LoginJoin us
Forgot Password
Add to Collection

Kaunas Central Post Office

Kaunas, Lithuania
1 of 14
The Central Post Office Building

The Kaunas Central Post Office is one of the most important representative buildings of the city in the interwar period. At the same time, it is the most significant structure of this functional type built in interwar Lithuania. Although the need for the Kaunas Central Post Office became apparent as early as 1924, construction of the post office began in 1930, the year of the 500th anniversary of the death of Vytautas the Great. The post office building was dedicated to the occasion: a plaque with the medal of Vytautas the Great on both sides, inscribed in golden letters, was placed in the right-hand side, indicating what led to the construction of the place between 1930 and 1931. The architect who designed the building, Feliksas Vizbaras, was at that time a senior inspector at the Ministry of Communications (although the design of the Central Post Office had been prepared a little earlier by Kleopas Gaigalis, an engineer in the construction department of the Post Office).

Although the curved strip windows make the building one of the forerunners of Lithuanian functionalism, Feliksas Vizbaras perceived his building first and foremost as an example of the "national style", which was decorated with, among other things, a neckcloth woven by "one of the Skapiškis weavers, an unknown weaver from the unknown town of Skapiškis." Even the principles of modernism - "in designing this palace, the author has adopted the requirements of today's modern construction: more space and light, a clear division of the dwellings, and the avoidance of unnecessary so-called architectural embellishments" - are linked to the desire to "have a clear picture in front of your eyes," which is typical of the Lithuanian way of life. The interior of the post office is richly decorated with works by the most famous artists of the time: "The top of the hall is decorated with the signs of Vilnius, Grodno and Klaipėda, and three paintings by the artist Šimonis, the middle of which depicts a Lithuanian woman with a shield with a Vytis emblazoned on it, and in the distance the Gediminas Mountain. A little lower down, around the entire hall, 103 Lithuanian postage stamps by Kalpokas".

The multi-storey building (5 storeys and a basement), with modern lifts, a spacious operating theatre, comfortable working conditions (even showers for employees), and an electric clock installed in 1935 on the main façade, made it one of the most important architectural landmarks of the temporary capital. The Post Office is a very close blend of modern architectural ideas and the "national style", which was very much alive at the time. It is one of the most organic combinations of the two ideological engines of interwar architecture - modernity and nationalism. The location of the post office also encouraged other functional nodes of the communication system of the time to be concentrated in this place - in 1935, another important telecommunication object was built on the site of the post office - an automatic telephone exchange with a telegraph (architect Feliksas Vizbaras).

For ideological reasons, in 1952, the wall paintings of the operations room, which had previously been in the new owners' hands, were destroyed. The original appearance of the interior was further altered by alterations in 1978-1980: the upper windows of the operating theatre were glazed with stained-glass windows with the signs of the Zodiac (by Jonas Bulavas), and the walls of the theatre were covered with veneered panels, while those of the lobby were covered with dolomitic panels. At the end of the 20th century, after the restoration of Lithuania's independence, attempts were made to restore the symbolic content of the Postal House by unveiling memorial plaques on the facade and the lobby, and by installing the sides of the Vytautas the Great Medal on the external plaque. In 1996, the interior of the operations hall was renovated in an attempt to restore its original appearance (architect Nijolė Švėgždienė), but the restorers lacked visual material, so the lost decorative details (the frieze of postage stamps, allegorical paintings on the theme of Lithuanian statehood) were restored on the basis of the analogy principle.

At the beginning of the 21st century, as the demand for postal services declined, the post office shrank until finally, on 18 November 2019, the Post House was finally closed, and the central post office was moved to the Akropolis shopping centre.

View article
View article