The park of Šiauliai city is located in the place of the former Šiauliai manor. It consists of the old part of the park (Zubovai or Didždvaris Park) and the new (the Central Park). In different historical periods this place was called differently: Didždvaris, Šiauliai state-owned manor, Šiauliai province manor, “Fundovyj Dvor”, Šiauliai Zubovai manor, etc.
In 1588, the Seimas of the Commonwealth of the Two Nations decided to establish state-owned manors to keep the personal manor of the Grand Duke. At that time, Šiauliai state-owned manor was officially set up. From the early 17 century Šiauliai manor was constantly handed over to be ruled in return to loans. During that period it was leased to Mikalojus Kristupas Radvila Našlaitėlis, then, to Jeronimas Valavičius, Albertas Radvila and other Radvilos, still later, to Sapiegos.
Šiauliai state-owned manor flourished in the times of Antanas Tyzenhausas, who ruled the manor in 1765-1780. At the time, the gate leading from the city to the manor were rebuilt, the construction of the brick house started, the stone treasury, the new prison, stables were built, the park and the garden were planted in the territory of the manor. After the Third Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empress Yekaterina II gave Šiauliai manor to her favourite Platonas Zubovas. Under the rule of Nicholajus Zubovas (1801-1871) the Didždvaris building was rebuilt in the classicist style. In 1920, Teachers’ Seminary was set up here. In 1922, the Zubovai presented the park to the city. The Didždvaris park was the usual place of agricultural exhibitions, initiated by Vladimiras and Dmitrijus Zubovai. The purpose of the exhibitions was to promote more advanced farming, cultivate breeders, more productive crop species, use mineral fertilizers, more modern agricultural implements.
One of the most titled visitors of Zubovai Palace was the tsar of Russia. It is a known fact that the tzar of Russia Nikolai I and his wife visited the palace in 1838. In 1856, the palace was visited by the tsar of Russia Alexander II on his way back from abroad.
In 1907-1908, in south-eastern part of the manor territory the bank building was built (Dvaro St. 85). In 1934, building Aušros Avenue, the manor gate was demolished. In the 19 century, the servants’ house, called the wing, was built. After the war it was rebuilt, changing its architectural expression (Aušros Av. 48). The small hill, on the failure of which the vaultings of yellow bricks can be seen, can be still found on the north-eastern corner of the park.
Material, collected during archaeological investigations shows that people have lived in the territory of Šiauliai manor since the first half of the 16 century. Abundant findings and remnants of buildings found in the park territory indicate the presence of residential buildings and active economic life in this place in 16-18 centuries. The fact that there were no findings of later times than the 18 century confirms historical knowledge that in the end of the 18 century the park was planted in the said area. Judging from the remnants of foundations and sparse findings of the second half of the 17 century and the 18 century, there were buildings in the place of current palace or next to it as well.
In the end of the 19 century, after the last reconstruction of the palace, which included the construction of the one-storey annex at the south-eastern end of the palace, the building was surrounded by the then modern engineering structures: rain drainage pipes, drainage and the sewer and pavement.
Currently Šiauliai manor complex consists of the palace, kitchen, park and stable cellars. The manor (Aušros Av. 50) houses the Arts Faculty of Šiauliai University, while the former stables house Šiauliai Circuit Court (Dvaro St. 83). In the northwest Šiauliai manor neighbours on the Vaisiai Street necropolis, which dates back to 4-5 century.
The Central or the new park was established in the north-west of Didždvaris park. There was a large suburban grange, which belonged to Shapiro family, in that place. Shapiro grange had its name – “Kanapiškiai” but as time passed by this name was forgotten. Part of the territory of this grange was wet peaty soil, that is why city residents started calling the place “Shapiro meadows” or “Šapirkės”, the name that has reached our days. In post-war years, cleaning and restoring the destroyed city, Šiauliai residents began creating a new city park in Shapiro meadows. In October, 1947, 3850 pits for trees were excavated here, 6220 meters of longitudinal alleys were cleaned.
The largest number of trees was planted during working bees. There are rarer trees like sycamores, Tatarian maples, European larches and quite many other exotic trees here. The adventure park for children is operating here.