Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Visit Kaunas - hearth of Lithuanian culture, tradition and history

Kaunas is situated in the center of Lithuania at the confluents of two largest Lithuanian rivers: Nemunas and Neris. It is 2nd largest city in Lithuania with 350,000 inhabitants. Kaunas is very Lithuanian city - 93% residents in Kaunas are Lithuanians. This city is often called the hearth of Lithuanian culture, tradition and history.

Confluence of Nemunas and Neris

The settlement here was first established between 4th - 5th centuries B.C. In 14th century Kaunas castle was built. But shortly the castle was destroyed by Teutonic Knights. It was rebuilt in the beginning of 15th century. At the time Kaunas became the major trade center in Lithuania. In 16th century it was one of the main towns in the country.

During centuries Kaunas was several times attacked by Russian and Swedish armies. In the end of 18th century the city was taken over by Russian Empire. Napoleon with his army passed through Kaunas twice devastating the city.

In 19th century two Uprisings against Russians took place in Kaunas. Russian authorities placed large military garrisons to suppress it.

After Vilnius was occupied by the Russian Bolsheviks in 1919 and captured by Poland in 1920, the government of Lithuania established its main base in Kaunas. Kaunas became temporary capital of Lithuania. Between World Wars Kaunas was a very modern city.

In 1940 Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union. In 1941-1944 Kaunas was occupied by Germans. On 1 August, 1944 Kaunas again became a part of Soviet Union and was in Soviet Union till 1990, when independence of Lithuania was restored.


Kaunas is famous for basketball. Very first official basketball game in Kaunas was held in 1922. Kaunas has  famous Zalgiris team and its NBA superstar Arvydas Sabonis.

Arvydas Sabonis

Kaunas City Days

Best time to visit Kaunas is in May when Kaunas hosts the annual Kaunas City Days (Kaunas City Day is celebrated on 20 May) which lights up the main pedestrian street from the New Town all the way through to the Old Town with fancy dress parades, street stalls, theatre processions, concerts, fairs and other eye-catching sights.

Kaunas Tourist Card

If you plan to stay in Kaunas for more than a couple days, you should consider buying Kaunas Tourist Card. The Card costs 68.99 Lt (19.98 Eur) and is valid for 7 days. Kaunas Tourist Card  is e-ticket for public transport - a card owner can unlimitedly travel for 3 days in Kaunas public transport network of busses and trolleys. Kaunas Tourist Card includes an e-wallet with the value of 30 Lt (8.69 Eur), which can be used to pay for museums, guided tours etc. Kaunas Tourist Card also gives discounts up to 50% in a wide range of museums, city tours, restaurants and accommodation services.

In my following blog posts I will give you information about most interesting sights in Kaunas.

1 comment:

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