Lithuania-Poland-Russia ENPI Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013
Project partners

folow us



 Drawings (ink on paper): Rolandas Marčius
Text: Skaistė Kazarauskaitė-Marčienė 

Monuments route: Gdańsk – Kaliningrad – Klaipėda

 On a Habit to Use the Plinth

In 2012, during the final review of students’ works at the National Gallery of Art, Saulius Leonavičius, MA graduate from Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts, took an artwork from its pedestal (platform), put it on the ground, and after half a minute, returned it back. The art object was Deimantas Narkevičius’ ″Too Long on the Plinth″ (1994). ″About a Habit to Use Plinths″ Saulius Leonavičius. Internet link

Too Long on the Plinth

Deimantas Narkevičius created his artwork ″Too Long on the Plinth″ in 1994 – during the period when Lithuanian society was still living in the climate of essential political and social changes of the early nineties. In that period, the rigid ideological framework that ruled the development of Lithuanuan society for almost fifty years, finally lost its moral authority and power and gave its place to a new system. This artwork is a subtly ironic reflection on the legacy of the political and artistic system that leaves its mark in history. The artist’s means of expression –  a pair of worn classic-style leather boots, filled with coarse salt – make a reference to the heroes’ monuments as the embodiment of the collapsed system of values in the bygone era: as soon as the the political changes began to take place, society immediately took those monuments down from their pedestals. NDG informacija, prieiga per internetą:

A Stranger‘s Past

I have encountered with changes in all things, the absence of old ones, or more precisely, the attachment to the past, quite recently – to be more accurate, I bumped straight into my memories. Nine years after my graduation, here I was again, climbing up the stairs to the fourth floor of the university, as the secretary had told me on the phone: ″The meeting will be in my office, room No. 404″. I was climbing and counting the stairs when, after I reached that floor, I suddenly realized that I came back to the specific corridor of my undergraduate times. For four years, it was here that we would wait for teachers, lectures, performance results, homework, examinations, etc. On the same floor, I had a safe hide-out. There was the Oriental Studies Centre, where my diploma director worked: a woman who would narrow her lids when she was telling us about India, as if she saw the sunset there just yesterday and met the sunrise at home, in Lithuania.

I would spend months leaning over the Sanskrit dictionary in attempts to discover etymological threads of the goddesses’ names, and carefully copying their bases – Heaven forbid that I forget a point or a dot. When I first came around to ask the teacher A. if I could be her student, she invited me to sit on a high couch. I plunged in there with my feet swinging in the air, as if I was sitting on a bridge. The teacher asked me when I was born. She would cast her eye over what was written in the stars for me. I cannot recall what was written there, but she agreed to be my diploma director.

Here I stand in front of the room No. 404, looking for information on teacher A.’s working hours, but I cannot see them. Without knocking, I open the door…There Oriental Studies Centre is no longer there: there are no couches, no Ganesh image glued to the cabinet, no Shiva statues, no tables lined up in an angle, loaded with books. True, there are desks and books, but it’s not the same anymore. Everything has changed.

Similarly, once a small group of people was running about our dorm rooms. They said they had studied at Lund University ten years ago, and had lived in that ″corridor″. We, the new inhabitants of the room, showed them around the rooms (that used to be theirs) indifferently, but they kept saying how things had changed, and recalled many funny stories. Then I did not perceive the state of changes in life, so I did not understand what it meant to ″have changed″.

On the fourth floor, the atmosphere has changed. It is as if everything is the same, but feels different. I want to run and call my groupmates, shouting: ″Can you imagine, everything has changed at the Uni!″. It feels as if I was standing inside the movie ″Goodbye, Lenin″: its character wakes up after a long coma, but over that period, the political regime in Germany has changed – the Berlin Wall has collapsed, and the Iron Curtain has fallen. The woman’s son, fearing that the news would harm his mother‘s fragile health, is hiding the changes from her. A break of Past-Present-The moment. The moment when the continuation of the process breaks down, but the story goes on. The sign of the times are changing, the experiences that keep us together are fading – as if someone would contour with a marker an ink stain on the blotting-paper that has been left in the sun.

