Plungė Manor Homestead
Plungė manor homestead occupies 58.3 ha of the park area. There are ten monumental buildings which survived. The axis for the arrangement of the homestead was the neo-renaissance palace with two officines (servants’ houses) and neo-gothic stud farm.
Although the governors of Plungė manor kept changing from the 16th century, this landholding remained an important residence of aristocrats, clergymen, talented culture and art creators until the early 20th century. Plungė and all landholdings were sold to count Platon Zubov in 1806. In 1873, the Zubov family sold the manor to the duke Mykolas Oginskis. The duke built the current-day manor in the northern part of the park. The building was designed by a German architect Karl Lorenz. The manor was solemnly blessed in 1879. The central building was built in a neo-renaissance style which was in fashion at the time. From then on Plungė Manor had its heyday.
Continuing musical traditions of the Oginskiai family, the duke established an orchestra school in the manor where the famous Lithuanian painter and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis studied.
Mykolas Oginskis Palace is one of the most beautiful architectural monuments of the 19th c. Lithuania. Its particular distinctness lies in sculptures of the antique style which decorate the roof of the palace.
In the period from 2012–2015, the interior of the palace was restored with the support of the EU Structural Funds.
The western (left side) officine (servants’ house) was used as a guest house during the Oginskiai period. Nursemaids-nuns also used to live there. They worked in the orphanage which was maintained by the Oginskiai family. In 1883, a two-year Lithuanian school was opened, and the year 1903 saw the opening of Ms. M. Oginskienė’s daraktoriai (village teachers) school. Next to this building, on the lawn, there was a big insulated orangerie and the Oginskiai family chapel.
The eastern (right side) officine was intended for the administration of the manor. This is where an accountant worked. There was also a kitchen in this building.
It is a neo-gothic style building in which different breeds of horses were raised, in particular, the Little Samogitian Horse (Žemaitukas) breed was fostered. The chief stableman took care of horses along with his two assistants. There was a coach-house and a drill-hall here.
During the period of Lithuania’s independence, there was an agricultural school in the manor which renewed the stud farm and raised Žemaitukas horses.
Today, the former stud farm is used to organise international Mykolas Oginskis classical music festivals.
CLOCK TOWER AND ORANGERIE
It is the oldest surviving building of the manor and the oldest masonry building in Plungė: one of the stones of the masonry foundations bears the date of the building – 1846. The tower itself is a miniature copy of the Palazzo Vecchio palace in Florence, the architect is unknown. Mykolas Oginskis used the Zubov’s castle clock tower and orangerie which stood in the park as an accommodation for the gardener and an orangerie. The first floor would accommodate the gardener, and the second floor – the clockmaker who supervised the clock of the tower with a unique anchor escapement.
In 2012, the tower and the clock inside were restored and a public library of Plungė district municipality was established.
Apart from the aforementioned buildings, several other structures which constituted the manor ensemble survived.
The central monumental park gates of the neo-renaissance style were built in 1879. They are decorated with the 16th c. sculptures of knights, and the top of the gate is decorated with bears holding the shields with the coat of arms of Oginskiai on them. The ensemble of the gates also includes a former park guard’s house which now accommodates Plungė tourism information centre. The western part of the park still has a pheasant grower’s house, where Andzhej Kotoviak lived who looked after the fauna of the park. Nearby this building, there are red brick auxiliary gates installed.
To date, the park territory features the so-called laundry house which was used for the needs of the manor. It is found on the present-day street of Darius ir Girėnas.
At the end of Laisvės Avenue, the duchess Marija Oginskienė’s lawyer’s (Skladovski) house, which was built in 1910, can still be found.