Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view

Perkūnas – a reminder of pagan Lithuania

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P1010238Lithuania was the last European country to convert to christianity in 1386.

Before that one of the great pagan gods was Perkūnas, the god of lightning and thunder and storms.

He possessed many weapons including an axe or sledgehammer, stones, a sword, lightning bolts, a bow and arrows, a club, and an iron or fiery knife.

Perkūnas pursues his opponents in the sky on a chariot, made from stone and fire.  Sometimes the chariot is made from red iron. It is harnessed by a pair (sometimes more) of red and white (or black and white) horses (sometimes goats).  An important function of Perkūnas is to fight the devil (velnias).

He is also associated with the Baltic oak tree and you can see most of  these images depicted on the box of matches.

The name survives in Lithuanian as perkūnas (“thunder”) and perkūnija (“thunder-storm”).

In Kaunas Old Town there is a famous gothic house on the banks of the river, not far from the Vytautas the Great Bridge at the old border with Prussia, called the House of Perkūnas.

It was built by Hanseatic merchants as an office from 1440 to 1532. It was then sold to the Jesuits who later built a chapel there. The house fell into ruins and was rebuilt in the 19c as a school house and theatre.

The house got its name at the end of the 19c when a figure of Perkūnas was found in the walls. It is a registered cultural heritage site in Lithuania.

Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

2 thoughts on “Perkūnas – a reminder of pagan Lithuania

  1. Interesting article! If you like history, please check out and follow my blog at http://publishistory.wordpress.com/ (I’ll follow you back!) It contains history articles on a variety of subjects written by myself and university friends! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Cathedral Bell Tower renovation in Vilnius | Man patinka Lietuva

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