Oblivion. Leave the Pedestal – Change the Monument

The silhouettes of Gdańsk, Kaliningrad, and Klaipėda (see the pictures: Rolandas Marčius, ink on paper, 2014) with no reference to their environment. Monuments. Sights. The heroes of the period. Close and distant. The ones that we keep away from and the ones that become our meeting points. The destruction of a monument is like getting rid of or destroying the old political system – like  liberation from the shackles of history. Or vice versa – building a monument marks a new political order. Deimantas Narkevičius’ work, a pair of boots full of coarse salt, dates back to the collapse of the Soviet conjuncture, when new monuments to heroes replaced the previous ones, but the old pedestals remained. After eighteen years, an artist of the new generation took away Narkevičius‘ boots and then put them back – he did not dare to set up another object on the pedestal. By using symbolic forms, such as monuments and commemorative events, society is trying to restore its past in accordance with its present needs.

When professor Leonidas Donskis asked professor Zygmunt Bauman about the relationship between memory and oblivion, for today the memory that is stored in computers, servers, and databases, is not necessary to remember, professor Bauman shared his insight: ″Forgetfulness is due to much more serious reasons. <…> The first reason is the desire of modernity to submerge our collective memory, as well as our shared past, in oblivion. The fact is that the architects of modernism deeply believed in and trusted in the idea that the human potential to change the world is almost endless. So it is not surprising that modernity faced a goal to change the world and get rid of the influence of the past on the present by making it invalid. The ambition was to just sweep away the past, to remove it, so that it would not get in the way of those who planned to re-make people by transforming their natural environment and the very order of the society where they operated. The goal was to adapt both the nature and society to human requirements, needs, desires, and so on. Overall, this audacious, incredibly brave and ambitious program of modernity was to liberate the people from the effects of external circumstances, so that they could follow their own vision of the future rather than the circumstances determined by the past.″ (Fragment of the discussion ″Moral Sensibility in the Age of Uncertainty: Dialogues Between Professor Zigmunt Bauman and professor Leonidas Donskis ″ that took place on October 30, 2013 at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania. Internet link with text in Lithuanian:

The participants in cultural expedition that took place as part of the ″Close Stranger″ project on June 28 k – July 11, 2013, would encounter the monuments in the above-mentioned cities consistently, then incoherently and sometimes by pure chance, and then would take long rides in the loops of memory and oblivion, as if they were roller coasters. True, they have not submitted the photos, but maybe no one really needed ones. I have to admit that in writing this text, I also had to despicably employ online databases, as I never had a chance to meet the living storytellers. Does anyone really remember how the city left the pedestal, but replaced the monument with a new one?

Monuments route: Gdańsk  – Kaliningrad – Klaipėda

Route A. Follow the route. 
Route Z. Nearly everyone wishes to change, break, deviate from, re-group, re-shape or re-design every plan, rule, order, injunction, or anything that is supposed to be followed. A perfect route means – no route.
The monuments that have been hit upon, are described and illustrated below.
Anything that you will find on the way, please write down in the routes B–Z.

Gdańsk (have a look at the photo gallery)

Monument to Maria Konopnicka (Polish: Pomnik Marii Konopnickiej)
Location: Wały Jagiellońskie street, Maria Konopnicka park
Authors: professor, sculptor Franciszek Duszenko
Built in 1977
Maria Stanisława Wasiłowska-Konopnicka (1842–1910) was Polish poet, novelist, literary critic, translator, and women’s rights advocate.

Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers (Polish: Pomnik Fallen Stoczniowców)
Location: Solidarności street
Authors: Bogdan Pietruszka, Wieslaw Szyslak, Wojciech Mokwiński, Jacek Krenz
Built in 1980
In 1970  the gate No. 2 of the Gdańsk shipyard witnessed a bitter strike against the communist regime. The strike killed 45 people. Three crosses with anchors, 42 metres high and weighing nearly 140 tones, have been built in the spot where the first victims of the strike died.

