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The Ministry of Justice and the Parliament Building

Kaunas, Lithuania
1 of 10
filharnomijos ikonele

The construction of the governmental building, which is on E. Ožeškienės 12, was finished in 1929. The building housed the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Tribunal, and various judicial services. When it was first built, the inscription which states “JUSTITIA EST FUNDAMENTUM REGNORUM” (“Justice is the foundation of the States”) was on the arcade. However, this inscription did not survive. Later, the Parliament began working in this building, starting in 1936. When the Soviet occupation started in 1940, the building was nationalized. Many offices were placed here: the Navigation Board of the Ministry of Waterways, the Design Bureau and the Puppet Theatre. The Philharmonic also moved into the building in 1961.

In 2006 by the decision of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, the Kaunas Branch of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic became an independent concert institution – Kaunas State Philharmonic. In 2005 restoration of the building was started, which lasted for three years. Under the original design, skylights illuminated the hall with natural sunlight. The ceiling structure is preserved, but now it is equipped with electric light, which can illuminate the hall at any time of the day. Another new highlight is the glass terrace overlooking the yard.

It is one of the few buildings specially designed for state institutions in the interwar period. These few examples reveal how the state sought to represent itself in architectural spaces. First of all, the place is characterized by an “official style”, typical to buildings of state institutions. Also, vivid art deco architectural elements reflected the general trends and fashions of that time in Lithuania and Europe. But the aim was not only fashion, but the state also sought to represent its national culture: the capitals of the lobby columns are decorated with folk carvings, folk band ornaments surround the base of the columns, the Gediminas columns are at the top of the main stairs. The building is undoubtedly the largest and most prestigious object designed by architect E. Frykas.

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