Dr. Zita Pikelytė in her doctoral dissertation on provincial photography of the 1918–1940 period wrote: “The remains of the Biržai Castle were a huge attraction at the interwar period (1918–1940) that excited the imagination not only as the witness of distant history. It was also a place surrounded by legends, which tempted local residents, curious visitors, and photographers looking for picturesque images with its secrets“.
In the castle (it was also called a castle or a mound), there flourished a garden, long-stemmed roses bloomed in the flowerbeds, benches invited people to sit down and fragrant lilacs thickly covered defensive ramparts in spring. The records on the small masonry towers at the approach to the castle, the monument of Janusz Radziwiłł and the mortar (artillery cannon) spoke of the honourable historic past. Two legends were still vivid in the collective memory of the people of Biržai: about the newlywed couple bricked in the corner of the palace and the linden planted by the Russian Tsar Peter I. This linden is probably one of those mentioned by Konstanty Tyszkiewicz in 1859: „Five ancient, majestic lindens, which have survived to this day, grew on the ramparts of the castle“. Numerous celebrations and commemorations, and the planting the avenues of trees named after Vilnius, scouts and grand dukes continued the historical memory. Table tennis courts and a summer theatre served to actively and culturally spend people’s free time.
The romanticized image of the mound was firmly etched in the memory of many those who visited it and the image reminded them of their youth, while the reconstructed palace of the Biržai Castle and the changed landscape seemed strange and unrecognizable. The émigré poet Leonardas Žitkevičius aptly captured this change in the line: “(…) but I miss the ruins” of the poem “How to protect yourself from youth?”.
Let us wander around the Biržai Castle of the interwar period in the photo gallery of Petras Ločeris, Juozas Skrinskas and unknown photographers.
The oldest postcards in the collection of Biržai Region Museum "Sėla" (2): publisher Petras Ruseckas