Świętopełk II Monument (Polish: Pomnik Świętopełk II)
Location: Szeroka street
Authors: sculptor Wawrzyniec Samp
Built in 2010
Świętopełk the Great (1190/1200l–1266) was the Duke of Pomerelia. During his life, he constantly fought with his brothers, who were making alliances with Great Poland and the Teutonic Knights Order. Their alliences led Świętopełk to choose pagan Prussian tribes as his allies, so that in in 1242, an internal war in Pomerelia shifted to Prussia and has been referred to as the First Prussian uprising ever since. As the uprising was crushed,  Świętopełk suffered defeat and was forced to apologize to his brothers and other Christians.

Monument to the Defenders of the Polish Post (Polish: Pomnik Obrońców Poczty Polskiej)
Location: Polska Polish Post Obrońców Square
Authors: sculptor Wincent Kućma
Built in 1979
On September 1st, 1939, the German army invaded Poland, attacking the Gdańsk Post office. 57 postal workers withstood the attack for 15 hours, but could not resist any longer. The monument depicts a dying Polish postal employee, who passes the rifle to Nike, goddess of victory.

Monument to Johannes Hevelius (Polish: Pomnik Jana Heweliusza)
Location: Korzenna g.
Authors: sculptor Jan Szczypka
Built in 2006
Jan Heweliusza (spelt Johannes Hevelius in Latin) (1611–1687) was astronomer, brewer, and mayor of Gdańsk. The monument was built in 2006 to commemorate the 395th anniversary of the mayor‘s birthday. Jan Heweliusz discovered four comets and Sobiescianum Scutum (Sobieski’s Shield, now called Scutum) that he named in the honour of Polish and Lithuanian Grand Duke John III Sobieski’s victory over the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Vienna.

Monument to John III Sobieski (Polish: Pomnik Jana III Sobieskiego)
Location: Drzewne Square (Targ Drzewne)
Authors: unknown
Built in 1897
Jan (John) III Sobieski was Polish nobleman and military commander, King of Poland John III and Lithuanian Grand Duke Jonas Sobieskis (1674–1696). The sculpture was built in 1897 to memorialize the King of Poland, who defeated the Turks at Vienna, thereby preventing further penetration of the Ottoman Order in Europe. Firstly, the monument was built in Lvov (now located in Ukraine), then moved to Warsaw in 1950, and finally to Gdańsk in 1965. In the period of changes, the sculpture became a gathering place for demonstrations and marches.

Neptune fountain
Location: Market Square (Długi Targ)
Authors: unknown
Built in 1549
A bronze statue of the god of freshwater and the sea was built in 1549. In 1633, it was turned into a fountain. During World War II, the fountain was hidden. Neptune came back to the Market Square  in 1954. Since 2011–2012, the restored Neptune Fountain in Gdańsk  has served as the symbol of connection to the sea and a centerpiece of the Market Square. The legend tells that Neptune got angry at the people throwing coins into the fountain, struck his trident hook in the water and turned it into gold. Small pieces of gold are still glowing in the bottom of the fountain. That was how Neptune contributed to the birth of the famous Gdańsk infusion ″Goldvasser″ (″Golden Water″ in German).

Monument to the Coast Defenders (Polish: Pomnik Obrońców Wybrzeża)
Location: Sucharskiego street (Gdansk, Westerplatte)
Authors: sculptor Franciszek Duszenko, architect Adam Haupt
Built in 1966
Westerplatte is a peninsula in Gdańsk, located on the Baltic Sea coast. The peninsula is famous for the battle that became the first clash of the German and Polish armies in 1939, at the German invasion of Poland, and thus the first battle of the Second World War in the European war theatre. A 25 meters high monument, composed of 236 blocks of granite, is designed to commemorate the Polish crew.


 Monument to Immanuel Kant (Russian:ПамятникИммануилуКанту)
Location: Universitetskaya street 2 (ул. Университетская, д. 2)
Authors: sculptors Harald Haack and Stanislav Rauch
Re-built in 1992 in accordance to the replica from 1864 by Stanislav Rauch
Sculptor Stanislav Rauch created the bronze statue of the philosopher Immanuel Kant in 1857 in Berlin. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties, the monument was not immediately built in Koenigsberg: the population failed to collect the sufficient funds. But luckily, Karl Rosenkranz, who received royalties for his book ″Koenigsberg and Modern Urbanism″ (″Koenigsberg und der Moderne Stadtbau″), donated the missing amount to his city. The monument was unveiled in 1864 in Prinzessinnenstraße street, and in 1884, it moved to Paradeplatz square next to Koenigsberg University. During the Second World War, when the Russian army was approaching, the monument was hidden. True, the pedestal was used for a certain period of time to host the monument to Ernst Thälmann, the German Communist Party leader. The monument to Immanuel Kant remained undiscovered. In 1992, Prussian-born countess Marion Dönhoff initiated the restoration of the monument replica.

