Former Gymnasium named after Adomas Mickevičius

Address: Kauno m. sav., Kauno m., Miško g. 1

Complex diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Poland during the First Republic period led to careful monitoring of the Polish ethnic minorities in Lithuania by the Lithuanian government. The fear of Polonisation amongst Lithuanian intellectuals resulted in a stricter control of Polish political activities, as well as special attention to cultural and social activities of the ethnic minority by the government. Despite the political context, only one year after the declaration of Lithuanian independence, in 1919, a private Polish gymnasium was established in Kaunas, and in 1927 the construction of a new gymnasium building was underway. In 1928 the Construction Inspectorate under the Ministry of the Interior approved the draft of the building. In 1929 the school was named after Adomas Mickevičius, whereas in 1931 – construction works were completed.

The school, designed by one of the most prominent architects of the interwar period Edumandas Alfonsas Frykas was a characteristic example of the historic style during the First Republic period. The school was erected at the intersection between Vytautas Avenue and Miškas Street. The three-story corner building dominates the scenery of both Vytautas Avenue and Miškas Street by its monumental forms and size, smoothly complementing the urban landscape of this part of the city. The building has irregular layout. Interior rooms – classrooms, library, and student cloakrooms – are laid out along the corridors on the Northern and the Southern parts of the building. School’s design includes a spacious hall for gymnastics. Key highlight of the exterior – Renaissance-style superstructures surrounded by small decorated pediments and columns. Historian Jolita Kančienė says that these decor elements represent the style characteristic to Polish Renaissance. Hence, the new gymnasium building also represented the symbolic Polish culture in interwar Kaunas. The gymnasium was closed in 1940, following the occupation of the Republic of Lithuania by the Soviet Union.

Kristina Endriukaitytė