Punsk: History

In Punsk’s region first inhabitant’s signs were dated from 10 000 BC. There lived the Yotvingians in the firts part of the Middle Ages. A castle hill in Engline (9 kilometers from Punsk to the north) is their inheritance.

The Yotvingians had lived there till the 13th century, when finally they were invaded by the Order  of Teutonic Knights. For long time the land was covered by forests which were started to colonize by Lithuanians, Poles and Russians in the 15th century. Only Lithuanians and Polish people  stayed there till these days.

In the historical documents Punsk is mentioned in 1559.  The Mazovien Stanislaw Zalivski established there a village. In 1606 Punsk is called a town. That period is very important in Punsk’s history because it was developing very quickly. There were a school and hospital. Unfortunately, the plague killed lots of the inhabitants and later  after the division of Poland, the town belonged to Prussia, and later to Russia. The economy got worse and that was the reason that in the 18th century civic rights were lost.

Later there were opened a school, various  associations, a small bookshop. A lot of Jews lived there. Nowadays you can see only their old buildings and a cemetery. German Evangelic also lived there. Their cemeteries remained in Punsk and Paliunai.

Although nowadays Punsk doesn’t have the civic rights it is called a ‘town’ by its inhabitants.

Seiviai is mentioned in the same year as Punsk in 1559. In Seiviai  a mansion was established by the village’s headman. Next the mansion there is a lake called “Seiviai”. According to the stories of old people, on the island of the lake there used to be a castle. On the lake’s ground (from Vaitakiemis-country side) there is a big stone (about 2 meters height) which top is seen on the shore.  Nearby Seiviai  there is a lake called “Boksis”.

Smalenai belongs to Punsk’s community. It is mentioned in 1642 as a small mansion, from the 18th  century as a village. The name of the village comes from “smaliokai” which means the producers of  resin. Habermanas was a lord of this land, he bought it and wanted to enlarge it to the town. He tried to establish the cloth manufactory. He built a church and monetary. But the civic rights weren’t got.

Other Punsk’s countries were establishing in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is worth to mention such  countries “Egline” and its Yotvingian castle hill; Kreivenai where is the monument of illegal  books distributor  P.  Matulevicius; Trakiskes where the old train station was built by tsar; Giluisiai in which forest there is  a badger’s hill. On its top there was a chapel. It is thought that in the old times there were the pagan places where the sacred fire was burning and the gods were honored.

Lithuanian's in Poland