Akmenė district municipality

  Administrative centre – Naujoji Akmenė
  Area – 844 km² (9.9 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 27 744 (7.9 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Akmenė, Kruopiai, Naujoji Akmenė rural, Naujoji Akmenė town,   Papilė, Venta

Akmenė district municipality is located in the south-western part of Šiauliai county, at the border with Latvia. There is the eastern border of Žemaitija region; the region of Aukštaitija starts there. The district is situated in the lowland of the middle reaches of the largest river in the region – the Venta River. The territory is also crossed by its tributaries – the Virvytė, Vadakstis and Dabikinė. There is the Venta Regional Park, Kamanos, Purviai reserves, Papilė geological, Venta landscape reserves; there are hydrographical reserves extending along the Avižlys, Dabikinė and Virvytė rivers, the old parks of Dabikinė, Kruopiai, Papilė. There are 5 ponds, the largest whereof – Sablauskiai. To the north from Akmenė, there is one of the oldest oligotrophic bogs in Europe – Kamanos marshland. The largest forests – Pragalvojai, Kamanos, Latveliškiai, Girkančiai, Lydmiškis. Agricultural land makes up 56.4 %, forests – 31.6 %, roads – 2.2 %, built-up area – 2.1 %, water bodies – 2.3 %, other land – 5.4 % of the municipality.

There are three towns – Akmenė, Naujoji Akmenė, Venta, and two townships – Kruopiai, Papilė. The land of Akmenė was for the first time mentioned in 1229 in a Livonian Chronicle written in verse, describing a march of a master of the Livonian Order to Alsiai. In 1359, near Papilė, the Livonian Brothers of the Sword fought against the army of the žemaičiai (inhabitants of Žemaitija region) and suffered considerable losses. In 1511, Akmenė estate, belonging to the elders of Žemaitija – Kęsgaila, was mentioned. In 1531, the Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund I the Old (Žygimantas Senasis) allowed to build the township of Akmenė and organise there markets. Akmenė region was sucked into the maelstrom of uprisings against the occupation government of czarist Russia. In 1831, rebels marched along its roads; the events of the spring of 1863 were written in the history of Lithuania with golden letters. In March of the said year, the leader of rebels of Šiauliai county Jonas Stanevičius started recruiting squads of armed men in the forests of Biliūniškiai village. His squads successfully withstood the attacks of a regular army. On 22 June 1863, the battle of the regular Russian army with a squad of rebels lead by B. Dluskis-Jablonskis in the forests of Draginiai, near Papilė, ended up with the victory of the latter. In the times of ban on the Lithuanian press, secret Lithuanian schools functioned and banned literature brought to Lithuania by book-smugglers (so-called knygnešiai) was distributed in the environs of Papilė, in the villages of Akmenė and other points of the region. The region bore severe losses in 1940–1945 as it was occupied by the Soviet Union, later – by the Hitler’s German army.

The administrative centre – the town of Naujoji Akmenė – was first built as a settlement for the workers of a cement plant that was constructed in the secluded marshes of Karpėkai. In 1949, the first houses in the current Naujoji Akmenė were built. A new leaf in the history of the town was turned over in 1965, as the centre of the re-established Akmenė district was moved to Naujoji Akmenė.

The district is crossed by a Šiauliai–Mažeikiai railway, constructed in 1871, Biržai–Mažeikiai oil pipeline; roads go from the district to Latvia, Joniškis, Šiauliai Mažeikiai, Telšiai. There are colossal resources of limestone, which conditioned the directions for the development of the local economy. The district municipality is well-known in Lithuania, as well as abroad, as an important region of manufacture of building materials (cement, roofing, lime). Loamy Cambisols provide favourable conditions for the development of agriculture.

There are two Papilė castle mounds, Luokava Hill, many tumuli and sacred places.

Useful links
Akmenė district municipality
Akmenė district tourism and business information centre