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Merkinė Local History Museum was established in a former mosque built in 1888 during the Russian Empire occupation of Lithuania. The mosque was constructed using the bricks of an old city hall that had been standing in Merkinė for more than 300 years before being demolished.

The Museum dates back to 1956, when the first exhibition of antiquities was opened in Merkinė High School by a teacher Juozas Vitkus. The exhibition gradually expanded and later, in 1968, was transferred to the mosque. At that time, the mosque stood empty as it was closed down during the Second World War.

In 2013, the Merkinė Local History Museum opened its doors offering an updated exhibition containing:

  • Findings from the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age illustrating the lives of the first settlers around Merkinė 
  • An ornate bell of the Merkinė Town Hall molded and casted by Joanes de la Marche in Vilnius in 1670. The bell is reminiscent of the glorious days of Merkinė from the 16th to 18th century.
  • A historical model of Merkinė’s town hall, an impressive collection of tiles, and other archeological findings
  • Exhibits (books of prayers, photos, documents, personal belongings) dating back to the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. The exhibits highlight the lifestyles of Merkinė residents and other locals during challenging historical periods
  • Documents, photos, weapons and other valuables from the 20th century reminiscing of the Soviet and Nazi occupations, the Holocaust, exiles, and the Lithuanian guerilla war against the Soviet Union.

Discover the intricacies of Lithuanian and Merkinė history through modern exhibitions, videos from local archive, stories told by locals, and legendary tales about the mystical death of the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Władysław IV Vasa in Merkinė in 1648.


  • Merkinės krašto muziejus, V. Kuchalskis