Last modified: 2003-07-05 by dov gutterman
Keywords: lithuania | siauliai | kursenai |
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by Audrius Slapsinskas, 24 June 2003
The flag and coat of arms of Kursenai were drawn according to
pictures, which was taken from booklet: DISTRICT OF SIAULIAI
AND ITS CONTEMPORARY HERALDRY [lal02].
Here is information from this book:
"Kursenai - The town of Kursenai is first mentioned in historical sources in the 16 th century. In greater details it was described by S. Zajanczkowski, Polish historian, in the 18 th century in his writing about Zemaitija (Samogitia). According to the folk etymology the name Kursenai came from the word "kursis", which means that the settlement was populated by the Latvians. However, the legend has it that the flood of the river Venta carried away hay cocks and in the morning the local people asked each other "Kur sienai?" (Where is hay ?).
In 1523 the first wooden church was built in Kursenai. A new one built in 1824 was destroyed during WWI. The present church was built in 1927-1933 under the design by architect S. Gumeniuk.
At the end of the 18th century Kursenai was a trade town and suffered during the Uprising of 1831. Its growth at the end of the 19th century is linked with the construction of the railway Liepoja-Romnai line. In 1897 the number of the population reached 3,189. The development of the town is also linked with the estate of len type, the only one of such type in Lithuania, which prospered in the middle of the 19th century. In 1631 Jurgis Gruzevskis was granted the rights of len (ownership) to the estate by King Sigismundus Vasa. Its area remained unchanged since 1564 to 1922. J. Gruzevskis was honoured because of his service in the fights with Sweden and Russia. 150 farmsteads belonged to the estate. The prosperity of the estate reached the peak in 1846 when Edvardas Gruzevskis, owner, concentrated on catle breeding and dairy produce. Jonas Gruzevskis, owner of the latter generation, focussed on the maintenance of the estate, especially of the park.
WWI an WWII were disastrous for both the town and the estate: the buildings were destroyed, the constructions were burned down, the bridge through the river Venta was exploded.
Starting with 1915 Kursenai served as the administrative centre of the county and the district.
In 2001 Kursenai population reached 14,800 and the town became an unofficial centre of Siauliai District. There are 4 secondary schools, including a gymnasium, sports and music schools, a health care centre and a hospital.
Kursenai is famous for its craftsmen especially in ceramics: J. Paulauskas, V. Damkus, J. Vertelis, B. Radeckas. In 2001 Folk Art and Crafts Centre was founded in the former estate building.
Kursenai was the native town of many outstanding people: S. Rastikis, public figure of the Independent Lithuania, artists A. Gabrenas, K. Kymantaite, B. Lukosius, teacher S. Anglickas, poet V. Reimeris, folkartist A. Turauskas.
During the years of the national revival the symbol of the State of Lithuania - the Vytis - was restored (built in 1928, destroyed in 1947), the monument to priest V. Dambrauskas, masacred in 1941, the monument to commemorate the victims of the Resistence Movement on the bank of the river Venta and the monument to commemorate the exiled to Siberia in the railway station square, the Cross to the exiled in St. John the Baptist church yard were erected.
Kursenai is located 22 km to the north west from Siauliai on the banks of the river Venta by the highways and railway Siauliai-Klaipeda and Siauliai-Mazeikiai lines. Its territory is 1192 ha.
Kursenai never had a coat of arms. The Heraldry Commission took into consideration the specificity of the locality, historical events of the past and the profiles of the most outstanding people.
In this way L. Ivinskis' personality and his activities were considered. L. Ivinskis, known as a 19th century enlightener, educator and publisher of books and calenders - almanac "Metu skaitlius" ("Counting of the Year"), spent his last years in the village of Milvydai, close to Kursenai, and was burried in Kursenai. In 1960 the monument to L. Ivinskis was erected in the city centrai square. In 1996 the Museum of Calenders was opened. In the 19 th century his calenders carried a lot of Information on astronomy and the natural sciences. Knowledge of astronomy was based on the observation and analysis of celestrial objects. The sky and the folk calender are two interrelated topics.
Ceramic works and items from clay produced by local craftsmen added to the popularity of Kursenai. The file factory was opened in 1898, a brick factory a year later. A workshop producing dishware from clay functioned during the years of Independence, a workshop of the "Jiesia" ceramics factory was opened in 1964. Clay jugs became the most popular items produced in the city.
The Kursenai coat of arms depicts stars and a jug. The shield is divided into 2 fields, per pale. The dexter side is charged with 5 gold six-pointed stars on a field of azure and the sinister side with a red jug, its inside blue, on a field of silver.
The Kursenai coat of arms was confirmed by the President of the Republic of Lithuania on October 24, 1994."
Audrius Slapsinskas, 24 June 2003
by Audrius Slapsinskas, 24 June 2003