Balkasodis Chapel

Historical Buildings, Alytus district

A manor was established in this area in the 18th century. For a long time, it belonged to the Jaciunskas family. In 1884,  Eugenijus Dombkovskis purchased the manor. He built a chapel in the former cemetery on the manor ground in 1887. A burial crypt with barrel vaults was built under the chapel. It was said that craftsmen from Italy were brought in to build the chapel. During the interwar years, the manor, including the chapel belonged to the Olenskas family (Mečislovas and Ona). The chapel was looked after and maintained. It was mentioned that three sarcophagi stood in the crypt, one of which contained the remains of Eugenijus Dombkovskis. The deceased was attired in military garb and buried with a gold medallion and a sword. The body had been embalmed and mummified as time passed. 
After the Second World War, as the hold of the Soviet system on Lithuania tightened, the building was neglected and vandalised. The chapel and its burial crypt were rainsacked. In the 1960s the looters went so far as to remove the bodies of the deceased and throw them onto the winter snow. The remains of Eugenijus Dombkovskis were rescued by the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University. It is the only known mummy that has been found to date in the Alytus area; the fate of the other remains in the burial crypt is unknown.
The chapel is listed on the Register of Immovable Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Lithuania.

GPS: 54.261876, 23.980010 (WSG)

Author of photograph L. Valentaitė

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