Šilalė district municipality

  Administrative centre – Šilalė
  Area – 1188 km² (26.9 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 30 131 (23.7 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Bijotai, Bilioniai, Didkiemis, Kaltinėnai, Kvėdarna, Laukuva, Pajūris,   Palentinis, Šilalė rural, Šilalė town, Teneniai, Traksėdis, Upyna, Žadeikiai

Šilalė district municipality is located in the south-western part of Tauragė county. Almost the entire territory of the municipality is covered by the Žemaičiai Upland with the highest hill in Žemaitija – that of Medvėgalis. The municipality is crossed by the fast-flowing Jūra River with tributaries the Akmena, Vėžus and Lokysta. There are eight lakes (the largest ones – Paršežeris and Požerė), two ponds, peat deposits of Bokštai-Klabai and Plynoji. There are (part of) the Stempliai landscape, Medvėgalis and Bilionys geomorphologic reserves, Pagramantis Regional Park. Larger forests – Didkiemis, Pagramantis, Teneniai, Šventai, Radvietis. Agricultural land makes up 55.7 %, forests – 28.4 %, roads – 2.2 %, built-up area – 2 %, water bodies – 2.5 %, other land – 9.2 % of the municipality.

There is one town (Šilalė) and seven townships (Kaltinėnai, Kvėdarna, Laukuva, Pajūris, Teneniai, Upyna, Žvingiai) in Šilalė district municipality. The centre of the district municipality – Šilalė – was first mentioned at the beginning of the 16th century, when the first church in Šilalė was built. In 1660, Šilalė was granted a trade privilege (repeatedly – in 1744), and a settlement was renamed to a township. Šilalė, as well as many other townships of Žemaitija region, was repeatedly devastated by fires. After the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, Šilalė particularly improved in appearance. In 1994, a new building of a cultural centre was opened, the Independence Square was tidied up, and a sculpture Herald of Freedom (Laisvės šauklys; sculptor K. Kisielius) was put there.

Economic life in Šilalė district, in principle, spins on a single axis – agriculture. The rest of businesses are more or less related to the main purpose – rational farming and processing of agricultural products. Qualitative roads connect the district with other cities and towns of Lithuania, favourably impact on economic development and are useful for the development of cognitive and rural tourism.

In the years of the ban on the Lithuanian press, there were several main centres of Žemaitija book-smugglers (book spreaders; so-called knygnešiai) within Šilalė district: in Kvėdarna, Žvingiai, Teneniai, Pajūris. Most of the ecclesiastics and landowners of Šilalė region were punished for participating in and supporting the rebellion in 1863.

Fans of active tourism may travel the 23 km long Aukštagirė bicycle and pedestrian trail (duration of the trip – 5 hours). Hikers may familiarise themselves with natural and cultural treasures of the southern part of the Varniai Regional Park: Bilionys, Medvėgalis historical-archaeological complexes, architectural objects of Požerė township. Fans of car trips may travel the route Šilalė Tour (Šilalės turas). Tourists are attracted by the Medvėgalis Hill, Padievytis, Treigiai, Burbiškai, Kunigiškiai, Bilionys and other castle mounds, Laukuva and Kvėdarna townships, the Church of St. Rochus in Varsėdžiai (16th century), the wooden Church in the Name of the Virgin Mary in Upyna (19th century), the Church of the Guardian Angels in Didkiemis (18th century), the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Šilalė (16th century) and others; the watermill in Bardžiai; the museum of folk crafts in Upyna. In Vytogala village, there is the house where S. Girėnas was born, who in 1933, together with S. Darius, flew across the Atlantic.

In Šilalė district, in Bijotai, there is the first Lithuanian museum – the Museum of Hollow Trees of Dionizas Poška, which still amazes visitors as a natural treasure, having no analogues. Over a year, the museum is visited by about 20 thousand visitors.

Useful links
Šilalė district public library