Kalvarija municipality

  Administrative centre – Kalvarija
  Area – 440 km² (9.9 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 13 407 (7.4 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Akmenynai, Kalvarija, Liubavas, Sangrūda

Kalvarija municipality is located in the south-western part of Lithuania, in Marijampolė county. In the south, it borders on the Republic of Poland. The environs of Kalvarija municipality are very picturesque – there are many hills, castle mounds. The territory of the municipality is crossed by the Šešupė, Kirsna, Gazda, Sūduonia, Vaipūnė and other rivers and streams; there are many beautiful lakes (the largest one – Orija Lake near Kalvarija). There are Aguonis national and three local reserves. Agricultural land makes up 73.4 %, forests – 13 %, roads – 2.7 %, built-up area – 2.5 %, water bodies – 2.1 %, other land – 6.2 % of the municipality.

The centre of the municipality, Kalvarija, one of the oldest towns of Užnemunė region, is a border crossing point with a customs office. In the 17th–19th centuries, Kalvarija was a county centre. In 1920, negotiations between Lithuania and Poland on the setting of a demarcation line between Lithuania and Poland were conducted in Kalvarija. At the end of the 19th–beginning of the 20th century, Kalvarija, together with Seinai, Marijampolė and Vilkaviškis, became one of the most important hotbeds of Lithuanian national and cultural revival. The old town of Kalvarija, arranged according to a plan approved in 1892, is a protected monument to urban development. There are the extant ensemble of a horse post station (built in 1825), a Catholic church built by M. J. Sapiega in 1708 and reconstructed later, an Evangelical Lutheran church (built in 1796).

Kalvarija municipality is a frontier region, which impacts on the vision of its development. Kalvarija is the gate to Lithuania. It is a small, attractive municipality, representing the country. Kalvarija municipality is crossed by important transit roads, connecting Eastern and Western Europe – a highway Warsaw–Marijampolė–Saint Petersburg, highway Via Baltica. There is a well-developed network of regional and local roads; the tourism infrastructure is developed. Although currently Kalvarija municipality is a predominantly agricultural region, this frontier region currently experiences profound changes. Its geographic location is particularly favourable for developing the service infrastructure and stimulating economic development.

Currently, Kalvarija Culture and Recreation Park, having cultural and historical value, is expanded and landscaped. As early as in 1891, the park was already known as a Royal Garden (Karališkasis sodas). Various social events – days of the town and the State, celebrations and festivals of amateur theatres of border townships, crafts, Midsummer Day (Joniniės), harvest, wind band concerts, sports events, etc. – are annually organised in the park. Kalvarija is located in a frontier region, therefore part of tourists arriving in it are foreigners. After a proper infrastructure in the Culture and Recreation Park is created, it is planned to organise there not only regional, but also national and even international cultural and sports events. Orija and Jurgežeriai lakes and Šešupė dam near Kalvarija become a centre of attraction for recreational tourism. There are many impressive castle mounds and old graves. Camps of ancient Lithuanians in Turlojiškė and Gulbiniškiai villages are worth visiting. Current archaeological-cultural studies show that the Sudovians (sūduviai, also called the Yotvingians (jotvingiai)), who lived in the region, were an important part of Lithuanian tribes and contributed greatly to the development of culture of the Lithuanian nation, which makes these localities worth visiting. Together with the old graves found near Suvalkai (Šveicarija village), these are one of the most valuable localities in the history of the Lithuanians (the Balts). Fans of active tourism are offered a 52 km long bicycle route Where the lakes spread (Ten, kur tyvuliuoja ežerai).

The amateur theatre Titnagas (The Flint), which is well-known not only within the municipality, but also across the country and is a permanent laureate of national amateur theatre festivals, has been functioning in the municipality for more than twenty years. There is the Mažųjų theatre (Theatre of the Little Ones), which makes the youth take interest in dramatic art. These active theatre groups organise festivals of amateur theatres Bičiuliai (The Mates), which have already become traditional.

Useful links
Kalvarija municipality
Suvalkija tourism and business information centre