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Title: Zapyškis  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: German war crimes, Suwałki Governorate, Veiveriai
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia



The old church of Zapyškis

Coat of arms
Location in Lithuania

Coordinates: 54°55′30″N 23°39′0″E / 54.92500°N 23.65000°E / 54.92500; 23.65000Coordinates: 54°55′30″N 23°39′0″E / 54.92500°N 23.65000°E / 54.92500; 23.65000

Country  Lithuania
Ethnographic region Aukštaitija
County Municipality Kaunas district municipality
Eldership Zapyškis eldership
Population (2001)
 • Total 254
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

Zapyškis (Polish: Sapieżyszki) is a small town in Kaunas County in central Lithuania on the right bank of the Neman River. As of 2001 it had a population of 254. The town is famous for its old early Gothic church (built between 1530 and 1578), which is also depicted in town's coat of arms. A new church was built in 1942. According to tradition, the village was originally one of larger pagan temples of the Baltic tribes.

The town, originally named Sapieżyszki in Polish was named after the Sapieha family, erstwhile mighty boyars of Smolensk and later a princely family active in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The grounds of the former pagan temple were donated to Paweł Sapieha by king of Poland Sigismund I the Old. The earlier founded a church on the ruins of the old temple and founded a new settlement there, named after himself. In the settlement, the Sapiehas also built a manor, which however did not survive to modern times.

In early 17th century Andrzej Sapieha, the voivode of Polotsk, Nowogródek and Smolensk Voivodeship, sold the village to Grzegorz Massalski, the cup-bearer of Grodno. His son, Aleksander left it to his daughter, who joined the Bernardine monastery near Kaunas. Until the partitions of Poland the monastery remained the owner of the village of Sapieżyszki. However, in 1795 the Prussian authorities secularised the convent and confiscated all of its properties. In 1812, during Napoleonic Wars, the church was partially demolished by French forces who used it as a stable. In mid-19th century the town had 564 inhabitants, most of them Jewish.


  • This article was initially translated from the Lithuanian World Heritage Encyclopedia.

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