Mažeikiai district municipality

  Administrative centre – Mažeikiai
  Area – 1220 km² (28 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 65 109 (37.6 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Laižuva, Mažeikiai parish, Mažeikiai, Reivyčiai, Seda, Šerkšnėnai,   Tirkšliai, Viekšniai, Židikai

Mažeikiai district municipality is located in the northern part of Telšiai county and borders on Latvia. The specific features of the landscape are plains with low hills, forests, a dense network of rivers and channels. The larger part of the territory is covered by the Venta Lowland, in the western part there is the border of the Vakarų (West) Kuršas Upland, in the south – the border of the Rytų (East) Žemaičiai Plateau. The district is crossed by the Venta River with tributaries the Varduva, Šerkšnė, Kvistė, Ašva, Vaidminas, and others. There are the lakes of Plinkšiai, Meižiai, Medžialenkė and Seda. The landscape is enlivened by ponds – there are as many as 27 of them in the district (the largest ones being those of Renavas, Juodeikiai, Šerkšnėnai and Kulšėnai, which spin hydraulic turbines). There are as many as 133 peat bogs of various size (those of Raudonoji, Plinkšiai and others), Didžlaukis peat bog. The largest forests are those of Seda, Balėnai and Mažeikiai. Agricultural land makes up 60.3 %, forests – 29.5 %, roads – 2.1 %, built-up area – 3 %, water bodies – 2.6 %, other land – 2.4 % of the municipality.

There are three towns (Mažeikiai, Seda, Viekšniai) and five townships (Laižuva, Leckava, Pikeliai, Tirkšliai, Židikai). The centre of the municipality – Mažeikiai – is located on the Venta Lowland, in the central part of the district. The town was first mentioned in Livonian chronicles in 1335 as a Mažeikiai manor. In the 16th century, Mažeikiai village was mentioned. In 1868, the construction of the Liepāja–Romnai railway was started. The construction of a railway station was launched in Mažeikiai. As the railway station had been built, formation of Mažeikiai town had been started; a particularly rapid growth of the town was observed in 1873, after a railway line to Riga had been constructed. In 1919–1950 Mažeikiai was a county centre; later it became a district centre. Today the town is an important industrial and cultural centre of Northern Lithuania. Qualitative roads connect the district with Latvia, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Vilnius.

The image of Mažeikiai district in the county and in the entire Lithuania is inseparably related to one of the biggest Lithuanian and Eastern European companies – the public company Mažeikių nafta, located near Mažeikiai, in Juodeikiai village. This oil refinery, which is the only one in the Baltic States, is important not only to Lithuania but also to its neighbours both in the economic and strategic sense. However, the district municipality is well-known not only for oil processing but also for wood processing, peat extraction, food industry, agricultural production.

Excursions in the Venta Regional Park, which is famous for impressive rivers, outcrops, castle mounds and water mills, the environs of Mažeikiai or Renavas manor are not that popular yet, neither are they often organised. Excursions around Žemaitija bypass these beauteous places. However, today Mažeikiai district already has 3 tourist routes, while the Renavas manor park belongs to the national cultural tourism route The Road of Parks and Gardens (Parkų ir sodų kelias).

Archaeological, ethnographical and folk art values of Žemaitija region are collected, stored and exhibited in the Mažeikiai Museum, which was founded in 1928. Scientific conferences, commemorations, celebrations of anniversaries of famous people, presentations of books, and many other cultural events are organised in the museum. Traditional days of art organised by Vilnius Academy of Art take place annually in May. The Mažeikiai Museum has six branches: the memorial museum of a writer Šatrijos Ragana, Renavas manor, Viekšniai pharmacy, Aleksandras Griškevičius – Lithuania’s First Aviator, homeland of Juozas Vaičkus, memorial museum of a sculptor Bronius Pundzius. The museum offers additional services – organises excursions around the district.

Useful links
Mažeikiai district municipality
Newspaper of Mažeikiai district Santarvė
Internet portal Samogitia (Žemaitija)