Zapyškis (Polish: Sapieżyszki) is a small town in Kaunas County in central Lithuania on the right bank of the Neman River. As of 2001 it had a population of 254. The town is famous for its old early Gothic church (built between 1530 and 1578), which is also depicted in town's coat of arms. A new church was built in 1942. According to tradition, the village was originally one of larger pagan temples of the Baltic tribes.
The town, originally named Sapieżyszki in Polish was named after the Sapieha family, erstwhile mighty boyars of Smolensk and later a princely family active in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The grounds of the former pagan temple were donated to Paweł Sapieha by king of Poland Sigismund I the Old. The earlier founded a church on the ruins of the old temple and founded a new settlement there, named after himself. In the settlement, the Sapiehas also built a manor, which however did not survive to modern times.
In early 17th century Andrzej Sapieha, the voivode of Polotsk, Nowogródek and Smolensk Voivodeship, sold the village to Grzegorz Massalski, the cup-bearer of Grodno. His son, Aleksander left it to his daughter, who joined the Bernardine monastery near Kaunas. Until the partitions of Poland the monastery remained the owner of the village of Sapieżyszki. However, in 1795 the Prussian authorities secularised the convent and confiscated all of its' properties. In 1812, during Napoleonic Wars, the church was partially demolished by French forces who used it as a stable. In mid-19th century the town had 564 inhabitants, most of them Jewish.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.