OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

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Neries krantinė


Audronė: „Prie Neries nevyko nieko įdomaus.

*Audronė:* „Prie Neries nevyko nieko įdomaus. Ten eidavome žvejot. Kol nepastatė Heso, būdavo gražūs, didingi ledonešiai. potvyniai. Bet per krantinę nesiliedavo, užliedavo tik tą stadioną, dabartinį parką. Ten buvo nuožulnus kraštas, nebuvo dabartinio pylimo. Kokio dydžio ledai būdavo! Žiemos kaip reikiant, pilną aikštę privaro ledų ir paskui jie tirpsta vos ne iki gegužės mėnesio.“ (2019)

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13 0311 DG paminklas ziema mes 074
1993

Darius and Girėnas Monument


The funniest part was to spin circles around the monument with my Nikon, which was used but still great.

The funniest part was to spin circles around the monument with my Nikon, which was used but still great. I brought it back from a trip. Before leaving, I used half a film taking photos with my Zenit camera, capturing the monument which had not been fully built yet, and in June, I used the rest of the film in my new camera to capture the installation the sculpture. I was in time to the see the test installation of the sculpture, and later the actual procedure. When the team of construction workers made sure that everything was OK, some of them even started to pose, as if they gained some significant award. It somewhat reminded of a different photo, the completion of the railway that connected the Western and the Eastern banks... It was probably the first time when I saw all the benches in Sporto Alėja (Sport’s Avenue) occupied: people watched the installation of the sculpture as some show. The monument was uncovered on 17 July 1993 and it was probably the largest rally-type even in Kaunas after the restoration of Independence.

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3. Solveiga Lukminaite. Kauno Laisves al. fontanas 1996 m. vasara
1994 / 1998

Fountain in Laisvės Ave


Solveiga Lukminaitė: My memories related to Laisvės alėja (Avenue) are only positive ones.

*Solveiga Lukminaitė: *My memories related to Laisvės alėja (Avenue) are only positive ones. It is the main central street of Kaunas, popular not only among its residents, but its guests as well. In my opinion, the fountain at Laisvės Avenue is the main symbol of the city. At the same time, it is its central point, a popular place for meetings and dates to start off. This place has remained important for me since an early childhood. Back them, I would go there often with my parents on weekends, and, of course, stand in front the fountain for a while to enjoy the spray of water during the heat, or look at a Christmas tree around the Christmas time. We would often take photos in front of the fountain. I would usually be the main character captured in these photos, of course. Back then, photographers would stand next to the fountain with big toys and invite to have your photo taken for a small fee. It was a great attraction. So, I still have more than one photo from my childhood with a giant toy next to the fountain in Laisvės Avenue. Even now, while I still study, the fountain is an important place where I come almost every day. It is a place, which I cross going to my classes almost daily, also it is a place where I meet my friends. (2015)

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The Zoo


Kęstutis: "We were living at Gričiupio Street, where the current KTU student campus is located.

*Kęstutis*: "We were living at Gričiupio Street, where the current KTU student campus is located. Previously, it was a village on the outskirts of the city, however now it is almost the city centre. It was an international neighbourhood. My best friends were German-born children. Also, there lived many Russians and some Poles. Of course, there were Lithuanians, too. There was a zoo nearby, around 300–400 meters away. It was very interesting to go there through the fence, of course, without a ticket. Once, together with my friends, among whom I was the youngest, we decided to hunt ducks with bows at the zoo. I was waiting on the hill while my friends were at the bottom. They returned very quickly because someone was chasing them. We came back home without our bows. Probably I was very scared because even today I remember that fear."

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Demolition of Stalinas Monument


Eugenija: "I remember, when they destroyed Stalin’s monument.

Eugenija: "I remember, when they destroyed Stalin’s monument. The windows of our apartment were facing the appendix. From the window I could say that the traffic had been stopped, people couldn’t walk across the street, nor go down the street of Parodos. A truck arrived. It was dark, a lot of police. I saw how they threw ropes on it, pulled them and demolished it. The leftover pieces were put in the truck. A policeman was even standing near the gates of our yard." (2019)

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Laisvės Alėja (Freedom Avenue)


Laisvės alėja (Freedom Avenue)

Laisvės alėja (Freedom Avenue)

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Prieplauka


Audronė: „Prieplaukos krantinę vadindavom cimbruvka.

*Audronė:* „Prieplaukos krantinę vadindavom cimbruvka. Gyvenimas prie upės vyko pilnu tempu. Buvo ir laivų, ir garlaivių, ir dyzelinių, ir garinių – visokių. Pavasarį atitempdavo dviejų aukštų prieplauką: antrame aukšte – restoranas, pirmame – kasos, aptarnavimas. Buvo du gariniai garlaiviai, su dideliais ratais, plaukdami keldavo dideles bangas – Kęstutis ir Ždanovas. Valtimi nuo tos prieplaukos kilnodavo į Marvelę. Bėgdavome pasitikti garlaivių. Žmonės atplaukdavo su gyvom vištom ir žąsim. Vyko judrus gyvenimas. Vakarais daug kas eidavo į restoraną. Jį atplukdydavo su barža. Rudenį nuvilkdavo į žiemos uostą saloj, kurio irgi dabar nebėra. /..../

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Ramybės park (Kaunas Old Cemetery)


Eugenija: "I lived nearby.

