vyrud (vyrud) wrote,

Rusne - the biggest island and township in Lithuania

Today I want to propose trip to the township Rusnė. This township is located on the island formed by the Nemunas river delta. Both the island and township has the same name:

The township isn't big but it has several unique properties for the Lithuanian scale.

Rusne is located in the delta of Nemunas river exactly at the border with the modern Kaliningrad district of Russia. But for a very long time Rusne itself belonged to the East Prussia province formed on the debris of Teutonic order state and belongs to Lithuania from 1923. This map shows were Rusnė is situated:

For the first time Rusnė island was mentioned in 1365: this island was given as a privilege to the residents of Kalipėda (Memel). In 1419 the church was built here and small township began to grow around. The residents of this township always had two main occupations - the fishery and agriculture on the fertile local lands.Just before the WWI in the Rusne area lived about 7 thousand residents - 3750 of them Lithuanian-speaking while the rest German-speaking. At the end of XIXth century Rusne even had own typography and local press. So Rusnė can't be called town but also it can't be called village. Today also locals has two same traditional occupations - fishery or the work in the agricultural association "Rusnė".

The Rusnė is connected with the district center Šilutė by single but probably the most famous road in Lithuania. Why it's most famous ? Since each year in spring or sometimes in winter or other time of the year this year is flooded and goes below the water. So each year for some time this township is separated from the rest of the world. And this is despite the fact that part of the road goes on the skyway:

Electric poles near the road :)

The road ends by this bridge. If you think that this is Nemunas river you are not right - this is one of the two biggest it's offshoots - Atmata:

Some signs shows that locals also has some untypical occupations for the rest of the country:

Once old bridge called Peters bridge stood nearby but it didn't survived to our days. Only this old chandelier and the cafeteria with the name "Near Peters bridge" commemorates it:

The administration of Rusnė is situated in the soviet period building which architects tried to resemble style of the local architecture:

The same is true for the local kindergarten:

The monument in the center of Rusnė - of course naval topic should be used :)

Rusnė has several brick buildings typical for the Prussian style as this post office:

Another unknown purpose building from the same period:

But probably most original part of Rusnė is it's wooden buildings. East Prussia as the rest of the Germany had very few wooden houses at the beginning of XXth century but this township is some exception. And style of them is rather different than in the rest of Lithuania. So wooden buildings "German" style :))

Among them you can find several nicely restaurated houses as this one: probably they are owned by not locals - arrivals who spent here summer time:

This homestead is protected as an "etnographic homestead":

These cottages are "fake: I am sure: they are built recently mimicking the style of the region:

Water, water everywhere:

Tools of work for the part of local residents:


In the center of Rusnė you can find Lutheran church. It was built in 1419 but was significantly reconstructed in 1642 when got modern look. But it's tower with defensive openings remembers XVth century. It seems that these days church is almost unused since today very local residents are Lutherans:

And one more detail that distinguish Rusnė from other similar size townships in "greater Lithuania" - school building. Built around 1900 it shows how rapidly Germany was developing that period - in other part of Lithuania in such small townships such high quality for the period public buildings were only distant dream:

Around 2000 the additional modern wing of the school was built. The local older women teachers asked me why I am taking photos of their school and immediately began to complain: "Look how good is the old building built and how badly the new one and what a bad work of builders of the modern wing". It is difficult to judge when you see the building for a several seconds ...

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Tags: Klaipėda area, report, rusne, Šilutė

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