Sometimes when the weather is nice, my architect friend calls me on Sunday afternoon and takes me out for a bit of an architectural/historical tour of some part of Kaunas. Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny and cold (-8C/17F) day so off we went.
We first drove through a district next to Ažuolynas Park. The neighborhood was designed by architect Antanas Jokimas and built during Lithuania’s interwar independence. At that time, the district sat just outside the Kaunas city limits and was the home to many of the city’s wealthy people. The neighborhood is designed in the shape of the sun, with two semi-circle streets (inner and outer rings) and other streets radiating out from the circle. Many of the house are original wood houses from the early 20th century. There are varying levels of restoration, with some house in bad condition and some houses beautifully kept. Newer houses are interspersed among the older ones.
If you’d like to see the neighborhood for yourself, go to Google Maps, search for “minties rato gatve, Kaunas, Lithuania” and choose satellite view. The inner ring is Gėlių Ratas – Circle of Flowers; the outer ring is Minties Ratas – Circle of Thoughts. The radiating streets, Basanvičius and Kudirka, are named for famous Lithuanian writers.