If you are looking for an escape from laud Lithuanian seaside resort cities, the town of Kretinga with its Winter Garden, Franciscan monastery and traditional Japanese garden is a perfect one-day destination. Kretinga is a small town near the Lithuanian coast, located just 13 kilometers from the main seaside city - Palanga. Short distances from the main resort towns like Palanga or Šventoji, make this town easily accessible. However, for many people, this spot is still an unrevealed pearl.
The highlight of Kretinga is the Winter Garden established in Tiškevičiai Manor. In 1875, Count Juozapas Tiškevičius set up the Winter Garden in the conservatory that connects the two separate buildings of Kretinga Manor. The most exotic and rare plants, artificial stones, bridges, golden fishes and event a blue coral from the Red Sea were brought to the conservatory. Moreover, the garden had its owned electric turbine constructed by Count Tiškevičius. Hence, the Winter Garden was the largest private conservatory in Europe at that time.
However, the conservatory with its plants was badly destroyed during the wars, fires, and occupations. During the Soviet era, instead of Winter Garden, the fertilizer warehouse, and later the hospital, cafeteria, greenhouse, and sports hall were established over time. Fortunately, in 1991, the Kretinga Museum took over the conservatory and manor and reconstructed it. Nowadays, there is a total of 3,800 plants present in the conservatory.
Also, in the main buildings of Tiškevičiai Manor, the museum is established with the exposition of crafts and history of Kretinga. The park of Tiškevičiai Manor is also worth exploring. The territory of 23 hectares has an astronomic calendar, Sun Clock, and thirteen sculptures symbolizing ancient Lithuanian traditions and celebrations.
Franciscan Monastery is the oldest church in whole Samogitia - built in 1617 by a Lithuanian soldier and owner of Kretinga Manor, Jonas Karolis Chodkevičius. At that time, the Franciscan monk-hood was established. The monastery has Gothic and Renaissance features. The family of the city founder Chodkevičius is buried underneath the central altar. It is important to mention that all the sarcophagi in the crypt are recognized as unique cultural monuments. Also, one more important fact - it is believed that the altar of St. Anthony has the healing power.
Besides the fabulous Winter Garden, Kretinga also has the Japanese Garden - the largest of this kind in Europe. As the Samogitian people were the last pagans in Europe, the Japanese Garden symbolizes the power of nature and our origin. Unique Japanese park of 16 hectares was established by a Japanese Master Hajime Watanabe and a Lithuanian doctor Šarūnas Kasmauskas.
This small Lithuanian seaside pearl - Kretinga has great things to offer: exotic feelings at the Winter Garden, the oldest monastery in whole Samogitia, and many more things. Also, the town has a train station, so it is perfect for people traveling from Vilnius or Klaipėda. Thus, it is easy to explore this unrevealed gem of Samogitia.
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