Respublic of Paulava (Lithuania)

Merkinė Manor Estate or Respublic of Paulava

In 1767, the priest Povilas Ksaveras Bžostovskis, who had studiet in colleges of Warsaw and Rome, brought the estate of the Merkinė Minor and named it after himself: Paulava. The Merkinė estate was comprised of approx. 3.040 hectares (~ 7.512 acres).

In 1769, Brzostowski founded a micro respublic of Paulava, the statutes of which were approved by the Four – Year Seimas (The Great Sejm (a legislative gathering), also known as the Four – Year Sejm, was a Sejm of the Polish – Lithuanian Commonwealth that was held in Warsaw between 1788 and 1792) in 1791. The Respublic of Paulava home to some 800 people, had its own flag, coat of arms, a military (militia) and potentially minted its own coins. The owner of the estate, who became the president of the respublic, abolished serfdom and replased the corvee (bondage) with Činčas (a land rent), promoted trade, developed various crafts, agriculture, and invested in the education of peasants in the domain of farming.

In 1794, during the Kosciuszko Uprising, the citizens of the Respublic of Paulava defended their state, but the republic nevertheless collapsed. In its 25-year history, the economics and the quality of life of the peasants of the manor had considerably improved.

It is thought that the surviving buildings were built in the 19th century, under the rule of the Kobylinski family, who were the owners of the Merkinė estate at the time. During the Second World War and following the burning of the roof, the manor house entered into a period of decay.

In the Soviet period, the estate housed a collective farm; a regional road the rampart of which crossed the estate grounds was built, which, in turn, distorted the visual structure of the manor house and separated the remaining neogothic gate columns from a small chapel with a sculpture of Crist carrying the cross.

Coordinates: 54.456261, 25.473806

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