Archaeologists who have explored about 150 archaeological monuments in various places of Moletai district, find traces of the oldest people that show their way of life. There are 32 mounds, 23 old settlements, and 12 stones with signs, 1 defence strengthening and the old Paraudines road.
The history of Moletai district is related to stroked ceramic culture which has formed in years1300-1000 BC The settlements were established in the hardly approachable hills such as Karaliskiai, Didziokai, Bendziukai, Vorenai and so on. The later establishment of the settlements might have been influenced by changes in economics after the metallic tools and arms started to be used. The settlements were attacked by strangers more often. Only defence strengthening on the hills or in other hardly approachable places could protect from them. The mound of Vorenai belongs to that time.
At the end of iron age people buried the dead in the burial mounds. Rudesa, Mintauciai - Pazyzintys, Meskiskiai and Labotiskiai mounds are surrounded by wreaths of stones. Here the dead were buried not burnt. Men were buried directing heads to the West, but women to the East. The cerements varied. Arms (knives, narrow - bladed axes, arrows) and jewellery (bronze, iron and bone brooches, collars and bracelets were put into burials of men. More jewellery were put into women's burials.
In IX-XIV c. Moletai district the same as all East Lithuania was full of social changes. The dead were buried in old burials such as Avilciai, Bendciukai, Laiciai and Vanagine.
All archaeological monuments, especially stones, have their history in people's memory. It is told that the stone of Paduobuzë marks the place where the first Moletai church stood. The sacred water was kept in this stone. The Church was burnt by the Swedes but the stone remained. The stone of Valiai has a footprint. The stone of Valiulis has a cross, the sun and the moon; the stone of Skudutiðkis has a footprint of Maria. There is a stream near this stone, which is believed to be sacred.
Agriculture was the main occupation of Moletai people from ancient times. They used a wooden plough for cultivation of soil, however the most important parts of it were made from iron by blacksmiths.
Bast baskets were used for sowing. Sowers would hang a bast basket on their neck or shoulder that's why on the top or on the sides of the bast basket were loops for a towel, a bond or a belt.
New harvest was reaped in harvest time. The main tool was a sickle, which was popular until the times of collectivisation.
The experience accumulated during long centuries and transmitted from generation to generation was used for food remaking and preparing meals. Very important product of Moletai people was milk and diary produce. Milk was milked into a wooden milk pail. Two kinds of cheese-sour and sweet - were made from milk. The first one was made from boiled milk by adding eggs and other trimmings. Sour cheese was eaten fresh or dried.
Raspberries, cranberries, wild strawberries, blueberries, mushrooms and nuts were gathered into small wooden bags. Young people used to bring nuts to various parties and used them in the same way as now sweets are used.
A dough-trough used to knead dough. A baker's peel was used to put a loaf of bread into the oven.
Bee-keeping as home farm is known from old times, however, its economical importance has been changing over the years Historical sources say that in places where the Balts lived there was a lot of honey, there are some customs connected with bee-keeping. In later centuries peasants had to pay a tribute.
The people of Moletai district used to put apiaries away from roads and noise in the South or East of the farmstead. Beekeepers tried to make surroundings full of flowers and the grass round beehives was mown. Honey was rarely used as food in everyday family life. It was kept for holidays, quests or for selling.
Moletai is the district of lakes. In XIX and in the beginning of XX century fishing gave extra money. This business has been transmitted from generation to generation because it needed special knowledge and skills about fishing place and time, tools and fish itself. Quite a large part of peasants went fishing in spare time and used fish to variety family food.
At that time rarely a fisherman made all fishing tools himself. Nets were made of linen or hemp thread with a help of wooden plank, which was 20 cm long, and 2,5-cm width.
Weaving was another very important business. Linen cloth was used for dressing towels, bedding and table covering. Women of Moletai district wove complicated patterns. We have made a film how Karvelienë Melanija from Gruodþiai weaves. These men and women are wearing the traditional Moletai district clothes. At home people made shoes and kind of sandals made of a single piece of leather.
There are some pieces of furniture, which was used by Moletai district people one hundred year ago. Furniture in the past was simple, usually it was home made table, benches and beds. A cradle enriched the interior when a baby was born.
