Kaunas, Lithuania Overview


According to abbreviationfinder, Kaunas, until 1915 Russian Kovno, German Kauen, is the second largest city in Lithuania, at the confluence of the Neris in the Memel, (2020) 289 400 residents.

Science, education, cultural and economic center; catholic archbishop’s seat; University (1922–50, re-established in 1989/90), Technical University (founded in 1950), University of Health Sciences, Veterinary Academy and other universities, seminary, history, art and other museums, picture gallery, zoological garden. Industry accounts for around a quarter of Lithuanian industrial production; the most important branches are light industry, especially textile and food industry, furthermore construction industry, wood processing, chemical and pharmaceutical industry; Transport hub and logistics center (on the highway from Vilnius to Klaipėda and the European route from Warsaw to Riga and Tallinn), port, airport in Karmėlava. On the south-eastern outskirts of the Kaunas reservoir (Memel).


Remains of the brick castle from the 13th to 17th centuries (heavily destroyed in 1812) have been preserved. The Dom (cathedral), the Juragis Church and the Vytautas Church are late Gothic hall churches. The late Gothic Hansekontor (Perkunashaus, 15th century) has a richly decorated gable. Further sights are the town hall (from 1542) with a baroque tower; the Jesuit college with church (1660 to mid-18th century); the baroque St. Bernard convent with Trinity Church (1634).


In Kaunas, one of the oldest Lithuanian cities (attested as early as the 11th century), a castle was built in the 13th century. In the battles between Lithuania and the Teutonic Order, Kaunas was controversial for a long time until the latter conquered and destroyed the city in 1362 and built a castle opposite it at the mouth of the Neris in 1384. In 1404 Kaunas became Lithuanian again, received town charter in 1408 and was the seat of a Hanseatic office in the Middle Ages. Since the 3rd division of Poland (1795) near Russia, Kaunas became the provincial capital (1843) and developed into a strong fortress. In 1919 / 20–40 it was the provisional capital of Lithuania instead of Vilna, which was occupied by Poland. During the German occupation (1941–44) a ghetto was set up for Jews, many of whom were murdered or deported to concentration camps.

Curonian Spit (World Heritage)

The Curonian Spit is a 98 km long peninsula. Half of the elongated sandbank between Klaipeda and Kaliningrad lies on Lithuanian and Russian soil. It is particularly famous for its huge shifting dunes, which have buried numerous villages in the past.

Curonian Spit: facts

Official title: Curonian Spit
Cultural monument: Cross-border site; 98 km long and 400 m to 3.8 km wide chain of dunes, almost complete separation of the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea; formed after the last ice age around 6-7,000 years ago by sand deposits formed by wind and tides; numerous shifting dunes up to 70 m high, threatened from the start by natural forces and human interference; From the middle of the 19th century to the present, massive protective measures for preservation; since 1960 nature park
Continent: Europe
Country: Lithuania, Russia
Location: Klaipeda Region (Lithuania) / Kaliningrad Oblast (Russia)
Appointment: 2000
Meaning: Unique example of a dune landscape preserved by protective measures

Curonian Spit: History

from 4000 BC Chr. First settlement
1700 BC Chr. Settlements abandoned after flooding
1330 Construction of a castle near Rossitten
from 14th century First villages, first clearing
1756-63 During the Seven Years’ War, deforestation of almost all forests, increased erosion and the formation of shifting dunes, burial of 14 villages, numerous relocations
1768 First plan for reforestation by J. Titius
1805/25 First plantings
from 1864 Systematic planting of beach grass and pine trees under EW Epha to stabilize the dunes
around 1900 Beginning of tourism
1901 Establishment of the world’s first ornithological station by Johannes Thienemann in Rossitten
1960 Nature reserve

Kernave archaeological site (World Heritage)

The facility on the Neris River, 35 km northwest of the capital, documents the continuous settlement for around 10,000 years. The city with five fortified castles, which was important in the Middle Ages, was destroyed by the Teutonic Knights in the late 14th century.

Kernave Archaeological Site: Facts

Official title: Kernave archaeological site
Cultural monument: Archaeological excavation site with finds from prehistory (since the 9th / 8th millennium BC) to the 13th century AD; important city of the Middle Ages, feudal city in the 13th century with five fortified castles, four of which have still been preserved; also fortifications, unfortified settlements, graves; Destroyed by the Teutonic Order in the 14th century
Continent: Europe
Country: Lithuania
Location: Kernavé, 35 km northwest of Vilnius (Vilnius)
Appointment: 2004
Meaning: Extraordinary evidence of ten thousand years of human habitation

Kaunas, Lithuania Overview