Raudondvaris is a picturesque town in the central Lithuania. The town is famous for its rich historical past, architectural ensemble of the manor, it is surrounded by nature and is never short of a variety of cultural events. There is a total of 7 towns in Lithuania called Raudondvaris. The one that is in Kaunas District is the largest in the country. It is situated near the confluence of two rivers – Nemunas and Nevėžis.
The area of Raudondvaris is about 6.7 ha. The town has the population of 4,300 people, and including the neighbourhood villages – about 6,000.
This is one of the oldest settlements in Kaunas District. The first written sources in the 16th century refer to a settlement called Naujasis Aukštadvaris (literally New High Manor) or Aukštasis Dvaras (literally High Manor), from the beginning of the 17th century in colloquial language it was renamed to Aukštutinis Raudondvaris (literally High Raudondvaris), until the present name of the town has finally formed.
Its history is inseparable from the history of Raudondvaris Manor. From the architectural ensemble that consisted of the Renaissance castle palace of the 1st half of the 17th century, the northern and southern officines (servants' houses), conservatory, lacquey house, stables, housekeeper lodge, the northern and southern garners, ice house and the park (planted in the 19th century). The name of the entire settlement derives from the colour of the manor masonry. Even though the palace is called a castle and has features of castle (a tower, firing holes), it, however, was of no defensive significance, cannons of that time could have easily demolished its walls. It was a representative palace.
It is said that Barbara Radziwiłł ordered the foundation of the castle to be built. In the times of the war of the feudal lords of the GDL with Russia (in 1659), during the attack of Kaunas crews of the Tsarist troops, the palace was robbed and the wooden buildings of the manor were burnt down, but were rebuild within one year. From 1662, the manor travelled from the hands of one owner to the hands of another one, between the noble families of Radziwiłł, Worlowski and Zabiela, until in 1819 it was acquired by Tyszkiewicz family.
During the reign of Tyszkiewicz family, Raudondvaris Manor was known as a cultural and art centre. The noble family restored the palace, built the conservatory, arranged the stables and founded the park. The manor had its own orchestra, the theatre also operated for some time, the library that held more than 20 thousand books was collected.
During the interwar period, the manor palace became the orphanage of the women's welfare committee, and during the World War II, the retreating German army destroyed the palace.
In 1944, a machine-tractor station (MTS) was set up in the southern officine (servants' house) and in the stables. The director of Russian nationality, who was the new host of the ensemble, destroyed everything what resembled the noble family.
In 1958, Institute of Lithuanian Agriculture Mechanization and Electrification was set up in the manor. In 1959-1973, the castle manor ensemble was rebuilt and its Renaissance features were
From 1993, Raudondvaris Manor became the centre of culture, an exposition of history of Raudondvaris and Tyszkiewicz family, and of composer Juozas Naujalis was set up in the palace, and from 2002 a memorial museum was opened in his honour.
From 2008, Raudondvaris Manor belongs to Kaunas District Municipality, the ensemble was granted the status of a cultural monument. About 20 million litas were allocated from the EU funds and municipal budget for the arrangement of the whole complex of manor buildings.
Raudondvaris Manor houses the Civil Registry Office, Kaunas District Museum and exhibition halls. Arts Incubator, Kaunas District Tourism and Business Information Center, Raudondvaris Conservatory-Restaurant operate in the territory of the park.
The establishments that operate in Raudondvaris Eldership: gymnasium, a nursery-school in the name of Anelė Kriauzienė and Augustinas Kriauza, a nursery “Riešutėlis“. The building of the Eldership administration houses Raudondvaris Cultural Center (built in 1970, a hall with 320 seats, a theatrical scene), a branch of Garliava School of Art, library, post office, police station. An outpatient clinic with a pharmacy operates in Didžioji street. From 1938,
The Saint Therese of the Child Jesus church in Raudondvaris that was renovated in 1938. Nearby stands a monument in memory of composer Juozas Naujalis that was erected in 1994. The organisation Caritas operates. A cemetery is situated, and a tree nursery and forest authority operate in the territory of the eldership. The Centre of Traditional Crafts is founded in the homestead of Juozapas Liekis.
Quite a lot private companies operate in Raudondvaris: 5 food and household goods stores, fishing tackle shop, bakery, bazaar, home furnishings store, vehicle workshop, flower and meat kiosks, second hand clothing stores, pizzeria. Hairdressing, sewing, veterinary, beekeeping, funeral services are also provided in the territory.
Prepared according to the book “Decades in the Area around Kaunas” (“Pakaunės dešimtmečiai“) (compiled by Petras Garnys).