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Birštonas whale

sculptures / fountain

Works: summer, spring, autumn

Birštonas whale can be seen before arriving at the resort - it is depicted in the city coat of arms. Why? For centuries, the inhabitants of the city, a royal resting place known for its never-ending castle, have decided that the best symbol is a mystical aquatic animal reminiscent of a concrete whale sculpture found underwater in the Nemunas and local fishermen's stories of giant catfish caught.

Let’s start the story from the beginning. In the interwar period, on the bank of the Nemunas, there was a Victorian spring covered with a roof. 1922 According to the idea of the writer Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas, the source was renamed Vytautas, and in order to protect the spring from floods, an icebreaker was built - a porous concrete pyramid. Around 1930, the pyramid turned into a sculpture of a whale about 7 m long and 1.7 m high, the head of which showed the direction of the flow of the Nemunas, and water flowed from the mouth of Vytautas spring. The author of the idea, the architect Romanas Steikūnas, also designed the famous Red Cross spas. The construction of the whale cost as much as five thousand "smeton" litas. To this day, a number of photographs of the whale with the celebrities of that time have survived. After the construction of Kaunas Hydroelectric Power Plant, the water level of the Nemunas rose by no more than 3 m, therefore the sculpture found itself under water. Already after regaining Independence, attempts were made to destroy it and pull it out of the river, but failed due to the extremely strong construction. Today, divers find it at the Nemunas loop, at the foot of Vytautas Hill, at a depth of about 2 m, and travelers can try to see it while standing on the shore.

2014 At the end of the 19th century, next to the old Tulpė mud spas, a new whale with a fountain on its back appeared in the lower reaches of the Druskupis stream. This is the work of the sculptor Zigmas Buterlevičius, which helped to fulfill the little - understood desire of the people of Birštonas to have their own ... whale. Birštonas whale can be seen before arriving at the resort - it is depicted in the city coat of arms. Why? For centuries, the inhabitants of the city, a royal resting place known for its never-ending castle, have decided that the best symbol is a mystical aquatic animal reminiscent of a concrete whale sculpture found underwater in the Nemunas and local fishermen's stories of giant catfish caught.

In the old riverbed of Druskupis stream.
Author Zigmas Buterlevičius. 2015

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