The European Union has awarded the European Heritage label to the modernist interwar architecture of Lithuania's second city, Kaunas. The decision was announced in the Official Journal of the European Union, Kaunas City Municipality said.
Experts prepared a report recommending the European Commission to grant the European Heritage status to 16 sites, including Lithuania's application: the buildings of Kaunas constructed between 1919 and 1940.
The European Heritage Label is awarded to sites located in the EU that have a key role in European history and culture as well as the building of the Union. The aim is to put the spotlight on areas of common European heritage, to strengthen citizens' sense of belonging to the Union and to reinforce dialogue between cultures.
The European Heritage team visited Kaunas and photographed the most important buildings from the interwar period, including Kaunas Garrison Officer's Club, the Central Post Office, Christ's Resurrection Church, Vytautas the Great War Museum, etc.
Kaunas served as Lithuania's functioning capital between 1920 and 1939, after Vilnius was annexed by Poland. However, it was always officially referred to as a "temporary capital", as Lithuania did not recognise Polish control over Vilnius. As such, Kaunas became the focus for Lithuanian architects influenced by new architectural styles, such as the German Bauhaus movement.