The Manor House is welcoming a real lady, a countess from France… Accompanied by her two sons, she is returning to the place she has not visited for 61 long years. She can still recall how her parents dug a large hole in one of the manor rooms to hide the family valuables because the war was coming. She was barely 23 years old then. She is bringing a treasure map drawn by her brother from the memory, who was architect, and who has already passed to Eternal Life.
Several decades have passed, and now she is finally here to hunt that treasure! The treasure map has a red cross on one of the rooms, so the countess shows where to dig. The men work hard for an hour… two hours, three hours... Six long hours of tedious labor and suddenly – voila!!! - a wooden chest with the treasure inside: 290 pieces of porcelain dishware (19th century Saxony porcelain), 2 silver-plated champagne buckets and 4 bottles of wine, one of them still has a barely legible label with the year 1917...
No, this is not an adventure movie script. It actually did happen at Biržuvėnai Manor in Telšiai District. The Gorskis were a family of counts who were the last owners of Biržuvėnai Manor. The family retreated to the West back in 1944. In 2005, Ms. Janina de Nagurski, a family descendant, being in her nineties, returned from France, found the family treasure and donated it to the Samogitian Diocese Museum.
The Manor House, however, had more surprises ready. When it caught fire back in 2004, the overlay of the two-story wooden building broke and a hidden alcove was revealed. There were 4 albums containing photos of the count family, an album of postcards and 18 manor ledgers. Some of the documents were even signed and sealed by Augustus II the Strong (1670–1733), the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania!
Biržuvėnai Village was first mentioned in the historical sources in 1253. In 1713, Biržuvėnai Manor was taken over by the Samogitian Standard-Bearer Antanas Gorskis. The Soviets nationalized the Gorskis Manor House in 1940.
Biržuvėnai Manor is a monument of wooden architecture. The Manor House is one of the two such houses of Baroque style still standing in Lithuania. However, Biržuvėnai Manor is the only place where one can see the wooden servants’ quarters, carriage house and stables dating back to the 18th century. The bridge barns of the manor have a road access to their top floor and are the only such structures preserved in Lithuania. The Manor territory includes as many as 6 sacral and mythological places: a wayside shrine with a sculpture of a saint, the cemetery of the Gorskis family, German soldier graves, a wooden cross for the drowned, Biržuvėnai Hillfort and the Laumės Pėda Spring (Fae’s Foot Spring). The legend has it that the water from this spring does miracles and can bring back youth and good health.