Kaunas

Administrative center of the Kaunas County and the second-largest city in Lithuania. Located at the confluence of the Nemunas and the Neris, Lithuania's two largest rivers, in the middle of the country (54°54′N 23°56′E). Ethnographic region: Aukštaitija.

Population: 311,148 in 2012 (Lithuanians, 93.6 %; Russians, 3.8 %; Ukrainians, 0.4 %; Poles, 0.4 %; Belarusians, 0.2 %).

Area: 157 sq.km (61 sq.mi)

Founded in approx. 1030 ad.

First record: 1361.

Signed the Memorandums of Cooperation with the Association of Local Governments "The Gediminids’ Way" on August 25, 2013.

Official site of the Kaunas City Municipality:
http://www.kaunas.lt/

Tourist sites:
http://www.kaunastic.lt/index.php/en/
http://www.citycard.lt/en/

Photo album:

Kaunas, Lithuania, Nov. 27, 2013. Meeting of The Gediminids' Way project participants


Kaunas Castle

As a locality in Aukštaitija, Kaunas was by origin part of the Duchy of Lithuania (12th c.–1413) and then the GDL.

In the mid 14th century, a castle surrounded by a stone wall was built to protect Kaunas, nearby towns and trade routes against raids by the Teutonic Knights. In 1362, the Teutonic Knights captured Kaunas and destroyed the Kaunas Castle (it was rebuilt in the early 15th c.).

In 1408, Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas (Vytautas the Great) granted Magdeburg Rights to Kaunas.

In 1413, the city became the center of the Kaunas Powiat in the Trakai Voivodeship, established by Vytautas the Great that year.

Owing to its advantageous location as a river port at the confluence of the Nemunas and the Neris, Kaunas was rapidly developing into an important center of international trade. In 1441, the city joined the Hanseatic League, a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns. The Hansa merchant office, kontor, in Kaunas was the only one in the GDL.

Monuments from the epoch of the Gediminids and GDL that have survived in Kaunas:

  • Kaunas Castle (14th c.)
  • Vytautas the Great Church (approx. 1400)
  • Arch-cathedral Basilica of St. Peter and Paul (15th c.)
  • St. George Church and Bernardines' Monastery (approx. 1500)
  • Town Hall (16th c.)
  • Perkūnas (Thunder) House (early 16th c.)