History of the Ilzenberg Manor’s Bathhouse

History of the Ilzenberg Manor’s Bathhouse

It is believed that the first bathhouse was built in the Ilzenberg Manor back in the early 17th century, under the lordship of the manor founders, the noble family of Kerssenbrocks. The bathhouse was attended by the whole family of the nobleman – it was built away from the manor house, in the most picturesque place of the lakeshore, where from a view of the lake island was revealed.

img pirtisSauna emerged much earlier than the Manor Park, which was founded in the middle of the 18th century, when the manor lords were the German noble family of Orgies-Rutenberg. The parks ends at the bathhouse, which shows that the building of the bathhouse existed before the design of the park was developed – otherwise, the park would stretch along the entire shore of the Ilgis Lake. At the end of the 17th century, nobilities’ sauna buildings were no longer built as a result of common European cultural trends. It is therefore not surprising that the abandoned bathhouse of the Ilzenberg Manor did not match the park’s landscape architecture at all.

In the first half of the 19th century, noblemen loved bathing again. Though, in mobile hot tubs and baths rather than saunas. And that in itself was bad for the bathhouse of the Ilzenberg Manor.

However, the fate of bathhouses suddenly changed in 1863, upon the uprising against the Russian tsarism authority. Rebels, led by the priest Antanas Mackevičius, equipped their camp in Ilzenberg for a certain period of time. Meanwhile, in Onuškis surroundings, the rebels crashed Russian troops in a fierce battle. Thereafter, A.Mackevičius moved through the Ilzenberg Manor to Courland where he agitated Latvians to join the fight under the slogan “For our and your freedom”.
The rebels at once noticed the basement of the old bathhouse in the their camp and built a temporary timbered bathhouse on it – the fighters not only had a bath therein, but also dried their clothes washed in the lake. The bathhouse was huge - it had a room for 30 men at the same time.

While noblemen no longer acknowledged bathhouses, the bathhouse of the Ilzenberg Manor was used for long – the manor’s servants and labourers washed here. The bathhouse has been allegedly saved as a sign of respect for the rebels, many of whom were killed or tortured to death in exile.

Since the beginning of the Soviet occupation, the bathhouse was no longer used and completely collapsed in decades.
The current owners of the Manor decided to restore one of the oldest Lithuania’s bathhouses. The new bathhouse was built on the old basement in the same place as the very first bathhouse of the Manor. It stayed huge and is now considered the largest and oldest manor bathhouse in Lithuania.

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