Administrative centre – Kretinga
Area – 989 km² (19 % of the county’s area)
Population – 45 835 (12.1 % of the county’s population)
Wards – Darbėnai, Imbarė, Kartena, Kretinga town, Kūlupėnai, Salantai town, Žalgiris
Kretinga district municipality is situated in Klaipėda county, to the north from Klaipėda district municipality. At the north-western border of the district flows Šventoji, at the eastern one – one of the most beautiful rivers in Žemaitija region – Minija. Because of its relatively clean water and sandy and pebbly riverbed, a larger part of the river (30 km) is protected as an ichthyologic reserve – in order to protect the population of the Salmonidae. Picturesque is the broad valley of Salantas – the tributary of Minija – with a spectacular riverbed and a landscape which was barely touched by human economic activity. Salantai Regional Park, including part of Minija fringes, is situated there. Akmena River, which outside the territory of Kretinga district is called Dane, flows out of Vaineikiai forests. The largest forests – Vaineikiai, Šventoji, Mikoliškiai, etc. In the vicinity of Darbėnai, there is the only lake in the district – Kašučiai, near Lazdininkai village – the largest water body in the district. Agricultural land covers 54 %, forests – 34.6 %, roads – 2.1 %, built-up area – 2.4 %, water bodies – 2.4 %, other land – 4.4 % of the municipality.
There are two towns (Kretinga and Salantai) and two townships (Darbėnai and Kartena) in the municipality. The centre of the municipality – Kretinga – is an old Lithuanian seaside settlement. In 1253, Kretinga Castle, belonging to the Curonians (kuršiai), was for the first time mentioned in the chronicle of the Livonian Order. In 1609, count Jonas Chodkevičius signed a privilege establishing that a town should be founded near Kretinga village, which should be granted Magdeburg rights. After World War I, up to the year 1950, Kretinga was a county centre. Small and medium businesses prevail in Kretinga town and district. The largest share of all enterprises is comprised of those engaging in retail trade and provision of services to the population. Enterprises registered in rural wards of Kretinga district mostly engage in trade, wood and stone processing, provision of agricultural and forestry, as well as accommodation and catering services, food production. The municipality is also characterised by well-developed manufacture of furniture, flax processing, compound feedingstuff production, fish processing.
The territory of the district municipality is convenient for its inhabitants, attractive to investors, and hospitable to guests. The landscape is particularly favourable for developing tourism. When travelling motorways, one may see an attractive panoramic view to behold; there are many scenic viewpoints, picturesque river valleys. The most valuable natural wealth – boulders, peppering the entire basin of Akmena River. Minija River is rather intensively used for water tourism purposes – canoe routes, several bicycle routes. There are beaches equipped near Akmena River, attracting many residents of Kretinga city, as well as a water route with quays Kretingos malūnas–Kretingos dvaras–Vienkiemis (Kretinga mill–Kretinga manor–Hamlet).
The region boasts historical and cultural monuments, which are really worth visiting: Įpiltis and Kurmaičiai historical, Grūšlaukė landscape reserves, Auksūdis, Dauginčiai, Ėgliškės, Imbarė, Įpiltis and other castle mounds, mythical stones, stone-paved roads. Roadside and field crosses Pakelių shrines form an interesting landscape and contribute to the couleur locale of Žemaitija region. The old part of Kretinga town is a monument of urban development. The homestead-museum of the Orvydai in Gargždelė attracts particular attention. It is a private museum of sacral and mystical art under the open sky, founded by a talented folk artist, sculptor Kazimieras Vilius Orvidas, who, together with his sons, was for many years, especially in the period of land-reclamation, bringing stones and pieces of wood of unusual shape from Salantai and environs thereof to his homestead and creating monuments and various sculptures. Kretinga Franciscan abbey community and its helpers (Kretinga Franciscan Youth Council) purposefully advocate Kretinga as a special spiritual tourism centre on an international scale. Active recreational and educational activities are undertaken by Kretinga museum – centre of the region’s cultural life. By the number of visitors, this museum ranks first in Lithuania for many years; it also outpaces other Lithuanian museums in terms of the number of conferences, expeditions, exhibitions, and other events organised.
The greatest potential for attracting visitors is shown by the international festival of chamber plays Kaukutis, Shrove Tuesday (Užgavėnės), St Anthony (Šv. Antanas) Feast – Kretinga town festival, Manor Festival (Dvaro festivalis).
Motiejus Valančius Public Library
Kretinga business information centre