Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Sorrows in Salakas
In Zarasai district, near Lake Luodis is located Salakas town decorated with a unique church built entirely of rough-hewn stone. This sanctuary proudly standing on a hill leaves an unforgettable impression for its monumentality and sky-reaching tower. The height of Salakas Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Sorrows inspired by the neo-romantic style, with features of neogotic is 72 m. This holly place is a little farther away from centre of city, but it seems like she is observing the life down below. Every Sunday the church bells invite the inhabitants of Salakas and the neighbouring regions to public worship.
Although the first Salakas church is mentioned in early XVth century, over the centuries the house of God was reconstructed, because it was destroyed by fire and differend disorders. The present church was finished to build in 1911 and in the same year on 14th august here began Christian worksip. In 1914 there was installed the pipe organ, which was built in Konigsberg.
Unfortunately, the church has not avoided disasters – during the first World War, as construction works were completed, Germans carried away bell tower bells and during the second World War was destroyed the upper part of the tower, the roof and organ. In the post-war years, the temple was renovated, so that it could operate and the tower was fully renovated only at the eve of the restoration of independence of Lithuania in 1989. The church is in neo-romantic style, has neo-gothic style features, the rectangular plan, basilica with semi-circular apse and one tower.
The spacious interior with three naves crowned with massive arches supported by large columns and the nave are covered by cross vaults. There are also three altars.
Salakas church is like a symbol of all the disasters with the nation of Lithuania has experienced through the last centuries. The church which burned, was destroyed by occupants and rebuilt, then again burnt down in 1905 during the fire which destroyed the town.
At this time, the Tsarist government repealed the prohibition to rebuild or to build new catholic churches, so the inhabitants of Salakas have decided to build such a church, which will withstand all hardships.
Their chosen project is different from other churches built at that time in Lithuania. The walls are 168 cm thick, composed of three layers: outside of the Temple is built of hewn stones, the middle layer of the wall consists of field stones and from inside were used bricks and plaster.
So the wall of this church are extremely thick and because of its monumental appearance it looks like the medieval cathedral, but not like a church of a small Aukštaitija town.
If you will travel around these regions do not miss a chance to see this really exclusive and symbolical architectural monument from the beginning of the last century – Salakas Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Sorrows.