Gintaras Karosas, creator of Europos Parkas and Liubavas museums


Speech of Gintaras Karosas at the National Award Ceremony of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in Liubavas



H.E. President of the Republic, Your Excellencies, Dear Guests,


Liubavas Manor Watermill Museum has become a laureate of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2012. A project implemented in this country found its place among the sixteen best examples of conservation and restoration of the European Cultural Heritage. This honourable award obligates us to continue our works to revive Liubavas Manor and adapt it for cultural purposes.


I regret to say that here cultural heritage is an area which is undeservingly underestimated. We tend to be enthusiastic in valuing, or overvaluing, quick-to-forget events and achievements, while sometimes leaving behind the fundamental part of our culture.


We must preserve the cultural heritage as the legacy of our ancestors, and to create the tangible heritage of today so that we have what to leave for generations to come. For as many as 20 years, our non-governmental organisation has been creating an open-air art museum Europos Parkas in a forest nearby.


Only a short time ago, Liubavas Manor Watermill was facing the danger of decay. We strove for preserving not only the building, but also its essence. And the essence of such monument of engineering lies in its process equipment. The old manor estate is inseparable from the history of the manor and people who used to live here. This is why we sought that visitors of the Manor Watermill would also be able to cognise the historical context. I would like to remind that during the recent five centuries Liubavas Manor used to belong to representatives of Lithuania's cultural and political elite: the of Goštautas family, the royal family, Mikalojus Radvila the Red, the family of Golejevskis, the family of Tiškevičius, the family of Krišpinas-Kiršenšteinas, Tyzenhauzaitė, and the family of Slizienis. Sculptor Rapolas Slizienis, one of our most talented artists of the XIX century, also used to live and create here.


The importance of the idea of the restoration of Liubavas Manor Watermill and its rearrangement for a museum was trusted and supported by the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism as well as by the Republic of Lithuania. Without this support, our work would take more than twenty years. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the financial supporters of the project. We also thank everybody who conducted research, was involved in restoration, provided advice, and shared knowledge and experience. We are happy to have become acquainted with several dozens of nice, benevolent people who are now related to Liubavas somehow or other. By the way, Liubavas is associated with words used by the Old Prussians and Lithuanians meaning love.


So, we researched not only into the Watermill itself and its operating principles, but also into the history and architecture of Liubavas Manor, and I collected information on the manor residents and millers of the inter-war period. The accumulated materials were summarised and transferred to the display of the Watermill Museum and its internet site as well as to the book Liubavas.


Consequently, the architectural monument gained a sense and began telling about itself to the public and educating it, became a source of knowledge and preservation of historical memory. And not only: the old Watermill has also become an example to be followed by others who possess objects of heritage but not always know how to handle them. I hereby address possessors of objects of heritage. Unveil the essence of the heritage! Research and restore it with love – because this word applies not only to Liubavas – and belief. It is a tough road; however, for your toil, you will be awarded with revelation. And the most important thing is that your trace left in the object of the cultural heritage will be meaningful for the public and Lithuania. Too many cultural values were lost for various reasons; therefore, there is just no other way but to cherish the heritage. To make Lithuania distinctive and interesting to the world, and its citizens – dignified and cultured, we, people involved in the field of culture, should be a kind of millers of culture who separate the wheat from the chaff, timeless values from one-night stands or one-hit wonders.


The object of cultural heritage, which was known only to a limited number of cultural heritage specialists several years ago, has become a source of knowledge to future generations. The honourable recognition by the European Union and Europa Nostra lays down the Liubavas Manor Watermill Museum onto the map of the European cultural heritage. We are proud to have the opportunity to slightly enrich the mosaic of the European cultural heritage and also to encourage attention to the heritage and its high-quality restoration in Lithuania. Thank you, Europa Nostra. Thank you all.


Gintaras Karosas, 18 September 2012



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