The Verkiai Manor is located on the outskirts of Vilnius amid a beautiful landscape. One edge faces the Neris River and the other borders Jerusalem, New Verkiai and the Verkiai forest. The Verkiai Manor ensemble consists of many surviving buildings and small architectural details.
Visitors are attracted to the area’s rich history and the gorgeous mansion, as well as the beautiful natural surroundings. Impressive oak trees that are several hundred years old with trunks as big as 1.5 m grow on the steep slopes of Verkiai Hill.
Verkiai is one of the most valuable Classicist structures in Lithuania and is often called the Versailles of Vilnius. Today, the most ornate building in Verkiai is the eastern oficina, where the Wittgenstein era interiors are restored.
Information about the Verkiai Manor goes back to the end of the 14th century. At that time, the Verkiai Manor belonged to the Grand Duke. Archaeological and historical research reveals that Verkiai was the site of a pagan cult and is considered to be the birthplace of Lizdeika, the son of the Krivaičiai.
After the baptism of Lithuania at the end of the 14th century, Jogaila established the Diocese of Vilnius and gave Verkiai to its bishops. With the efforts of Bishop Ignas Masalskis, the palace was reconstructed and became the Versailles of Vilnius, as well as one of the most valuable Classicist structures in Lithuania. Martynas Knakfusas and his apprentice Laurynas Stuoka-Gucevičius created the new classicist Verkiai architectural ensemble, which remains to this day.
Many claimed that there was once a sacred oak forest – the estate of the Grand Dukes – which was eventually donated to the bishops of Vilnius. Later in the area, at the end of the 18th century, a manor park was established, consisting of lower and upper parks.
The lower park did not survive, and great orangeries were built in the upper park in 1786 to grow tropical and subtropical plants brought from Italy.