Friedrich Schiller Monument (Russian: Памятник Фридриху Шиллеру)
Location: Prospekt Mira avenue, 4 (пр. Мира, д. 4)
Authors: sculptor Stanislav Cauer
Built in 1910
The bronze monument to the famous German playwright, poet, philosopher, and historian Friedrich Schiller was cast and built in 1910. Why sculptor Stanislav Cauer decided to erect this monument in this city, still remains a puzzle, because Friedrich Schiller never lived in Koenigsberg. The monument was erected on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Koenigsberg Opera. On the occasion of the opening (in 1810), the Opera staged  Schiller’s ″Wilhelm Tell″. During the war, the monument suffered, so it was restored in the 1950s.

Monument to the Battle Tank T-34 (Russian: Памятник ″Танк Т-34″)
Location: Generala Sommera street (ул. Генерала Соммера)
Authors: architect S.P. Miroshnychenko, sculptor V.I. Jakutina
Built in 1980
The most famous tank of Kaliningrad stormed Koenigsberg in 1945, and also stood the fire of  battles in China. The tank rolled to Generala Sommera street in Kaliningrad on its own, and then was immortalized by setting it up on a pedestal. In 2007, the monument was granted the cultural heritage status to commemorate the tankmen as war heroes.

The New Renaissance Arch (Russian Арка ″Новая эпоха возрождения″)
Location: Kant Island, near the Cathedral (Остров Канта, возле Кафедрального собора)
Authors: sculptor A. Tshernitsky
Built in 1983
The sculpture consists of two figures: a male one and a female one, who symbolize the source of inspiration and creativity. Above them, there are portraits of Leonardo Da Vinci, Valentin Serov, Mikhail Lomonosov, Viktor Vasnetsov, Sergey Konenkov ​​and other famous people. The writing on one side of the monument says ″Renaissance″, and on the other – ″New Renaissance″. The man and woman sculptures are bearing ″the challenges of centuries″. The masculine and feminine principles are supposed to be a source of inspiration. The people of Kaliningrad have called these figures Atlas and Caryatide. To pass under the arch of the monument is said to be a good-luck sign.

″The Victory″ composition (Russian: композиция ″Победа″)
Location: Gvardeisky prospekt Avenue (Гвардейский проспект)
Authors: sculptor Juozas Mikėnas
Built in 1946
″The Victory″composition is a part of the Monument to 1200 Guardsmen. Lithuanian sculptor Juozas Mikėnas was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1947. The Monument to the 1200 Guardsmen became the first monument in Koenigsberg (shortly before the city was renamed Kaliningrad) built to commemorate the Soviet soldiers who died at the assault on the city during World War II.

Monument to the Compatriot Cosmonauts (Russian: Памятный знак землякам-космонавтам)
Location: Prospekt Mira Avenue (проспект Мира)
Authors:sculptor B.V. Yedunov
Built in 1980
The monument commemorates the cosmonauts who spent their young years in Kaliningrad and became the first to make cosmic flights: Alexey Leonov, Viktor Patsayev, Yury Romanenko and Alexander Viktorenko. The initial title of the memorial was ″To the Conquerors of the Universe″. The locals call the monument ″Homeboys Cosmonauts″ and ″Survivers from the Nine″. In 2007, the monument gained the status of an object of protected cultural heritage.

