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Clock Tower and Conservatory
Koordinatės: 55.916186, 21.847257 Objekto adresas: Parko street 7, Plunge, Lithuania Savivaldybė: Bezirk Plunge
A rather uniquely-styled castle, combining elements from Italian architecture as well as Romanticism and the Neo-Gothic style, was built in the Plungė Park in the middle of the 19th century. It has a 12-metre tower with a clock in it, which can be seen from any angle. The clock has a very rare and unique anchor escapement mechanism, created by Parisian clock maker J. L. Amant in 1741. The clock was the sole reason why the town's people used to call it dziegorinė, meaning clock room, but now a more common term bearing the same meaning is used to refer to the clock tower, namely laikrodinė. The clock only has one arrow and a bell, which is activated every hour.
The Plungė Clock Tower is very similar to the Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall of Florence, Italy. It is like a small copy of the structure. Construction of Palazzo Vecchio was started in the beginning of 1299. The architect was Arnolfo di Cambio (1245–1302). Today, the building houses a museum.
In 1873, Duke Mykolas Oginskis purchased the Plungė Manor from Platonas Aleksandrovičius Zubovas. Oginskis used the clock tower as living quarters for the gardener and the clock master. The summer conservatory, adjacent to the eastern wall of the clock tower, had beds for regular and exotic plants.
Marija Oginskienė lived in the Oginskis Manor until World War I. In 1915, she left for Poznane, Poland, where her brother lived. Since then, she never returned to Plungė. Oginskienė's property was nationalised when Lithuania became independent. Before, between and after the two World Wars, people resided in the clock tower. There were also remains of a very large and beautiful farmstead and conservatory nearby, which were built when the Oginskis family were living here. The structures were converted into greenhouses, but gradual structural deterioration lead to their ruination at around the 6th decade and nothing was left of the structures.
According to the elderly citizens of Plungė, the castle clock tower was out of order during the interwar period. In 1954, during Soviet rule, the House of Pioneers and Students was established in the castle. During the rebirth of Lithuania, the House was closed and the building was in urgent need of rebuilding. However, the castle stood abandoned for a long time, neither maintained, nor renovated. Many projects and documents, formalising the restoration of the clock tower, were prepared. Unfortunately, each project was initiated, but never finished for one reason or another.
The castle was finally renovated and new life was breathed into it when the decision to set up a library inside of it was reached. In 2011, the castle tower clock was restored, while the restoration of the clock tower itself was finished in October of 2012, where the Plungė Public Library was eventually set up. The Palazzo Vecchio of Plungė began a new life. With the help of donors, who sponsored the clock tower, the tower bell was sounded for the first time after many years of silence in May of 2015.
Submitted: Plungės rajono savivaldybės viešoji biblioteka | http://www.plunge.rvb.lt/lt/
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