The wayside poleshrine of the village of Tiltiškiai was made by the local folk artist Petras Ivanauskas during the period of Lithuania’s first independence – in the 1930s. Later in 1953, the monument was reconstructed, the wooden statues inside it was carved by the folk artist Petras Baubinas. The poleshrine consists of over a five-meter-high pole on the octagonal base with a prismatic small shrine on the top. The shrine is open, covered with a pyramid-shaped metal coping. A wooden cross is fixed on the top of the coping. This poleshrine is decorated very scantily, which is atypical of Aukštaitija (Highland): small crenelated boards adorn the eaves of the shrine, and the imitation of wooden small boards adorns the bottom. The wooden monument of small architecture stands out from its environment in its bright polychromy: the poleshrine and the fence are painted bright blue without distinguishing separate constructional elements, the coping is painted red, and the sculpture of Saint John of Nepomuk (John Nepomucene) inside the open shrine is light coloured with the details of clothes and the book held in the hands being accentuated in other colours. The poleshrine is surrounded with a traditional wooden fence, which is also painted blue.

It was the Jesuits who disseminated the cult of Saint John of Nepomuk that came from Czechia to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania following his canonisation in the 18th century. Soon after he became one of the most popular saints of Lithuania and sometimes he was identified even with St. John the Baptist. It is not difficult to recognise this Saint represented in the shrine from the priest’s clothes, the biretta on the head and the book held in the hands. Other common attributes of this Czech martyr of the 14th century include a crucifix, a palm branch, a nimbus with five stars reminiscent of the legend of the stars sparkling in the Vltava River when John of Nepomuk was thrown down a bridge into the water.




  • State/county: Zarasai district
  • Country: Lithuania