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Unusual Cultural Heritage Object Put Up for Sale in Lithuania

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Photo: Unusual Cultural Heritage Object Put Up for Sale in Lithuania. Source: Collage The Gaze
Photo: Unusual Cultural Heritage Object Put Up for Sale in Lithuania. Source: Collage The Gaze

An extraordinary item has been placed for auction in Lithuania – a bridge for a narrow-gauge railway and narrow-gauge railway tracks located in the Panevezys district. This information was reported by Delfi.

The auction includes not only the bridge over the Sanzile River in the Panevezys district but also 13 other items related to the narrow-gauge railway, including the Pasvalys station.

The starting price for an 80-kilometer stretch of tracks is almost 4.5 million euros. The property is in a state of disrepair and has been subject to theft and investigations, as confirmed by Arunas Giraitis, the Head of the Utena Division of the Department of Cultural Heritage.

The entire narrow-gauge railway complex from Panevezys to Birzai was purchased by the public institution Siaurojo gelezinkelio klubas seven years ago. However, they have not taken any action with the property and currently owe the state approximately 80,000 euros, leading the tax inspection to initiate bankruptcy proceedings.

According to experts, it would be best to sell such assets in parts for a quicker and more reliable disposal while maintaining supervision and accountability.

Representatives of the operating Aukstaitija narrow-gauge railway express concerns that the property of the Panevezys company may be divided into parts and sold as scrap metal.

"If a decision is made to rebuild it as heritage – that's fine, but if it's sold for land and scrap metal – that's not good," said Vladautas Zekonis, a representative of the Aukstaitija narrow-gauge railway.

However, experts assure that such an outcome is unlikely.

"The property itself is under protection, and all its components are safeguarded. If it's dismantled, it will lose its meaning, and there would be no reason to protect it anymore," explained Arunas Giraitis.

Narrow-gauge railways have been operating in Lithuania for 124 years. The system requires rails, axles, and other authentic components that are no longer manufactured.

"It's heartwarming to see dates from the last century on the rails. It's pleasing that they have been preserved," commented Zekonis.

As previously reported by The Gaze, during a session in Saudi Arabia, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee included the St. Sophia Cathedral, its associated monastic buildings, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, and the historic center of Lviv in the list of endangered sites. Committee members stated that "optimal conditions for the full protection of the outstanding universal value of these properties no longer exist, and they are potentially at risk" due to regular attacks by Russian forces on Ukrainian cities. These cultural landmarks could be destroyed or damaged by debris or shockwaves resulting from such attacks.

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