Druskininkai Resort Architecture of XIX c. end-XX c. beginning
Druskininkai Resort Architecture of XIX c. end-XX c. beginning
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“(...) Marvelous places! It is hard to imagine: suddenly come across something like impassable forests, cozy paths of the city among small houses, intact scarps, and again vernal gardens; therefore – wonderful…[1]

                                                         Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis

Resort architecture started to form in the middle of XIX c. As being very recent started to express quite significant and to develop equivalent[2]. This period was toward to start the creation work of canon architecture for the rest. Parallel withal this trend the main recreational centers of Lithuania started to develop. One of the most important balneologic type resort located in southern part of the country is Druskininkai.

Resort, which is famous by numerous array of the forests, moss hills and wealth’s of the mineral waters and curative mud, dominate the peculiar architecture (mostly wooden) which is typical only for this region. From 1794, when Druskininkai by special decree were announced a curative area, borders of health-resort town formed around reservoirs of mineral springs in the current territory of old town. Following type buildings developed: villas, spa, colonnades, hotels, sanatoriums and else. Leisure culture and constructions of recreational architecture started to momentum in Druskininkai a few years last till the World War I (around 1910) and reached its apogee in the period of interwar (1918-1940).

The trends of the constructions of objects for the rest, like in the other the same kind of foreign resorts (Zakopane / Poland, Jūrmala / Latvia, Baden-Baden / Germany etc.) depended on the prevailing political system. Along the general trends of stylistics the regional identity was significant which was inspired by the taste of those days society as well. Traveling this route it is important to perceive that such typology of the cities architecture characterized sensuous human relationship with the environment and one-side ideology disappeared. All epochs and styles architecture there was dominated and tolerated, which met intensively changing needs of holidaymakers and therefore had to be versatile and intriguing[3].

Before World War I Druskininkai belonged to the czarist government, that’s why for the stylistic trend of resorts recreational architecture it is characteristic the Russian décor. The mostly typical examples of resort architecture in the city till nowadays remains from the period of Polish occupation – villas of Swiss (akin to “Zakopane” style) and German type.

The silhouette of interwar Druskininkai was variegated not only by small-high wooden summerhouses and the roofs peaks of villas but also by large horizontal clearly distinguished volume of Physiotherapy hospital. During this period Druskininkai formed its traditional resort identity. Unique nature and the harmony of sustainable architecture caused the birth of peculiar cultural identity, the high quality of therapeutic services (“(…)the resort was affordable only for rich”[4]) and inexorably growing popularity of the city.

Prepared by Viltė Migonytė 

[1] Медонис А. Друскининкай. Vilnius: Valstybinė politinės ir mokslinės literatūros leidykla, 1961.

[2] Tutlytė, Jūratė. Rekreacinė architektūra Lietuvos kurortuose (1940-1990 m.): kompleksinis kokybės vertinimas: humanit. m. dr. disertacija. VDU. Kaunas, 2002, p. 61.

[3] Ptašek, Maja. Medinė kurortų architektūra. Vilnius: Vaga, 2002, p. 111.

[4] Jušėnaitė J., Medonis Ar., Druskininkai. Vilnius: Valstybinė politinės ir mokslinės literatūros leidykla, 1956, p. 22. 

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