Birštonas Tourism Information Center
architecture / history
Not many people know that Birštonas mineral water resort was a private town until the restoration of independence. What’s even more interesting is that written records of the resort date back to the 14th century when a fortified wooden castle was mentioned in the New Prussian Chronicle by Vygandas Marburgietis (Wigand of Marburg). In 1382, the Grand Master of the Order of the Teutonic Knights was informed that a homestead was founded by the salty water (near the Nemunas river). It happened almost 500 years before the location was granted official status as a resort!
The small town began to be known as an oasis of rest during the 19th century, especially after the nearby resort of Stakliškės burned down. In 1854, an official permit for the establishment of a resort was received, and was the responsibility of the landlord Adomas Bartoševičius and the physician Benediktas Bilinskis. After a couple of decades, Ignotas Kvinta, a landlord from Jieznas, became the owner of the resort and started expanding it. The next owner was Lidija Miller-Kochanovskienė. After the re-establishment of independence, the town, significantly damaged during the First World War, became the property and responsibility of the state and the Lithuanian Red Cross Society started taking care of it.
The nearest neighbour of the unique Birštonas kurhaus, the resort administration building, was designed by the same architect, Romanas Steikūnas, in 1930. At that time, administrative buildings in the rest of Lithuania were mostly made of stone, although this material was actually more expensive. Wooden architecture was considered not really suitable for the modern cities of the First Independent Republic of Lithuania. This was probably why this solution seemed particularly suitable for a resort. Apparently, government officials weren’t opposed to working at a luxurious villa. Some of them actually lived here, and several service apartments were established inside the building. During the interwar period there was also a post office and an outpatients’ clinic.
The building, which belongs to one of the most fascinating interwar wooden architectural ensembles in Lithuania, combines traditional décor solutions with traces of modernism. For example, the decorative banners on the entire façade are reminiscent of the type of windows that are popular in Kaunas. You’ll be amazed by the beauty of the spacious, round veranda.
Those who come to Birštonas have to visit this place because of the Tourist Information Centre that was established here after the reconstruction of the villa. Staff are on hand to advice on all matters of interest and will recommend the most interesting route along the historic resort that’s actually very modern.