Mykolas Tiškevičius (Michał Tyszkiewicz), became the owner of Palanga. Vytautas, S. Darius and S. Girėnas, and J. Basanavičius streets became the centre of the new city, and the latter street also became the main thoroughfare. The new architecture of the resort (which officially got this title in 1909), which is mostly wooden, matched the scenic seaside nature. This trend continued throughout the interwar period.

In 1938, there was a big fire in Palanga, causing great losses. The city lost its gymnasium, post office, several elementary schools, shops that used to be located in the city centre, market buildings, amber workshops and many industrial buildings. Although the Ministry of Education had just financed the construction of modern educational institutions in nearby Skuodas and Kretinga, over 350,000 litas (the former Lithuanian currency) went towards building a new school in the resort.

The famous Stasys Kudokas’ design for Vievis School was adapted to Palanga, with only slight adjustments such as the addition of an apartment for the headmaster. Nonetheless, it isn’t exactly the apartment that distinguishes this educational institution from others in Lithuania. The most exciting addition to the design were the large number of facilities for up to 200 holidaymakers and tourists! This is a good example of the entrepreneurship of this resort. Why keep the rooms empty, especially when the students are having their summer holidays?

The school, built in less than a year, has become a symbol of the resort’s recovery. The building was called monumental and symmetrical, spreading the spirit of the era. The architectural historian Dr Vaidas Petrulis notes that journalists at the time even said it was reminiscent of a ripening wild strawberry.

But who actually was Vladas Jurgutis, whose name was given to this school in 1997 (it’s worth mentioning that during the Soviet occupation, a new building and an annex were added to the school complex)? He was a priest born in the county of Palanga, a member of the Lithuanian Catholic federation Ateitis (Future), had a PhD in economics (the father of the Lithuanian litas!) and the organiser of the Bank of Lithuania.

Palanga Vladas Jurgutis’ Elementary School

Ganyklų g. 2 / Kretingos g. 21, Palanga

Palanga is one of the oldest settlements in Lithuania, mentioned in written sources as far back as 1161. Between the 15th and 17th centuries it was the most important port in Lithuania. From 1819 until the First World War, Palanga and many surrounding settlements belonged to the Curonian Governorate, and until 1921 it was a part of Latvia. The process of the port city becoming a resort accelerated in 1824 when a colonel in the tsar’s army, Count Mykolas Tiškevičius (Michał Tyszkiewicz), became the owner of Palanga. Vytautas, S. Darius and S. Girėnas, and J. Basanavičius streets became the centre of the new city, and the latter street also became the main thoroughfare. The new architecture of the resort (which officially got this title in 1909), which is mostly wooden, matched the scenic seaside nature. This trend continued throughout the interwar period.

In 1938, there was a big fire in Palanga, causing great losses. The city lost its gymnasium, post office, several elementary schools, shops that used to be located in the city centre, market buildings, amber workshops and many industrial buildings. Although the Ministry of Education had just financed the construction of modern educational institutions in nearby Skuodas and Kretinga, over 350,000 litas (the former Lithuanian currency) went towards building a new school in the resort.

The famous Stasys Kudokas’ design for Vievis School was adapted to Palanga, with only slight adjustments such as the addition of an apartment for the headmaster. Nonetheless, it isn’t exactly the apartment that distinguishes this educational institution from others in Lithuania. The most exciting addition to the design were the large number of facilities for up to 200 holidaymakers and tourists! This is a good example of the entrepreneurship of this resort. Why keep the rooms empty, especially when the students are having their summer holidays?

The school, built in less than a year, has become a symbol of the resort’s recovery. The building was called monumental and symmetrical, spreading the spirit of the era. The architectural historian Dr Vaidas Petrulis notes that journalists at the time even said it was reminiscent of a ripening wild strawberry.

But who actually was Vladas Jurgutis, whose name was given to this school in 1997 (it’s worth mentioning that during the Soviet occupation, a new building and an annex were added to the school complex)? He was a priest born in the county of Palanga, a member of the Lithuanian Catholic federation Ateitis (Future), had a PhD in economics (the father of the Lithuanian litas!) and the organiser of the Bank of Lithuania.

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