Druskininkai municipality

  Administrative centre – Druskininkai
  Area – 454 km² (8.4 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 24 341 (13.7 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Leipalingis, Viečiūnai

Druskininkai municipality covers Druskininkai town, together with Leipalingis township and nearby villages, situated in Southern Lithuania. Druskininkai resort is situated in the southern part of Lithuania, on the right bank of the Nemunas River. The nature of the resort is really exceptional: the town is surrounded by pinewoods, magnificent Nemunas, lakes, frolicsome Ratnyčia River. There are many squares, parks; in the very heart of the town, there is the Druskonis Lake. Forests make up as much as 69.2 %, built-up area – 2.4 %, water bodies – 2.4 %, roads – 1.9 %, agricultural land – 20.2 %, other land – 3.8 % of the municipality.

Druskininkai is a resort town with deep-rooted traditions. The researchers of the history of the resort think that as early as in the 13th century, when Lithuanians were fighting against the Order of the Teutonic Knights, there already was a defence castle at the confluence of the Nemunas and Ratnyčia rivers. The first written source, mentioning Druskininkai, is the Lithuanian Metrica (Lietuvos Metrika), which says that in 1596 the village of Druskininkai was given to the governor of Pervalkai estate – Voropaj.  Mineral springs are known since the beginning of the 18th century. The resort was founded in 1794, when the Polish King Stanisław Augustus proclaimed Druskininkai as a health resort. However, it was only after the results of the surveys of chemical composition of mineral water of Druskininkai sources by a professor of Vilnius University I. Fonberg had been published in 1835 that Druskininkai became a real resort. After the results had been submitted to the Emperor of Russia Nikolas I, permission was granted in 1837 to develop Druskininkai as a resort town, although unofficially mineral and mud baths had already been functioning from the beginning of the century. An important occasion for the resort – opening of a railway St Petersburg–Warsaw in 1862. In 1838, a health spa having 14 baths was built, which in 1840–1841 was enlarged to have as many as 50 baths.

Druskininkai is a modern and distinctive international resort, providing qualitative health, tourism and recreational services, as well as maintaining a high living standard. By way of implementing such a vision of a resort town, attempts are made to enhance competitiveness of local business, revive entrepreneurship of both wards and rural areas, stimulate sustainable growth in local resources, infrastructure and public services, alongside preserving the environment. Such a vision of development of the municipality is related not only with the future of Druskininkai as a resort, but also with the future desired by the entire municipality: in order to ensure sustainable development of the municipality, efforts will be made to turn Druskininkai municipality into a unique resort, well-known on a global scale and characterised by distinctive natural environment, offering qualitative health, tourism and recreational services, as well as various forms of entertainment, and attracting massive flows of visitors all year round.

Druskininkai is an important balneological, mud and climate therapy resort with a lot of sanatoriums, health centres and hotels, characterised by original architecture. It is the first and the largest resort in Lithuania, whose services are available all year round. There are mineral springs, sanatoriums, an Aqua Park (opened in December 2006); excellent conditions are provided for active leisure – trips on foot, by bicycle and water. The town attracts many people not only from Lithuania, but also from other counties. In the environs of Druskininkai, there are the famous Raigardas landscape, Druskininkai and Vilkas botanical, Avirė hydrographical reserves, Soviet sculpture museum Grūtas Park (Grūto parkas). There are museums of the famous artist M. K. Čiurlionis, J. Lipchitz Jewish Museum, Museum of Resistance and Deportation, forest museum Girios aidas. Professional art is exhibited in the art gallery Sofa, Small Gallery (Mažoji galerija), V. K Jonynas art gallery, where, alongside exhibitions of works of art, active cultural, educational and other activities take place. In the halls of the resort’s hotels and spas, concerts, performances, exhibitions, meetings and other cultural events are constantly organised. The town is ornamented with many sculptures of famous Lithuanian sculptors – B. Vyšniauskas Ratnyčėlė and Motherhood (Motinystė), G. Karalius The Flight (Skrydis), a monument to M. K. Čiurlionis of V. Vildžiūnas, D. Matulaitė The Lark (Vyturys), a monument to Lithuania of V. Kašuba and many others. The town is annually ornamented with new – which have, however, already become traditional – works of participants of stone sculpture and woodcarvers’ plain-air sessions. Fretwork that is worthy of special attention may be found in the private area – Park of Sculptures and Recreation of Antanas Česnulis. Events attracting numerous spectators are organised annually: International Druskininkai Theatre Festival, international arts festival Druskininkai Summer with M. K. Čiurlionis, international literature festival Druskininkai Poetic Fall, international competition-festival of pianists, piano and chamber ensembles, piano concerts with chamber orchestra Music without Boundaries and other.

Useful links
Druskininkai tourism and business information centre