Rietavas municipality

  Administrative centre – Rietavas
  Area – 586 km² (13.5 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 10 085 (5.8 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Daugėdai, Medingėnai, Rietavas town, Rietavas, Tverai

Rietavas municipality is located in the southern part of Telšiai county, at the foothills of the western part of the Žemaitija Upland. The territory is crossed by the Jūra with the largest tributary thereof – the Aitra. There is the Ruškis landscape reserve. Forests (Užpeliai-Patyrys, Lėgai, Peklinė, Pupšiai-Meškiai, Girdvainiai and others) make up more than half (51.4 %), agricultural land – 37.5 %, roads – 2.6 %, built-up area – 1.7 %, water bodies – 2 %, other land – 4.8 % of the municipality.

There is one town – the municipal centre – Rietavas, and one township – Tverai. Rietavas was for the fist time mentioned in 1253. As early as in the 14th–15th centuries, it was already one of the main defence centres of Žemaitija region, where important trade routes intersected. In 1792, Stanislovas Augustas (Stanisław II August Poniatowski), the King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, granted Rietavas Magdeburg rights. The town was considerably impacted on by the family of the noblemen Ogiński, which governed Rietavas from 1763. Through their efforts, serfdom was abolished in Rietavas mansion; in 1859, an agricultural school was founded, where the Lithuanian language was taught; in 1872, the first professional music school in Lithuania was opened; in 1882, the first telephone line in Lithuania (54.8 km long) was installed in Rietavas; in 1892, the first power plant in Lithuania and imperial Russia started functioning in the Rietavas mansion. In 1915, Rietavas was a county, later district (valsčius) centre. After World War II, Rietavas became a district centre. In 1963, Rietavas was joined to Plungė district, while in 2000 Rietavas municipality was established.

Agriculture and forestry, peat extraction are developed in the municipality. In the agricultural sector, farms engaging in unconventional activities secure their positions. Organic farming is a perspective field; therefore, there is a greater possibility for small, cooperative farms to develop in the future.

There is the Ogiński Cultural History Museum in Rietavas; educational and cultural activities are also engaged in by a local public library with branches and a cultural centre. There is the Žemaitija College, as well as an art school. Rietavas region is famed for the mixed choir of the Rietavas cultural centre, children’s dance ensemble, folk theatre, folk ensemble, wind orchestra of the Rietavas art school.

The Rietavas cultural centre organises various traditional celebrations, concerts, national celebrations, commemorations of important, memorable dates, social events – an annual festival of drama groups Theatre days in Rietavas (Teatro dienos Rietave), an international festival of sacral music, a biennial traditional event The days of the wards (Seniūnijų dienos), Literary spring in Rietavas (Rietavo literatūrinis pavasaris). The Shrove Tuesday (Užgavėnės), the Midsummer Day (Joninės) are celebrated, the commemoration of the All Soul's Day is organised annually. The Childhood Festival (Vaikystės šventė), Christmas and New Year celebrations, annually celebrated St. Michael’s Day (Mykolinės) have beautiful, deep-rooted traditions. Quite a number of musical and literary events is organised by the art enthusiasts club The Muse (Mūza).

Useful links
Internet portal Samogitia (Žemaitija)