Triumphal Column (Russian: Триумфальная колонна)
Location: Pobedy Square (Площадь Победы)
Authors: historian Sergey Trifonov, sculptor Alexander Rukavishnikov
Built in 2005
The Triumphal Column was built in 2005 to mark the 750th anniversary of the city and commemorate the German-Russian struggles. The pillar, symbolizing peace around the world, is a part of the general urban composition ″Two Hundred Years of Glory to Russian Weapons″. The column has four bronze bas-reliefs depicting the four most famous Russian wars: the Seven Year War, the First and Second World wars and the Cossack war against Napoleon. According to the historian Sergey Trifonov, the author of the idea, ″the Triumph column is dedicated to peace. It is meant to remind the four great victories of the Russian nation. As the four sides of the column are occupied by images, there is no more space for war, so we must live in peace and brotherhood″. In 2013, the top of the column was equipped with a three-meter-high Victory Order, whose imagery is reminiscent of its prototype – the highest Soviet military award.

Duke Albrecht Memorial (Russian: Памятник герцогу Альбрехту)
Location: Kant Island, near the Cathedral (Остров Канта, возле Кафедрального собора)
Authors: Johann Friedrich Reusch
Built in 1891, rebuilt in 2005
The memorial is dedicated to Duke Albrecht of Brandenburg (1490–1568), who was the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights Order and the first Duke of Prussia. The Duke’s grave is located in the Cathedral of Koenigsberg.

Through Albrecht of Brandenburg’s efforts, the economy, politics and culture of Prussia began to flourish. In 1542 in Koenigsberg, he founded Collegium Albertinum that served as the basis to establish the University of Koenigsberg (Albertus-Universität) in 1544.

Johann Friedrich Reusch built the bronze scuplture in 1891 in one of the Koenigsberg Castle towers. In 1935, the monument was moved to another castle tower. During the war, it survived the bombing and the assault on the city, but after a while, it disappeared. Kaliningradians initiated the return of the monument: in 2005, a copy of the sculpture was built next to the cathedral of Koenigsberg. The works were completed by F. Morozov and A. Shevtsov.


Location: between the Kulių Gates (Kulių vartai) and Taikos Avenue (Taikos prospektas).
Authors: sculptor D. Matulaitė, architect R. Buivydas
Built in 1983
The sculpture depicts a woman carrying two ships on her shoulders. The expression of the idea that she is a giant lies the maximum exertion and the concentrated energy of the sculptural forms rather than in the large scales of the composition. Ascending upwards, the figuratuve and emotional intensity accumulates at the top of the sculpture: the head of giant Neringa with her individualized features crowns the image of the sailing ship, the wings and the central axis of the composition. Neringa’s austere face type resembles the harsh seaside nature. The monumental composition with its winding gradual paths and the stair steps around the sculpture evokes the rippling sea or the dunes that the wind has drifted.

The Monument to Soldiers Who Died During the World War II (Lithuanian: Paminklas žuvusiems per II Pasaulinį karą)
Location: Sculpture Park, among K. Donelaitis street, Liepų street, Trilapio street and S. Daukanto street (Klaipėdos skulptūrų parkas, tarp K. Donelaičio, Liepų, Trilapio ir S. Daukanto g.)
Authors: architect P. Sadauskas
Built in 1975
The monument marks the burial place of Russian soldiers (about 700 Russian soldiers) who died in in 1945. Here, the eternal flame is burning. The nine-meter sculpture has the shape of a hanging sword.

Monument to Kristijonas Donelaitis (Lithuanian: Paminklas Kristijonui Donelaičiui)
Location: Liepų street, near the Faculty of Arts of Klaipėda University (Liepų g., šalia Klaipėdos universiteto Menų fakulteto)
Authors: sculptor Petras Deltuva
Built in 1974
Kristijonas Donelaitis was the pioneer of Lithuanian literature. There is no extant image of the classic, so the sculpture was created on the basis of only anthropological data. The initial idea was to use the sculpture to decorate the Donelaitis school lobby, but since the statue was too massive, it has stood in the square that bears the classic’s name.

Sculpture ″Ann of Tharau″ and the Monument to Simonas Dachas (Lithuanian: Skulptūra „Taravos Anikė“ ir paminklas Simonui Dachui)
Location: Theatre Square (Teatro aikštė)
Authors: unknown
Built in 1912
The fountain built in 1912 at the Theatre Square commemorates Simonas Dachas, the poet who was born in Klaipėda and worked as professor at the Koenigsberg University. The sculpture depicts a charmingly young barefoot girl – one of the characters of his poems. The people of Klaipėda raised funds to build the Simonas Dachas fountain. Lithuanian people from Klaipėda region also made substantial contributions to set up the monument. It was the first memorial of humanitarian content in this region. Its lyricism, romantic aura and democratic character made it strikingly different from other official monuments in the city.

