Perloja is a village in Lithuania.

Perloja is situated in the Varėna district, 19 km to the West from Varėna, by the river Merkys, which is part of the ichthyological reservation of the nearby Dzūkija National Park, on the road Vilnius - Druskininkai.


At the present time in Perloja live about 700 inhabitants. The village is from all sides surrounded by the Dainava forest. The river Merkys divides Perloja into two parts. In the forest close to Perloja there is the small but very deep lake Paperlojis. Perloja is famous for its past. The Independent Republic of Perloja was founded in 1918; a monument of Vytautas the Great was built in 1930 and preserved during the Soviet occupation. In the centre of Perloja stands a church built in Gothic style and a monument dedicated to the fighters against the Russian occupation. There is also a historical museum [ [ Open Society Fund Lithuania. About Perloja in brief.] ] .


Perloja village is known since 1387 [] . In 1636 Perloja was granted city rights [] . In 1792 Perloja was granted the Magdeburg rights [] .

Republic of Perloja 1918-1923

In 1918 when Lithuania did not have its own army or any other functioning state structures, the country was ravaged by looting German soldiers, Polish soldiers, and Bolsheviks. The Parish Committee, often called The Republic of Perloja, was established as a self government in 1918. The chairman of the Parish Committee Jonas Česnulevičius (1897-1952) was called President. The Republic of Perloja had its own court, police, prison, currency (Perloja Litas), and an army of 300 men. This army became many times engaged in fights with invaders, especially Polish military units. The self government was preserved even during the Bolshevik occupation in 1919, the Parish Committee was just renamed to Revolutionary Committee. The Republic of Perloja existed with interruptions from 1918 to 1923 [] [] .

Anti-Soviet resistance

After the Soviet re-occupation in 1944 dozens of villagers joined the Forest Brothers, an anti-Soviet resistance movement [] .


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