Anykščiai district municipality

  Administrative centre – Anykščiai
  Area – 1765 km² (24.5 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 32 137 (18.6 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Andrioniškis, Anykščiai, Debeikiai, Kavarskas, Kurkliai,   Skiemonys, Svėdasai, Traupis, Troškūnai, Viešintos

Anykščiai district municipality is located in the western part of Utena county. A major part of its territory is occupied by the Vakarų (West) Aukštaičiai Plateau, in the southeast melting into the Aukštaičiai Upland. The western part of the district is situated on the periphery of the Nevėžis Lowland. The municipality is crossed by the Šventoji with tributaries the Jara, Anykšta, Virinta, Pelyša; there are also the headwaters of the Nevėžis with tributaries. There are 76 lakes (Rubikiai, Nevėžis, Suosa, Viešintas, Alaušas and others), 6 ponds. Forests, mostly pinewoods, occupy large areas. The largest forests are those of Ramuldava, Troškūnai, Šimoniai. Agricultural land makes up 55.9 %, forests – 30.6 %, rods – 1.8 %, built-up area – 1.9 %, water bodies – 3 %, other land – 6.8 % of the municipality.

There are three towns – Anykščiai, Kavarskas, Troškūnai, and eight townships – Andrioniškis, Debeikiai, Kurkliai, Skiemonys, Surdegis, Svėdasai, Traupis and Viešintos.

The centre of the district municipality – Anykščiai – was for the first time mentioned in written sources in 1440 as a seat of the Grand Duke of Lithuania. In the second half of the 15th century, Anykščiai township was mentioned. In the 16th century, Anykščiai was shared between the estate of the Grand Duke, which included a larger part of the township, and a vicar. In 1792, the last King and Grand Duke of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Stanisław II August Poniatowski (Stanislovas Augustas) granted Anykščiai city rights (in 1795, this privilege was annulled). In the first half of the 19th century, the township was rapidly growing; it was the time when the structure of the town was formed, which has persisted in the Old Town up to now. At the turn of the 19th–20thcentury, a narrow-gauge railway Panevėžys–Švenčionėliai, a metal bridge over the river Šventoji and a railway station were constructed. The economic importance of the narrow-gauge railway diminished and vanished at the end of the 20th century; today, the narrow-gauge railway is used exclusively for tourism and recreation. In 1919–1947, Anykščiai was a district (valsčius) centre. In 1938, Anykščiai was granted city rights and a status of a resort area. From 1950 up to date – a district centre.

In 1926, Balys Karazija started producing fruit wine in Anykščiai, and since then on wine industry traditions have been cherished in the town. There is a public company Anykščių vynas, producing alcoholic beverages, processing fruit and berries. Near Anykščių, there are the richest quartz sand resources in the Baltic States, quartz sand mining and processing is therefore developed; base metal welding electrodes are well known in Lithuania and abroad. Food industry is developed. In 2007, Anykščiai was granted a status of a resort area.

Guests arriving in Anykščiai and the locals may notice that the town with its environs forms a harmonious geographical, economic and cultural integrity – Anykščiai region. In order to preserve the valuable, from the natural and cultural points of view, areas of north-eastern Aukštaitija, the Anykščiai Regional Park was established. There are the Šventoji landscape, Gykiai botanical, Virinta and Šventoji ichthyological, Virinta hydrographical and other reserves. The Šventoji tourist track (Šventosios pažintinis takas) starts in Anykščiai and via Šventoji up to the Puntukas stone (boulder) with the profiles of the conquerors of the Atlantic Ocean S. Darius and S. Girėnas carved on it (sculptor B. Pundzius). Other objects worth visiting include the Queen’s Quagmire in Pašventupys, Betygala outcrop, Rubikiai lake with 16 islands, Burbiškės manor, Voruta, Liudiškiai, Papiliai and other castle mounds, a school in Kinigiškiai where a painter K. Sklėrius and bishop J. Tumas-Vaižgantas studied, the Neo-Gothic church of St Mathew the Evangelist in Anykščiai, the old one-street villages of Pakalniai and Pravydžiai. Anykščiai was famed for well-known cultural personages, who were born and lived there: a writer A. Vienuolis-Žukauskas, a bishop and poet A. Baranauskas. There is the Memorial Museum of A. Baranauskas and A. Vienuolis-Žukauskas. There are also interesting and unique narrow-gauge railway and Horse museums.

Many concerts and other events are organised annually – a traditional choir festival Gaida, Aukštaitija sports dance festival Anykščių pavasaris, a national equine sports and traditional culture festival Bėk bėk žirgeli, and others.

Useful links
Anykščiai tourism information centre