Jurbarkas district municipality

  Administrative centre – Jurbarkas
  Area – 1507 km² (34.2 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 35 158 (27.6 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Eržvilkas, Girdžiai, Juodaičiai, Jurbarkai, Jurbarkas town, Raudonė,   Seredžius, Skirsnemunė, Smalininkai, Šimkaičiai, Veliuona, Viešvilė

Jurbarkas district municipality is situated in the south of Tauragė county, by the Nemunas River, in the lowlands of Karšuva. The territory of the municipality is crossed by Mituva River with tributaries – the Vidauja, Alsa, Imsrė, Gausantė and others. At the eastern border of the district, there are the lower reaches of the Dubysa River, in the northern part – the Šešuvis with a tributary the Šaltuona. The 10 lakes in the municipality are small; the landscape is enlivened by 6 ponds (those of Girdžiai, Jurbarkai, Klausučiai, Volungiškiai, etc.). A large part of the territory is covered by the huge Karšuva woodland. In the western part of the district, there is the Viešvilė reserve; to the east of Šilinė, there is the Panemunai Regional Park. Agricultural land makes up 53.9 %, forests – 38.1 %, roads – 1.6 %, built-up area – 2.2 %, water bodies – 2.6 %, other land – 1.6 % of the municipality. There are two towns in the municipality – Jurbarkas and Smalininkai, as well as 8 townships – Eržvilkas, Raudonė, Seredžius, Stakiai, Šimkaičiai, Vadžgirys, Veliuona, and Viešvilė.

The centre of the district municipality – Jurbarkas, situated by the rivers of Nemunas and Mituva, and the Kaunas–Klaipėda highway. The longest (496 m) bridge in Lithuania – over the Nemunas River – was built there. In 2009, the town will be celebrating its 750th anniversary, since in 1259 its name – Jurbarkas (Georgenburg) – was for the first time mentioned in a historical chronicle. In 1611, Jurbarkas obtained Magdeburg rights. At the end of the 19th–beginning of the 20th century, in the years of the ban on the Lithuanian press, the way of book-smugglers (book spreaders; so-called knygnešiai) went from Lithuania Minor through Jurbarkas. In 1915–1917 and 1947–1950, Jurbarkas was a county, since 1950 – district centre.

Jurbarkas town and district are first of all distinguished by forest and agricultural products processing industry. Timber, primary flax processing, sewing and food industry are developed. Jurbarkas district municipality is classified under problematic areas. The distribution of the urban and rural population in this region is completely different from that in Lithuania. Due to the said reason, particularly great attention is directed towards motivation of communities’ initiative. The impact of the currently functioning communities on economic and infrastructural development is still inconsiderable; however, the number of their members has been gradually increasing, while their role in self-government processes becomes increasingly significant – this fact is also proved by the growing number of projects initiated and implemented by the communities.

Concentration of cultural heritage objects is particularly high on a picturesque segment of a road Kaunas–Jurbarkas, from Seredžius to Jurbarkas, meandering along the bank of the Nemunas River. There are castle mounds, homesteads, castles, churches and other objects of cultural and social value located each several kilometres. Among the castle mounds, the most conspicuous ones are those of Veliuona I (Gediminas tomb), Veliuona II, Jurbarkas (castle mounds where battles with crusaders took place), Rambynas Hill (a place of rites of Lithuanian pagans, a shrine hill). Lapgiriai and Jurbarkas homesteads, Veliuona and Belvederis mansions with parks, the building of a former inn in Šilinė, Raudonė castle, a mill and a park, Stations of the Cross of the Church of the Assumption in Pašaltuonys (16th century), Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Girdžiai (19th century), Church of the Sacred Heart in Raudonė (17th century), Church of the Holy Trinity in Jurbarkas (15th century) and other churches should be mentioned as well.

Particular attention in Jurbarkas region is devoted to preserving ethnical culture. The Jurbarkas Region Museum constantly offers the residents and guests of the town educational programmes on various historical and ethnocultural topics. In March 2008, the Gastronomic Heritage Fund issued a certificate to the Jurbarkas Tourism Information Centre, granting the gastronomic heritage route of Jurbarkas region a Gastronomic Heritage status, i.e. a right to mark the route with a Gastronomic Heritage sign and to organise excursions. People travelling along the route are familiarised with the cuisine of Jurbarkas region; they can taste fish soup of Viešvilė region, a drink made of acorns, fried herring, gingerbread, “silky” porridge, apple cheese, special home-made bread and other dishes specific to the region. A cultural tourism route along the rulers’ road should be mentioned as well. Fans of water tourism are offered charter trips by riverboats along the Nemunas, while people preferring other types of active recreation are offered a bicycle tourism route. Multiple exhibits, reflecting traditional culture, were collected in the Jurbarkas Region Museum, Veliuona Museum of Regional Studies and other public museums (there are as many as 25 of them in the region), as well as in the private museum of Justinas Stonys in Smalininkai; there are also unique photographs, on which regional ethnical culture of the 20th century was immortalised. A big collection of folklore manuscripts, accumulated in Veliuona owing to the efforts of a teacher, regional ethnographer, folklore specialists Stasys Liutvinavičius, is stored in the public literature museum of Antanas and Jonas Juška general school. It has already been for the second year in a row that the Vincas Grybas memorial museum invited visitors to a “museum night” – an event during which the locals and guests may visit museums and see a spectacular programme, lasting for as much as 5 hours, free of charge.

Useful links
Jurbarkas district municipality