The Kretinga Manor Park Ponds (I)

Coordinates: 55.900421 21.248866

Object address: Kretinga, Lithuania

Municipality: Kretinga district

There are 3 ponds that remain in the Kretinga Manor Park. They are located within an 8 acre plot of land, in the valley of the Dupultis River.

During Count Tiškevičius’ reign, three cascade-like ponds were built between 1878 and 1880 in the northern part of the park based on the project of Jonas Šostakas. The water ran from the third pond into the second one, and from there it continued into the first pond.

The first and the oldest pond in the park is located behind the mansion of the manor, near the confluence of the Akmena (or Danė) and Dupultis Rivers. The ramparts of the pond are situated along present-day Vilnius street.

The first farmstead of the Kretinga Manor was established in the 16th century, which was when the river next to it was dammed. Back then, the pond was used for farmstead purposes: the water turned the millstones of the windmill and the pond was used to farm fish.

Juozapas Tiškevičius issued an order to have the first pond cleaned and to have it be transformed into a representative zone. Therefore, the large waterfall stonework grate was built on the right bank slope and a wooden arch bridge with openwork rails lead from the mansion towards the waterfall grate. The bridge and the waterfall cave were lit at night during family holidays or when honourable guests were visiting.

On that same bank, next to Salantai road, a mound was built and used to view the pond and the manor. On the southern bank of the pond, next to the mansion, there used to be a large summerhouse, which looked a lot like a mushroom.

In 1878, next to the first pond, Count Juozapas Tiškevičius established the first hydro-power plant in Lithuania (one of the first in the Russian Empire), which, in the beginning, was only capable of generating power for the mansion. The pond powered the millstones of the windmill, the workshop equipment, and the wheat threshing machine.

A narrow pathway was built between the first and second ponds. It was primarily used for leisurely strolls, but chariots were also allowed to pass through.

In 1925, during the land reform, a part of the land that belonged to the Kretinga Manor was redistributed among the newly established farmers, while the rest of the land was nationalised. The decreased income of Aleksandras Tiškevičius had made it difficult to sustain the manor farmstead, especially the park. The abandoned overflown ponds eventually broke down the mounds and the cascaded pond and waterfall system was ruined. The cascades were not rebuilt during reconstruction works. In 1958, the park was declared a state-protected natural heritage.

Source: Kretingos enciklopedija

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