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Plungė manor house

Once upon a time, there was a fortress on Gondinga Hillfort. It was taken by occupants during the wars between the Polish and the Normans. When the latter were forced to leave, they gathered all their gold, silver, weapons and other valuables inside the castle, locked its heavy iron doors and buried the entire castle under a mound of soil so that no sign of it ever remained. They hid the key under the largest rock they could find in the stream pool of the Babrungas River. The treasure was entrusted for safekeeping to the devils supervised by the “master of the castle”. The locals believed that anyone attempting to find the treasure would eventually die in a horrible death. Rumor had it that there was a centenarian Prussian man who promised to show the villagers the way to the iron door and the treasure and help them to find the hidden key. Unfortunately, he was found struck by sudden death soon after making that promise. Year later, Count Michał Ogiński hired several engineers to explore the hillfort. However, the count passed away soon and the works he had started were discontinued...

This was one of the legends collected and recorded in 1922 by a Samogitian ethnography specialist Ignas Končius. Nevertheless, at the heart of every legend there is a grain of truth.

The hillfort called Gandinga Hillfort (formerly known as Gondinga) can indeed be visited near Plungė. Years ago, before the City of Plungė was founded, a well fortified Curonian castle was built on the top of Gandinga Hillfort. In the 15th century, Gandinga Manor belonged to the Grand Duke of Lithuania. However, a new settlement emerged several kilometers away from Gandinga in the 16th century. The village was first called Plungėnai and eventually was renamed to Plungė. The administration of Gandinga Volost was transferred to Plungė Manor by the Grand Duke Sigismund II Augustus in 1567. In 1779, the King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth gave the Regional Municipality (Eldership) of Plungė to Vilnius Bishop Ignacy Massalski. Platon Zubov, courtier of the Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, purchased Plungė County in 1806. Later, in 1873, Plungė Manor and the entire town with its surrounding regions was bought by Count Michał Ogiński (1849–1902) who was mentioned in the legend above.

The Plungė Manor Complex remains one of the best preserved and valuable manors in Lithuania. It consists of a manor house, clock tower with a greenhouse, equestrian facility of the Gothic Revival style, two servants’ quarters (one of them was used as the guest room in the times of the Ogiński and the other one was used by the manor administration and also served as the kitchen), a guardhouse, a pheasant breeder’s house, a Count’s attorney’s house and a laundry.