Ignalina district municipality

  Administrative centre – Ignalina
  Area – 1447 km² (20.1 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 20 147 (11.7 % of the county’s population)
  Wards – Ceikiniai, Didžiasalis, Dūkštas, Ignalina town, Ignalina, Kazitiškis,   Linkmenys, Mielagėnai, Naujasis Daugėliškis, Rimšė, Tverčius, Vidiškiai

Ignalina district municipality is located in the eastern part of Utena county, at the border with Belarus. It covers the Švenčionys Upland, as well as the Dysna Plain in the west and the northern part of South-Eastern Plain. There are the highest points of Švenčionys Upland – the Nevaišiai (288.9 m) and Būdakalnis (284.8 m) hills. The Dysna River with a tributary the Birvėta, other streams meander among the hills. The region is adorned with more than 200 lakes (Dysnai, Dringis, Dydnykštis, Apvardai, Dūkštas and others). Soils (mostly silty and sandy) are good for pine and fir woods. The district covers the largest part of the Aukštaitija National Park, Smalvas, Ažušilė landscape, Nevaišiai geomorphological, Dysna hydrographical, Pušnis, Milašius telmological and other reserves. Soils (mostly silty and sandy) are good for pine and fir woods. About one-third of the territory is covered with forests, the largest whereof – that of Ažvinčiai. Agricultural land makes up 42.3 %, forests – 35.5 %, roads – 2.1 %, built-up area – 1.7 %, water bodies – 9.5 %, other land – 8.9 % of the municipality.

There are two towns – Dūkštas and Ignalina, and three townships – Mielagėnai, Rimšė and Tverečius.

The centre of the district municipality – Ignalina – is a young town, surrounded with pinewoods and nine lakes, situated astride the railway line Vilnius–Saint Petersburg, at a crossing of highways. Factually, the history of Ignalina starts in the years 1857–1862, when the railway line Saint Petersburg–Warsaw was being constructed, and the land required for the construction was purchased by the imperial government from Ignas Kaminskis who owned the Ignalina estate. The railway was of immense importance to the settlement; communication with Vilnius and Daugavpils was improved. In 1895, it was already inhabited by about 300 persons, mostly the Jews, who moved their trade business from Palūšė. After World War I, Ignalina remained in the region occupied by the Poles. It was only after World War II that the town started growing. In 1950, it was granted city rights, became a district centre. As compared with other district centres, Ignalina was a smallish town, built up with single-storey wooden houses, almost all streets were unpaved. Today, Ignalina is not only an administrative, but also a prospective educational, cultural and tourism centre. In 2007, the residential areas of Ignalina town, Strigailiškis and Palūšė were granted the status of resort areas. Hopefully, given a further consistent development of the infrastructure and expansion of the service network, one more resort will come into existence in Lithuania.

Ignalina district is a tourism, recreation, winter sports, forestry region. The future of the district is thought to be related to the development of the tourism sector. New tourism and sports objects appear in the district annually, new projects aimed at the improvement of living conditions of the locals are implemented, which makes the region a more attractive and interesting place. Domestic and foreign tourists are first of all attracted to the district by its waterways and routes, environment perfectly suitable for cycling sport and, surely, winter recreation possibilities (Ignalina is also called a winter sports capital). In wintertime, as well as in summertime, visitors are awaited in the Lithuanian winter sports centre, located at the border of Ignalina, at the beautiful Šiekštys (Žaliasis) Lake. Visitors are offered ski tracks equipped with ski lifts; various competitions, celebrations take place. The only 7.5 km long roller skate track in Lithuania meanders along the hilly terrain. Ignalina is the first region of Lithuania to have developed a plan for the revival of tourism.

The region is famed for its picturesque environs. Tourists and holidaymakers are attracted by the Linkmenai, Ginučiai and other castle mounds, Dūkštas, Vidiškiai, Paliesius mansions and parks, the wooden church of St Joseph in Palūšė, the church of the Crucifixion in Gaidė and other churches, the Juodgalviai watermill, the old villages and towns of Kukutėliai, Mėčionys, Didžiasalis and others, the Ginučiai watermill. On the periphery of the Minčia wood, in the village of Stripeikiai, there is the only beekeeping museum in Lithuania. The homestead of the museum together with an open-air exposition is situated on two picturesque hills, at the foot whereof there is the small river of Tauragna. A Honey Flow (Medkopis) Festival is annually – in August – organised in the museum. One can also visit the birthplaces of famous people – of musicians M. Petrauskas in Palūšė, K. Petrauskas in Ceikiniai, geologist V. Ruokis in Daubariškė, etc.

A biennial international folk music and dance festival Ežerų sietuva, an amateur theatre festival, popular song festival Dainuokit vyturiai, children’s folklore festival Ir atskrido raiba gegutė take place in the municipality. A colourful, entertaining international autumn festival of children and youth theatres Bildučiai has been organised for thirteen years in a row.

Useful links
Ignalina district municipality
Ignalina business information centre
Tourism centre Palūšė
Palūšė boathouse