Population:             305,3 thous.

Area:                        157 sq. km

Kaunas City is the second largest town in Lithuania and the largest town of the Kaunas County.

The city is located in the central part of Lithuania on the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers the Nemunas and the Neris, therefore it has excellent opportunities for the development of water transport. Kaunas is located 100 kilometers from the capital Vilnius and 212 kilometres from the Country's major seaport Klaipeda.

Kaunas Region is the central Region in the country. It is the geographical, educational, as well as industrial and transport centre of Lithuania. 

The city has survived a dramatic past. Situated at the confluence of the Nemunas River and the Neris River, it flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was important both for its strategic location as a fortress and as a convenient place for the transit of goods. Its development was then adversely affected by wars. Later, for almost three centuries it sank into oblivion.

The re-establishment of independence at the beginning of the 20th century, the conflict with Poland and the loss of Vilnius turned Kaunas into the provisional capital of Lithuania. It was transformed into a city of elegant architecture and an active cultural life. Modern communications, new urban planning and modern Bauhaus architecture dramatically changed the look and the spirit of the city. Reminiscences of this spirit transformed Kaunas into a symbol of the nation’s revival during the Soviet years.

After the re-establishment of independence in 1990, the centre of national attention shifted to Vilnius. Today Kaunas is gradually recovering its importance as a centre for education, sports (especially basketball), technology and small businesses.

Since Lithuania regained independence, Kaunas has certainly made the most of opportunities available through closer links to western countries and companies. With Lithuania having one of the fastest economic growth rates of the new EU member states, Kaunas has most certainly been one of the powerhouses of industry that has helped produce such an impressive economic climate in the country today.

The city boasts a compact, well-preserved and nurtured Old Town, which is a concentration of valuable cultural and architectural monuments including Kaunas Castle, Gothic Perkūnas House (The House of Thunder), Vytautas the Great and St. Gertrude Churches, Kaunas Town Hall, also called The White Swan, and a number of others. In addition, the city has interesting objects of engineering heritage, i.e. funiculars launched 70 years ago; one of these lifts people to the Aleksotas hill which, like the Insurrection Church, opens beautiful panoramas of Kaunas. Hundreds of years of cultural heritage is preserved in the historical and architectural monuments, museums, theatres, art galleries and churches.

Pažaislis Monastery, the pearl of the Lithuanian mature Baroque of the European scale settled by Kauno Marios (Kaunas Lagoon), hosts international Pažaislis music (classical) festivals every summer.

The city offers a number of opportunities for cultural and leisure activities: several drama, pantomime and dance theatres, a puppet-show, and Musical Theatre, which is the initiator of the perfect annual Opera festival in Kaunas Castle. The International Kaunas Jazz Festival represents an annual fiesta of music. The unique features of this festival include carillon jazz, the Jewish theme in jazz performed in a synagogue and others.

There are many museums in Kaunas. M.K.Čiurlionis Art Museum offers a chance to see the works of M.K.Čiurlionis, the genius of the Lithuanian art who is ranked alongside M.Shagal, V.Kandinski and K.Malevičius. M.Žilinskas Art Gallery displays a large variety of Western works of art of the latest centuries. Visitors to the Museum of Devils (with over 3,000 items), the only museum of its kind in the world, will experience a number of merry impressions. Vytautas the Great War Museum acquaints its visitors with the history of Lithuania. Nearby there is a symbolic Statue of Liberty and the eternal fire commemorating those who died for Lithuanian independence.

Kaunas is also a city of students and athletes, with 5 higher education schools and the famous Arvydas Sabonis’ basketball team Žalgiris.


Source:   www.amb.urm.lt