A reconstructed model of Joniškis Market Square from the beginning of the 18th century



Stop and take a look! You are in today’s Joniškis Town Square, and in front of you is the image
of its historical past – a reconstructed model of Joniškis Market Square from the beginning of
the 18 th century. Here you can see the most important buildings of Joniškis – the self-governing
town that gained Magdeburg rights and privileges on July 4, 1616 from King Sigismund III Vasa
of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
In the northern part of the Square model you can see the predecessor of the present-day
Church of the Ascension of the Holy Virgin Mary – the old brick church built in the years 1601-
1605 with the support of Parson Benediktas Sviechovskis and with the funds donated by the
parishioners and Duke Mikalojus Kristupas Radvila Našlaitėlis. The church had seven Saints’
titles, including the current one. Next to the churchyard, to the south of the church, there is a
hospital – the oldest brick building known in the sources of the Samogitian diocese of those
days. The poor citizens also lived there and were supported by the funds of the Šiauliai crown
On the southeast side of the Square model, there is the most important house of Joniškis
government of that time – the wooden Town Hall or the Town Magistrate, where important
municipal matters of the town were decided, trials were held, convicted were imprisoned or
punished at the pillory... The townspeople used to rebuild the Town Hall, which had burnt
down many times, and brought logs for its walls. Unfortunately, the oldest symbol of the town
self-government – Joniškis Town Hall – has not survived to this day. Today, its foundations are
under the White Synagogue. Nearby you can see the houses of the Head of the Joniškis
Magistrate – the mayor, wealthy townspeople and city officials – court members, councilors
and municipal officers.
Five main historical streets of the town that have remained to this day meet in the old Joniškis
Market Square – Upytė, Šiaulių (now Šiaulių Senoji), Dvaro (now Žemaičių), Žagarės and
Vokiečių (now Livonijos). Annual markets and fairs, as well as weekly markets were held in the
Market Square according to Magdeburg privilege. You will hear more stories about old,
Magdeburg, Joniškis in the Museum of History and Culture of Joniškis.
The reconstruction of the central part of the Joniškis town of the beginning of the 18 th century
was carried out in the year 2021 by archaeologists Mr. Ernestas Vasiliauskas and Mr.
Žygimantas Buržinskas based on the oldest known drawing of Joniškis town under the Šiauliai
crown estate, dating back to 1703 and found in Swedish archives, as well as on the historical,
cartographic and archaeological sources. In 2022, the casting of the Square model was created
by the sculptor Mr. Tomas Vosylius, and the pedestal was done by the company Akmendarba
UAB. The project was financed by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Joniškis District
Municipality Administration, and was implemented by the Joniškis Cultural Center.