The love song ″Little Ann of Tharau″ is still sung in Germany, as well as in Switzerland and Austria. It has been among the German folk songs, and people say that the bells at Munich Town hall still ring out the melody of this song.

Fisherman (Lithuanian: Žvejys)
Location: in front of the Town Hall, Danės street  (priešais Rotušę, Danės gatvėje)
Authors: sculptor K. Kisielius, architect P. Šadauskas
Built in 1971
K. Kisielius’ sculpture ″Fisherman″ was set up in front of the former Town Hall in 1971, during the Sea Festival. Previously, the location used to host the Borussia memorial that was erected there in 1907 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon. The Borussia monument was also referred to as the National monument, for Klaipėda was the only city in Prussia that Napoleon’s troops did not occupy. After 1923, the participants in the Lithuanian uprising took down the monument, and brought it to the City Hall courtyard. In the late 1930s, the growing

nationalist moods of the native Germans in the region contributed to the restoration of the monument. During the Second World War, the monument was gone, and the Soviet times replaced it with the ″Fisherman″ sculpture. Around the statue, there is a fountain that functions in the summer.

 The Arch – Monument to the United Lithuania (Lithuanian: „Arka“ – paminklas vieningai Lietuvai)
Location: end of Tiltų street, beginning of H. Manto street (Tiltų g. pabaiga, H. Manto g. pradžia)
Authors: sculptor Arūnas Sakalauskas
Built in 2003.
The Arch Monument was built in Klaipėda to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the Tilsit Act and the 80th anniversary of the return of the Klaipėda Region to Lithuania. The monument weighs 150 tons and is 8.5 meters high. The smaller column from red granite symbolizes Lithuania Minor and its cultural heritage, while the gray column is the symbol of the Great Lithuania. The top part of the monument that looks like a chipped-off piece, depicts Koenigsberg (Kaliningrad), now a part of Russia. The phrase carved on the monument is a saying by Lithuanian writer Ieva Simonaitytė: ″We are one nation, one land, one Lithuania″.

Monument to Herkus Mantas (Lithuanian: Paminklas Herkui Mantui)
Location: H. Manto street, next to the building at H. Manto str. 38 ( H. Manto gatvė, prie pastato H. Manto g. 38)
Authors: sculptor Vytautas Mačiuika, architect Gytis Tiškus
Built in 1983
The 4 meters high monument to the battlemaster, depicting the great Prussian commander, was a work in progress for as long as twelve years. In 1971, the city executive committee chairman Alfonsas Žalys gave his blessing to the sculptor Vytautas Mačiuika’s idea. However, the sculpture building process was stopped in fear of reaction from the Moscow authorities. The permission to build the monument was issued only in 1982, when the general secretary Leonid Brezhnev died. Officially, the sculpture was titled ″The Guard″. It was only during its unveiling ceremony that a mention was made that the sculpture was an image of Herkus Mantas, a Prussian commander who revolted against the occupation by the Crusaders. Later, the high authorities in Moscow would receive letters informing them that ″Klaipėda erected a monument to some kind of German-Prus″.

 Monument to the Klaipėda Revolt of 1923 (Lithuanian: Paminklas 1923 m. sukilimui Klaipėdoje)
Location: Sculpture Park, among K. Donelaitis street, Liepų street, Trilapio street and S. Daukanto street (Klaipėdos skulptūrų parkas, tarp K. Donelaičio, Liepų, Trilapio ir S. Daukanto g.)
Authors: sculptor Adomas Brakas
Built in 1925
The Klaipėda Sculpture Park hosts the monument to the participants in the 1923 uprising, as well as the graves of the rebels who died in the battle for reunification of Klaipėda and Lithuania. The monument-obelisk is an authentic demarcation (frontier) post that once divided Lithuania Minor from the Great Lithuania.

Untitled, back cube
The Pedestal Left for Your Sculpture
Title (please fill in) 
Built in:
Please create and write down the story of the monument 


* The information on the monuments comes from various internet sources.