5 Things You Must Do And See in Palanga
1. The Most Holy Virgin Mary’s ascension church in Palanga
The Most Holy Virgin Mary’s Ascension Church in Palanga was built more than hundred years ago and attracts almost every gaze of the passers-by with its neo-gothic beauty and greatness. There are also something to be admired inside: an impressive pulpit and three skilfully made marble altars decorated with bas-reliefs brought from France. The central altar bears the image of Mary Mother of God mentioned as early as in the 17th century. The other two wooden altars situated in the side naves were brought from the former wooden church.
The first small wooden Catholic Church in Palanga was built in 1540 at the initiative of Ona Jogailaitė. Another cross-shaped church with a tower and a bell tower was built in 1590 at the initiative of Lithuanian authorities. In 1767, the wooden church was rebuilt again and survived for 140 years. In 1897, a construction of a new neo-gothic church designed by a Swedish architect Karl Eduard Strandmann was started next to the old wooden church. The construction works were funded by count Feliksas Tiškevičius. In 1907, when the construction of the brick church was completed, the old wooden church was destroyed.
2. Birutė park
Comfortable relaxation in Palanga cannot be imagined not only without the sea but also without a walk in one of the most beautiful parks in Northern Europe – Birute Park. This resort area called the pearl of Palanga is adorned every year in order to make it even more attractive to holidaymakers. The novelty of this year, an overnight lighting of the park, allows resort visitors watching the sunset to continue their memorable romantic evening in the cosy shelter of nature.
Birute Park is a great place for quiet and comfortable family relaxation, therefore, parents and their children, young people as well as senior Palanga residents or visitors enjoy spending their time here. Traditionally, three times a week on every summer Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. brass music fans gather in park rotunda where professional orchestra of Palanga gives free concerts for the residents and guests of Palanga in the surroundings of nature. The series of chamber music concerts “Night Serenades” (lt. “Nakties serenados”) is just another traditional event that has been celebrating Palanga, Birute Park and Amber Museum for more than a decade.
The park bursts into colourful blossoms in September when Days of Birute Park are organized. This event is for the enthusiasts preferring quiet and comfortable outdoors relaxation.
3. Sea pier with square
It is impossible to imagine Palanga without the Sea Pier, a place attracting everyone. Beautiful scenery of dunes, yellow beaches and limitless sea open before the eyes of onlooker, the sounds of the sea and shrieks of seagulls fill in the air. Evenings may be comfortably spent on the benches with loved ones watching amazing sunsets.
At the end of the 19th century Palanga was ruled by Counts Tiškevičiai. They decided to build a dock for ships that could be used to transport bricks made in counts’ brickyard. The dock was built in 1884-1888 and vessel “Phoenix” cruised to Klaipeda and Liepaja. Later, when the export of bricks failed, the ship was used for transportation of passengers. Unfortunately, after storms the dock would be covered in sand, therefore, it was realized that the bridge was not suitable for navigation. The sculpture “Jūratė and Kastytis” (sculptress N. Gaigalaitė) that became another symbol of the resort was built in the nearby square in 1961.
4. The coastal artillery battery Memel – nord and the cliff
Information on these secret military objects is scarce. It is known that they were built at the beginning of the World War II. In March 1939, after Klaipėda region was attached to Germany, in preparations to march East, Germans started building a naval port and coastal fortifications. The coastal defence fort North of the Dutchman's Cap was most likely built and equipped circa 1940, when the USSR occupied Lithuania and thus moved closer to the Northern border of Germany.
The cliff of the Dutchmans Cap (a parabolic dune emerged 24.4 m from the sea) is constantly eroded by the beat of the waves and falls to the seaside by the slant of 20-22 meters height. From the earliest times the Dutchmans Cap was overgrown by the old pine and oak forest and was a big contrast to the sand plain, which had stretched around. The hill was a good guide for seamen and fishermen.
5. Kretinga Museum
Kretinga museum was opened on the 12th of July in 1935. During the war the museum was closed, but in 1945 it was reopened by the engineer Ignas Jablonskis. From 1977 to 1991 the museum functioned in the premise of monks Franciscans and later it was moved to the palace of Count Tiškevičius. The main collections were built up in 1956-1975 with the help of the historian Juozas Mickevičius. At present in its vaults the museum has 63893 exhibits. They are divided into archaeological, numismatic, ethnographic, textile, historic living conditions, iconographic, document collections, printed matters, fine and applied arts and collections phaleristics and small memorial architecture.
The best group of exhibits is the collection of iconography, which contains the photographs and albums of the Tiškevičiai family, the collection of post-cards belonging to the First World WAR, photographs and cards with the views of the old Kretinga. The most valuable collection is that of the old folk sculptures, collected from devastated shrines and the pictures of the Path of Christ’s Torture, painted on wooden boards and brought from Kretinga estate in the XVII century, the picture by Valentine de Boulogne “For Evangelists” and “Madona”, painted by an unknown painter.
The museum keeps within the law: everything is solid and compact, attractive, everything is for a visitor. A well organized service system is created in favour of visitors, starting from the rooms of display and leading to pleasant rest. Expositions, variety of services provided attract visitors to the museum. About 80 thousand of them come to Kretinga every year. The priorities of the museum have become scientific-investigative, cultural-educational activities, spread of tourism information. Since 2002 the museum has obtained the functions of tourism development. The museum organizes camps of creativity for folk artists, the works of which decorate the town, mark historical places of the region.