Kazlų Rūda municipality

  Administrative centre – Kazlų Rūda
  Area – 555 km² (12.4 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 14 497 (8 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Antanavas, Jankai, Kazlų Rūda, Plutiškės

The major part of Kazlų Rūda municipality is located in the fertile Užnemunė Lowland. The municipality is among the most wooded ones in Lithuania. There is Kazlų Rūda landscape reserve. 59.4 % of the territory is covered by large Kazlų Rūda forests, while agricultural land makes up 30.2 %, roads – 1 %, built-up area – 3.3 %, water bodies – 2.1 %, other land – 4 % of the municipality.

The centre of the municipality – Kazlų Rūda, located by the Jūrė River. It is a distinctive town with deep-rooted traditions, which was first mentioned in 1737 as a Kazla tar distiller building (where 2 families lived). The said tar distiller was built as production of timber, required for the construction of buildings and ships, as well as wood products (tar, ash, coal) was increasing. It was around that time that iron ore was found in the marshes of the region. The family of Kazlas started establishing iron workshops (so-called rudnias); thus, foundry business started being cultivated alongside forestry business. The number of inhabitants of Kazlų Rūda village was constantly increasing, foundry business was developing. However, as a feeder of the railway line Petersburg–Warsaw from Lentvaris to Virbalis via Kaunas (in the direction of the border with Prussia) had been built in 18611862, the articles produced by the Kazlas were superseded by iron articles imported from Russia and Germany. After the feeder railway line Kazlų Rūda–Marijampolė–Šeštokai had been built in 19221923, Kazlų Rūda became a railway centre. In 1930, Kazlų Rūda district (valsčius) was established, with a centre in Kazlų Rūda. In 1950, it obtained city rights.

The main economic activities developed in Kazlų Rūda municipality are as follows: primary wood processing, manufacture of wooden articles, stoves and burners, food industry, wholesale and retail trade, services.

Whereas Kazlų Rūda municipality is among the most wooded ones, an active tourism infrastructure may be developed there. An unusual method of recreation – military tourism in Judrė Park (Kazlų Rūda forest) – should be mentioned; such activities are organised in order to allow people to try their strength in an extreme hike, with natural obstacles and a minimally reduced risk to health. The hikes take place in an astonishingly beautiful place – Kazlų Rūda forests.

Kazlų Rūda Forest Museum, opened in 1983 on initiative of Kazlų Rūda training forest district, invites visitors who want to familiarise themselves with forest flora and fauna; there are a lot of different exhibits, botanical and dendrological collections. The municipality is also famed for its folk artists and craftsmen; their plain-air sessions are often organised there. The wooden church of St Bishop Stanislaw in Višakis Rūda, built in 1883, is one of the most beautiful wooden sacred structures in Užnemunė region. In the old park of Antanavas village, the end of the 17th century is represented by a hexagonal chapel. There are a lot of small old cemeteries of historical value.

Useful links
Kazlų Rūda municipality
Tourist Information Centre of the Šešupė Euroregion