A museum in Vilnius will no longer have the name of A. Pushkin – it will now become the Markučiai Manor Museum
The Vilnius City Council has renamed the Literary Museum of A. Pushkin opened in the 1950s to the historic Markučiai Manor.
“We have several excellent manors in suburbs of Vilnius city, including Verkiai, Trakų Vokė Manor, and we have a very beautiful Markučiai Manor, which obtained the halo of a museum of Russian literature, and the name of A. Pushkin due to the family ties of the owners, at some time. But we are reloading this story, going back to the historical name used at the beginning of the 20th century. It will still have accents of Russian culture in Lithuania, but there will also be additional activities,” said Remigijus Šimašius, the Mayor of Vilnius.
The Council’s decision also paves the way for the rent of St Barbara’s Chapel on the estate. According to the Mayor, it will become a support and meeting point for Orthodox priests who are no longer under the dictatorship of the Moscow Patriarchate, and who have just received a confirmation of the Patriarch of Constantinople that they can carry out their pastoral activities. “They will be able to celebrate the Orthodox Easter here with the believers, if they see it fit,” said Remigijus Šimašius.
The name of the Markučiai Manor Museum has been approved with the Ministry of Culture, the State Lithuanian Language Commission and the Faculty of History of Vilnius University. The new name is much more in line with the museum’s current activities, as the museum is engaged in publishing research, holding exhibitions, lectures, and educational activities, which reveal the historical and cultural heritage of Vilnius manors and the entire Lithuania. In the future, while updating the museum’s concept and content, the plan is to further focus on the preservation and development of the historical and cultural heritage and the Markučiai Park.
In the early 20th century (1899-1905), owners of the building also called it the Markučiai Manor – this is reflected in the will of the last owner of the manor, Varvara Pushkina. By the way, Pushkin had never been to Vilnius himself.
In the distant past, the present territory of Markučiai belonged to Elena, wife of Grand Duke Alexander, then – to the families of Kishka, Chodkevičiai and many other owners. Archaeologists have found fragments of the foundations of the old Kiska-Chodkevičiai palace in the adjacent forest.
The origin of the name of the Markučiai settlement is not entirely clear: there is information on the fact that for some time, the area was called Sakalaičiai (Sokoloycie), Swistopol (Swistopol), in conjunction with the name of Markučiai (and at times Markučiai was its only name). Nowadays, this calm settlement is conventionally called Markučiai. According to the linguist Jonas Jurkštas, the place name may have originated from the names and surnames of peasants who lived here – they all may have sounded similar, for example, Markus, Morkus, Morkūnas, or Markutis.