The villages buildings are made of local building material.
The walls are built of pine logs, the foundations – of pine rather than oak
blocks. The roofs are covered either with straw, reed or local shingle (wood
chips). In the second quarter of the 20 th century the foundations were begun
to be made of stones bound with lime mortar. Later slates form the roof
Two kinds of wall joints are applied: angle – joint with
projected ends and dovetail joint. The latter is used for construction of
dwelling – houses and garners. Construction of the roof is simple. Two-pitched
roofs prevail. There are not many four-pitched and other form roofs in
The dwelling – house,
the garner, the cattle-shed, the threshing barn and the bath-house form a
complete farmstead building complex. The plans of different types of buildings
and their exterior are analogous to each other different however in general
volume and plan variants. Great diversity is attained by different volumes of
buildings, various size yards and greenery and unique grouping of the
houses in Dzukija region was called "pirkia". Those were one-ended or two-ended
rectangular buildings with an entrance from one side leading into a mudroom,
which in turn gives access to other rooms. The main room – living room – was
also called "pirkia". All the key activities of the family took place there. It
was used for eating, working and sleeping. It had a stove by the door used for
cooking. A table was placed in front of the stove, where the family would
gather and the most important possessions were kept. Benches, cupboards and
beds were positioned along the walls, while a cradle, a loom and the rest of
the things were placed in the middle. The dimensions of the living room quite
modest – merely 6x6 m, but there was enough room for everyone and everything.
Only in the 20th century, the living room became wider. Each wall
had a maximum of two windows and the one in front of the oven was smaller than
The mudroom in Dzukija was usually narrower than the living room. It was used
to store farm implements and gave access to the attic, while some space of the
mudroom could be allocated for the larder or the kitchen. The other end of the
house, which was usually of the same size or smaller than the living room, was
the guest-room called "seklyčia". It was used as a larder or as a living room for another family –
usually that of a son or a brother. However, the main plan of the house always
remained the same, except for the position of the entrance, which could be at
the center, or on the side of the façade depending on whether the house was
one-ended or two ended. The entrance often had a porch, which could be merely a
protrusion of the roof or a lavishly decorated porch with a single- or
double-pitched roof supported by pillars and offering shelter from heat and
from rain alike.
Window is one of the main elements of a dwelling. People have been singing
songs about them, decorating them and tending to them since long ago; in the days of yore, windows would be mirror of
a good (or bad) housekeeping. The quality of decorations would depend on how
rich the homeowners, and how skillful and ingenious the craftsmen were.
Diversity of patterns was the product of a certain kind of rivalry.
On the outside, windows of dwellings would be adorned with decorative frames
consisting of lintel, window sill and sideboards. Another element used to
decorate windows was shutters that closed on the outside. There are plenty of
adorned windows in Dzukija. Decorations would be fitted on the side visible in
daytime with shutters open. According to ancient folk beliefs, the window drew
a spiritual border between the world of the living and that of the dead,
separating «home» space from the «alien» domain,
which was wrought with danger.
Exterior and interior doors of dwellings came in quite a variety. The leaf of
dwelling and barn doors would be decorated. Depending on the type of
construction, doors can be single-piled, double-piled and paneled. Double-piled
doors were decorated by installing the cleats to form a diamond or herringbone
pattern on the outside. Compared to other regions, door decorations in Dzukija
used to be rather modest.
The doors of farm buildings (stables and stackyards in particular) had to be
wide enough to accommodate a cart. Such doors were almost never decorated.
At night, doors would not be locked but merely bolted. Actually, doors were
rarely locked at all.
Porches (dial. gonkeles) became a wide-spread thing in Lithuania in the 19th
century, even though mentions of them appear in historical documents dating
back to the 16th century. The three types of porches found in
Lithuania: 1) open verandas with mono-pitched
roofs; 2) open verandas with gable roofs; 3) enclosed porches. Veranda with a
mono-pitched roof is the oldest type of porch, the one that is most typical to
Dzukija. Currently, most porches in Dzukija are of the double-sloped enclosed
kind, which became wildly popular in the 20th century, as they
matched the new-fangled cottages better. The purpose of a veranda is to provide
a protection to the building entrance against rain, wind and snow. Of all the
parts of a house, the porch – all of its elements: the pillars, the fences, the perches, the gable – would be decorated the
most. A beautifully adorned porch would improve the looks of the entire house.
Enclosed verandas would be glazed with tiny bits of glass in frames split into
many different shapes.
Fences are a common sight in our region. They were built to keep the domestic
animals in and protect the homestead from wild animals. They also had to do was
a general plan of the homestead and partitioning of the land according to
different activities. Fences were used to divide the good yard from the farm
yard. The flower garden would be separated by a small fence too, while
beekeepers would often enclose their hives. The entire homestead as a
microcosmos was also fenced off from the wild nature. Posts of the various
fences were made from the most durable pitchy pine trunks, while the pales were
made from the pines or spruces. There were several different types of wooden
fences. Later they were sometimes replaced by hedgerows and increasingly by