Eugenija: "I lived nearby. I crossed the street, where there currently stands a Russian school. That’s how I walked into the cemetery. There was a mosque there, benches, the backyard of the school. Later they started dismantling everything there, diggings began, excavators came and they wouldn’t let us walk there anymore. I would only walk near the mosque and with the trolley I would then go to the central path. I saw that they were dismantling it, but from far away. That side was fixed just until the central path. Just as you walked in through the main entrance, on the right side there was a row of crosses made out of cement for soldiers. They were for Lithuanian volunteers. After a while they were all dismantled, replaced by benches and there sat “grannies” who jabbered. When they were dismantling the other side, near the orthodox church, you couldn’t see a thing. The dismantling there was grave. You could go to the marketplace by Vytautas avenue. I used to see a lot of people there, that would go on walks. Although I live really near, I just need to cross the street, this place is not a park to me even now. It’s a cemetery. I can’t be there. I get a bad feeling. One time an extrasens (medium) came to the city, she was showed around it. Although I don’t know why. the extrasens lady said that this place was no good. There were a lot of dead peoples’ bodies which weren’t transferred. There’s a bad aura. My son feels the same. He doesn’t take walks there and doesn’t walk the dogs. When I used to go on walks there, the mausoleum of Darius and Girėnas was still there. I was down there to take a look at it. But it was empty, the graves were no longer there. I saw the graves of Darius and Girėnas in the institute.

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Edita 1963 m erzina liutus
 

Lions of the War Museum


Rimantas: “This photo of my daughter Edita is taken in 1963, when she was 3.5-years-old.

*Rimantas*: “This photo of my daughter Edita is taken in 1963, when she was 3.5-years-old. I liked taking photos since my very childhood, we used to visit the garden in front of the Museum of War quite often, and this was where I captured her photo teasing the lions. I was working in a special scientific workshop, where various architectural and historic monuments were restored. Among many preserved architectural monuments in Lithuania, I also contributed to the repair of facades and interior of M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum and Museum of War. Your initiative inspired me to browse old photo archives. While looking for this photo, I looked through photos and slides featuring the construction of the Open-Air Museum of Lithuania, restoration of the Town Hall and Town Hall (Rotušės) Square, as well as reconstruction of The House of Perkūnas, the spire of Vytautas Magnus Church and many other monuments. Thus, I immersed into memories...” (2018)

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Nemunas str. 14, 14 b


Eglė: Hens running across the yard, pigs being farmed behind the house and the old horse of Kaunas silently sitting in the garage...

*Eglė:* Hens running across the yard, pigs being farmed behind the house and the old horse of Kaunas silently sitting in the garage... It is a description of a casual rural household after World War II, of one of the buildings located in Nemunas Street. Described as the Red-light district during the interwar period, the street was many times called the Venice of Kaunas as well, as the overflowing river used to flood the street. Despite the street being unknown to many tourists, and a few of who live in Kaunas since birth having been there, locals are full of memories. It is known that since the 1870’s, the property of land belonged to the town dweller Chaim Gidoni and after his death in 1876; to his family’s generations. In 1900, two-storey buildings (now Nemunas St. 14 and 14B) of red brick masonry were built. Later, in 1927 the property was sold to Benjamin Gruzdas, who was the owner of a jewellery store in Laisvės Avenue and the official provider of Omega watches. The oldest residents remember themselves being children, sitting in the house and watching playfully the overflowing river. Together with floating giant floes (heet of floating ice) the river used to flood almost up to the windows of the ground floor of the Nemunas St. 14B building. Ms. Elena was one of these children, who grew up listening to the clamour of children’s voices and saw adults organising birthday celebrations with food, music and dances until sunrise. However, not all of the memories cause nostalgia. According to Mr. Levas, several tragic accidents have happened: during one of the floods, a woman drowned when she accidentally fell into the basement, a German military officer jumping out from the balcony of building 14B, and one woman burned alive in the fire of a storehouse where she lived. Another local resident, Romas, remembers the times when several families had to live in one small apartment. Once, his mother hosted two students, who protested against the Soviet Union government by sewing so called “granny” pants out of the union’s flag and hanging it on the fence next to the parterre. These past stories allow people to feel the spirit of the street and re-live every moment experienced by former residents of Nemunas street.

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Nauja Romuva
1993

Romuva cinema


Vitalijus: I remember Romuva from my childhood.

*Vitalijus: *I remember Romuva from my childhood. A very long time ago, when my brother and I were little, we saw Phantomas here. Behind the cinema, there was an ice-rink, and we would go there to have fun with other children. Cinema was not an expensive entertainment option back then. It would cost 10 kopeks for children, and evening screenings, the most popular ones, would cost 70 kopeks. The room was divided into areas: more expensive in the front and less expensive in the back.

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kki ledo ciuozykla
1956 / 1961

Ice-rink in Žaliakalnis


The ice rink in front of the State Institute of Physical Education was a favourite place for the youth of Žaliakalnis

The ice rink in front of the State Institute of Physical Education was a favourite place for the youth of Žaliakalnis

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All memories

SITES OF MEMORY

1 Projects 114 11 Routes
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Our memory is framed by spatial reference points: places, sites, buildings, and streets give us our bearings and enable us to anchor and order our memories. So, the material alteration of these places can lead to the substantial modification of our memories, and even their disappearance.
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