Beds usually were home-made, wooden and quite often were carved with traditional ornaments. They were covered with the patterned bedspreads and pillows usually were in a pile at the end of the bed.
Trousseau chests, wardrobes and towel hangers were really smart. This could be explained not only as aesthetic beauty but also as an attitude, which was supported by symbols, beliefs and magic art. Stylised heavenly bodies, plants and animals in geometric ornaments were used.
There are various time, weight, size and other measuring instruments. Let's try to express information about height in words of our height. We would say '' up to the knees'', ''up to the waist'', up to the shoulder'', up to the head crown'' and so on.
There we can see wall, table clocks and watches. Not suprisingly next to the clocks are put candlesticks. ''Till the candle burns'' is some kind of time definition which also has a symbolic meaning. People in the past used to fix the time according to some nature changes for example, water drops falling, sand passing through a small hole.
We can say a lot about various size measures. The oldest size measurements connected with a man and his parts of body were pinch, one's cupped handful and a gulp. A spoon, ladle, bucket, bowl, wicker basket and barrel were used for measuring dry substances and liquids.
In XVI-XVIII c. the main measurement for dry substances was a barrel (403 l) in the Eastern Lithuania. It was started to measure in litres only at the end of the XIX century.
The oldest photos with the sights of Moletai town remained from the first decade of the XX century. It is the time of World War l when Moletai was occupied by Germans. The unknown photographer took photos of Moletai market square and the eastern part of the town from school and the hills of Pavasarininkai.
Moletai looked so at that time. Now it looks different. Its central-square has changed rapidly. In 1916 it was Turgaus (Market) square, now it is called savivaldybes (Local Administration). Only old buildings didn't remain in this part of the town except for the church which is the most imposing. It stood during WW I, it is still standing. This year we could celebrate 90 years of its consecrating because in 1907 St. Petras and Povilas' church was consecrated by Vilnius bishop E.Roppas. There are some doubts when Moletai church was really built. Br.Kviklys in his book ''The churches of Lithuania" wrote that priest K.Bandzevicius with parishioners built it in year 1905, but K.Misius and R. Sinkunas in the book ''Lietuvos katalikø baþnyèios" (Catholic Churches of Lithuania) assert that it was built in 1907. By the way, Moletai new baroque, Latin cross plan Church was designed by Tadeusas Rostvorovskis.
In 1932 Moletai intelligentsia and youth put on the stage Petrauskas' operetta ''Birute'' . It was produced by progymnasium music teacher Martikonis. It was very significant cultural event. It would be not bad to notice the aims and meaning of such events. No doubt they were cultural events expected by public. They had charity nature,however
Pupils of progymnasiums, in other words their parents, had to pay for education and not everyone could pay, as most people lived poorly. Money got during the performance was used to pay, for education of poor students. Similar charity evenings were held by Moletai and Giedraiciai progymnasiums teachers .
On 3 June 1934 the bridge across Dubingiai lake was opened. On such occasion was held a great celebration, Even the president A.Smetona took part there.
In this photo we can see the monument to St Jonas Nepomukas as it looked in the times between wars. It was carved by Moletai citizen Pranas Gecys in about 1925. The monument stood near the present bathhouse by Siesartis river in Moletai. The monument was demolished in about 1951-1952.
The portrait of Knight Mykalojus Giedraitis was painted by Videniskiai artist V.Vitkovskis. An imaginary portrait of the Blesed Mykolas Giedraitis was painted by I.Mackeviciute-Blaziuniene in 1997. This honourable Giedraiciai family member wos born in Giedraièiai ( some sources say that he was born in Videniðkiai) in 1425. Mykolas Giedraitis had a poor health. Still being a youth he had a calling for spiritual life so he appealed to Bistrycia monastery (which was 40 kilometres to the North-East of Vilnius) and was admitted. Soon after monastery head took him to Saint's Morkus Church in Krokuva. Physical imperfection prepared him for spiritual life and solitude, so he tried to achieve Christian perfection.
Mykolas Giedraitis died in May 1485 and was buried in St. Morkus Church in Krokuva.