Plungė district municipality

  Administrative centre – Plungė
  Area – 1106 km² (25.4 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 43 444 (25.1 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Alsėdžiai, Babrungas, Kuliai, Nausodis, Paukštakiai, Plateliai,   Plungė town, Stalgėnai, Šateikiai, Žemaičių Kalvarija, Žlibinai

Plungė district municipality is located in the northwest of Lithuania, in Telšiai county. The territory is dominated by hilly terrain, formed by the West (Vakarų) Žemaičiai Plateau and the Žemaičiai Upland. Picturesque valleys are crossed by the Minija River with tributaries the Sausdravas, Babrungas, Mišupė, Karkluoja. Hills are intermingled with blue lakes, the largest thereof being Plateliai (1210 ha), Ilgis, Beržoras, Iešnalis, Alsėdžiai. The largest forests are those of Plokštinė-Stirbaičiai, Milašaičiai. Fifteen kilometres to the north from Plungė, there starts the Žemaitija National Park, which is well-known in Lithuania and abroad; the park covers Plateliai Lake. There are the Aukštasis tyras and Reiskiai tyras geomorphologic, Gandinga, Minijos pralauža and Ruškis landscape reserves. Agricultural land makes up 50.9 %, forests – 34.6 %, roads – 1.7 %, built-up area – 2 %, water bodies – 3.2 %, other land – 7.6 % of the municipality.

There is one town – Plungė, which is also an administrative centre, and four townships – Alsėdžiai, Kuliai, Plateliai and Žemaičių Kalvarija. Plungė is located at a convenient crossing of roads and a railway, astride the Babrungas River. From the 14th to the second half of the 16th century, Plungė had been an ordinary settlement; in 1567, it had been already mentioned as a township, while in 1792 it obtained Magdeburg city rights. A considerable impact on the development of the town was made by the Counts Zubov and Dukes Ogiński who governed it. There are a manor and a park of the Ogiński, which are one of the most beautiful in Lithuania. About 1875, the Duke Ogiński had established one of the first music schools in Lithuania, where M. K. Čiurlionis studied. At the end of the 19th–beginning of the 20th century, agricultural exhibitions were organised in the estate.

Light (particularly linen), food industry is developed in Plungė. The district is also an important tourism, agricultural and forestry centre. The splendid landscapes and lakes are of the greatest value in Plungė district. The unique protected area is the Žemaitija National Park, the largest part whereof is situated namely in Plungė district. Visitors are amazed by the Mingėla oak by the Plungė–Kuliai road, Perkūnas oak in the Plungė park and Ragana (witch) ash in the Plateliai park. Plungė is famed for its Plungė, Rietavas, Šateikiai and Plateliai parks, which are characterised by unique flora, layout, interesting history. There are many archaeological monuments – Šarnelė Stone Age camp, Gandinga, Gintališkė, Lapaičiai, Pūčkoriai castle mounds, Plateliai site of an ancient castle and others. Alsėdžiai and Žemaitijos Kalvarija townships, with a historically formed network of streets, squares, spatial compositions, are protected as urban development monuments. A place of particular importance for Catholics is the township of Žemaičių Kalvarija, which is famous for its July religious festivals and pilgrimage. In the 16th century, the basilica of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary and 19 Stations of the Cross were built there. Interesting historical past and great architectural value are borne by the ensembles and parks of former Plungė and Šateikiai estates.

Artistic, educational and sociocultural activities, allowing community members to satisfy their cultural and educational needs, as well as ensuring cultural individuality of the district and making it an attractive place both in cultural and economic senses, is developed in the Žemaičiai (Samogitian) Art Museum, public library, cultural centres.

In the mansion of the Dukes Ogiński, there is the Žemaičiai (Samogitian) Art Museum – the first and, for the time being, the only museum of art in the region. The place is representative not only of Plungė, but also of the entire Žemaitija region, where not only educative cultural events, but also meetings of official foreign guests and delegations take place. Taking into consideration the fact that Plungė town and district are geographically distant from main cultural centres, the Žemaičiai (Samogitian) Art Museum provides one a possibility to familiarise oneself with professional art, as well as accumulates, stores and exhibits works of modern Lithuanian artists.

Useful links
Plungė district municipality
Plungė tourism and business information centre
Public library of Plungė district municipality
Internet portal Samogitia (Žemaitija)