Plungė’s district is situated in the Northern West of Lithuania. The cultural heritage of Plungė region is rich in both material and nonmaterial senses. We can still hear the Samogitian dialect today in the region and find traces of the region’s noble past in its old cemeteries, urban development, unique scenery and particularly alive traditions of folk art. Plungė district is proud of having the most magnificent and well kept ensemble of the duke M. Oginskis' mansion which attracts attention of every visitor.
There are 9 reservations, 6 natural landscape objects preserved by the state, 4 parks, 13 mounds, 40 monuments of architecture, 29 monuments of art and sculptures in Plungė region. There are 3 mythological stones, 4 graves of famous people and 3 native lands of famous people.
Reservations and natural objects
Some of reservations and natural landscape objects preserved by the state are in the preserved territories of Plungė region. The most unique preserved territory is Žemaitija's national park, the largest part of which is situated in Plungė's region. In the region there are geomorphologic reservations and natural landscape reservations of Gandinga, Minija and Ruškys. The region is famous for its unique landscape objects like stone “Galąstuvas” (“Whetstone”) situated in Žlibinai forest not far from the Vilka rivulet and stone “Dievo stalas" ( the God’s table”) situated in the 88th section of Keturakiai forest, the forestry of Purvaičai.
Interesting natural objects:
- hydrological ones- Plokščiai spring (in the 73rd and 74th sections of Plokštinė forest), Pilelis spring (45th and 46th sections of Paplatelė forest);
- hydrographical ones – Auksalė peninsula, Kreiviškiai peninsula, the islands of the Plateliai lake: Briedsalė, Veršio, Pilies;
- botanical ones – the lime-tree of Plateliai, the oak of Stirbaičiai (the 5th section of Stirbaičiai forest).
All the above mentioned natural monuments are in Žemaitija national park.
Visitors also get admired by Mingėla oak by the road Plungė-Kuliai and Perkūno oak in the park of Plungė and Raganos ash-tree in the park of Plateliai. The region is famous for its parks planted by people who love nature and beauty. These parks are significant for their rare flora, unique planning and interesting history.
Monuments of history, archeology and architecture
The following objects should be noted: the house in Kuliai where writer J.Tumas-Vaižgantas lived in 1898-1901, the house of writer Šatrijos Ragana not far from Medingėnai, the house in Plungė in which painter and composer M.K. Čiurlionis and writer S.Kymantaitė-Čiurlionienė lived in 1909, the house-museum in Bukantė, the native land of writer Žemaitė and the building of music school which operated in 1874-1903. Also cemeteries and graves of fighters for Lithuanian independence and graves of folk sculptor S. Riauba, poet V. Mačernis and book-distributor V. Juška.
In the region there is one camp of the Stone Age (in Šarnelė), 13 mounds (Gandinga, Gintališkė, Lapaičiai, Norvaišiai, Naujasodis (2), Plungė, Žemaičių Kalvarija, Pūčkoriai and others), 7 mounds for sacrifice (Alkas, Gilaičiai, gandinga, Mikytos, Užupiai, Vilkai and Vieštovėnai), 1 burial mound (Pribitka), 47 burial grounds. All the objects mentioned above show a rich historic past of the region.
Styles which prevailed in Western Europe are reflected in architectural monuments of the region. These styles have remained in the elements of the former manor ensembles, complexes of churches and belfries, dwelling houses, squares and blocks of the towns.
Boroughs of Alsėdžiai and Žemaičių Kalvarija with their network of streets, squares and spatial compositions are preserved as the monuments of the urban architecture. The following original monuments of architecture – farmsteds - could be mentioned: P.Stonkutė’s in Medsėdžiai, P.Mingėla’s in Vieštovėnai, house (palace) in Mižuikiai, house and the road side pole with the statuette of the saint in Rudaičiai. The following barns are also considered to be the monuments of architecture: J.Šimkus’ in Vieštovėnai, Z.Baržinskas’ in Medsėdžiai, K.Stonkus’ in Luknėnai.
The ensembles of former manors of Plungė and Šateikiai and their parks have interesting and high architectural value as well.
Monuments of art
Art monuments make a huge and valuable part of cultural heritage. They are professional art pieces of various styles and ages including folk art. There are more than 70 such pieces of art in the region: wall-painting and sculpture (1), stained-glass (24), portrets, stations of Christ’s road (3), sculptures of saints (35), gravestones (2). Most of them are in churches, chapels and belfries.
In this region of Žemaitija there are lots of art monuments in natural surroundings: 57 village chapels, 5 crosses with ornaments, 64 road side poles with the statuettes of the saints. They were created by gifted folk artists S.Riauba, J.Paulauskas, K.Mockus and others.