Memorialny Komplex K.-Donilaitisa
Tshistyje Prudy, 30 km south-east of Gusev, 110 km east of Kaliningrad
Lithuania's national poet Kristijonas Donelaitis (1714 - 1780) was born in Lasdinehlen near Gumbinnen (Gusev) in East Prussia and served from 1743 until his death as a clergyman in the village of Tollmingkehmen. He wrote, inspired by Thomson's The Seasons, the first Lithuanian literary work of importance, a rural-realistic epic in hexameters, containing more than 3000 lines: Metai (The Seasons). It was written in 1743, but published – in a bilingual Lithuanian-German edition - posthumously, 48 years after his death by theology professor Ludwig Rhesa, was translated into 18 languages and is looked upon as the starting-point of Lithuanian literary language. Since 1977 it belongs to UNESCO's „Library of Literary Masterpieces of Europe“.
The church of Tollmingkehmen, nowadays Tshistyje Prudy in the Russian Kaliningrad area, where he worked as a clergyman, has been restored as a Donelaitis-museum with a permanent exhibition mostly for Lithuanian visitors from the other side of the border. In the Summer of 1979 the corpse of the poet was buried in a crypt under the floor. During the Soviet-time this was the only case, that a church was restored after the War. Without the fame of Donelaitis and the interest from the Lithuanian Republic this would not have been possible.
As Donelaitis himself had urged on the building of the church in 1756, the restoration work using the help of photos and descriptions from Germany and Poland strove for an authentic outward appearance, even the surroundings should resemble the picture during Donelaitis' lifetime. The Kristijonas-Donelaitis-Museum is a branch of the Kaliningrad Museum for History and Art.