Šakiai district municipality

  Administrative centre – Šakiai
  Area – 1453 km² (32.6 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 36 364 (20.1 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Barzdai, Gelgaudiškis, Griškabūdis, Kiduliai, Kriūkai, Kudirkos   Naumiestis, Lekėčiai, Lukšiai, Plokščiai, Sintautai, Slavikai, Sudargas, Šakiai,   Žvirgždaičiai

Šakiai district municipality is the largest municipality of Marijampolė county, located in the southwest of Lithuania, at the border with Kaliningrad Region. The entire territory of the county is situated in the Užnemunė Lowland. In the north, the Nemunas separates the municipality from Jurbarkas district; in the west, the Šešupė (the district is crossed by its tributaries – the Nova, Siesartis and Jotija) separates it from Kaliningrad Region and Vilkaviškis district, the small river of Liekė and Rūdšilis forest – from Kaliningrad Region. The Nemunas riverside, crossed by tens of small rivers and streams, peppered with castle mounds and tumuli, spreads from Pavilkijys to Sudargas and forms Panemuniai Regional Park, which was established in 1992 in order to preserve the unique landscape of the lower reaches of the Nemunas. Agricultural land makes up 68 %, forests – 22.8 %, roads – 1.9 %, built-up area – 1.7 %, water bodies – 2.1 %, other land – 3.5 % of the municipality.

There are three towns (Gelgaudiškis, Kudirkos Naumiestis, Šakiai) and eight townships (Barzdai, Griškabūdis, Kriūkai, Lekėčiai, Lukšiai, Sintautai, Žemoji Panemunė, Žvirgždaičiai). The centre of the district municipality – Šakiai. City rights were obtained by Šakiai at the beginning of the 19th century.

From time immemorial, Šakiai district has been famous as a land of good farmers. Rich loam and soddy podzolic soils provide favourable conditions for growing agricultural crops. Almost ideally flat valleys, crossed by rivers, a rational network of settlements allow using modern equipment and applying progressive technologies. However, keeping in mind the realities of the information society, the quality of life in rural areas is improved by increasing employment, i.e. by promoting the shift from agricultural to non-agricultural activities, as well as development of services provided to the rural population and crafts.

Šakiai region is characterised not only by large areas of rich soil, but also by the natural landscape, which has been preserved in many localities; it is one of the ecologically cleanest regions of Lithuania. The beauty of nature is preserved in as many as seven national reserves. Travellers are attracted not only by enchanting old mansions situated on the bank of the Nemunas, but also by those of Gelgaudiškis and Ilguva, Kiduliai and Zypliai, architecture of churches in Griškabūdis and Kudirkos Naumiestis, museums of Vincas Kudirka and Zanavykai region, Šventaduobė (uncovered chapel) in Plokščiai, as well as many other cultural and natural objects protected by the state. There are numerous cultural values (namely artistic objects) in churches: those are the works of art created by professional, folk, and unknown artists.

Useful links
Tourist Information Centre of the Šešupė Euroregion
Circus studio Šypsena (The Smile)