Širvintos district municipality

  Administrative centre – Širvintos
  Area – 906 km² (9.3 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 19 142 (2.3 % of the county’s population )
  Wards – Alionys, Čiobiškis, Gelvonai, Jauniūnai, Kernavė, Musninkai,   Širvintos, Zibalai

Širvintos district municipality is located on the plateau of the lower reaches of the Neris; only the north-eastern and south-eastern borders thereof cover some part of Aukštaičiai Upland. There are the Alionys, Bartkuškis, Šešuolėliai, Lygaraistis telmological, Širvinta, Budeliai landscape reserves. The area is crossed by the Neris, Širvinta and Musė rivers; there are 28 lakes (the largest one – Alys, the deepest one – Gelvė) and 7 ponds. Larger forests are those of Bartkuškis, Alionys and Šešuolėliai. Agricultural land makes up 56 %, forests – 30.6 %, roads – 2.1 %, built-up area – 2.1 %, water bodies – 2.5 %, other land – 6.7 % of the municipality.

There is one town – Širvintos, and five townships – Bagaslaviškis, Gelvonai, Kernavė, Musninkai, Zibalai. The centre of the district municipality – Širvintos – was for the first time mentioned in 1475, when a Širvintos church was built. In 1746, it acquired the right to organise markets and fairs (it was famous for horse fairs). In 1879, as the Vilnius–Ukmergė road was reconstructed as a postal road, a post station was established in Širvintos. Although situated at a busy trade route, the town was not growing for a long time. In November and December 1920, a battle between the Lithuanian army with a Polish division of L. Żeligowski, which by that time had already occupied Vilnius and was forcing its way deeper into Lithuania, in the direction of Ukmergė, took place near Širvintos and Giedraičiai. As a result of persistent battles, the Polish army was stopped. Historians state that it was the Lithuania’s Independence that was defended near Širvintos and Giedraičiai. In commemoration of those fights, a monument to those who laid down their lives for the Independence of Lithuania was built near the Širvintos church. A truce was concluded in Kaunas, whereby Širvintos was proclaimed to be a neutral area, and after three years went to Lithuania. However, the distance to the demarcation line remained the factor precluding the township from growing. Širvintos came alive in 1949 as the town became a county, in 1950 – a district centre. In 1951, it obtained city rights.

Agriculture, food industry, service sector are developed in the district. This beautiful, interesting region, rich in its historical past, has great possibilities for becoming a tourism centre.

The pride of Širvintos district – Kernavė, where there are five castle mounds, overlooking the township. The oldest – that of Aukuras, which was settled as far back as in I millennium BC. In the 13th–14th centuries, the castle mounds formed a single defensive complex, which was one of the most important of economic, political and defence centres of the developing state of Lithuania, as well as one of the first towns of Lithuania, a capital of the state. The name of Kernavė was mentioned in written sources in 1279 – as a dominion of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Traidenis. The town of craftsmen and merchants was located in the valley of Pajauta. Kernavė was an important defence centre, protecting Vilnius from enemies. Five Crusaders’ roads to eastern and south-eastern Lithuania went through Kernavė. In the 15th century, the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas often stayed in Kernavė; he was the founder of the first church in Kernavė, built in 1420. The Grand Dukes of Lithuania owned the Musninkai estate. In the middle of the 16th century, Žygimantas Augustas (Sigismund II Augustus) made over Musninkai with many other estates to his wife Barbora Radvilaitė (Barbara Radziwiłł). Near Musninkai, there is an extant chapel of Barbora Radvilaitė. On the way from Gelvonai to Liukonys, there is a distinctive Mikalajūnai one-street village, which has preserved the authentic spirit of the 19th century.

Širvintai district is one of the smallest in the country; however, there are many picturesque places. It is a distinctive region, which has preserved the heritage of different epochs and cultural objects. Nature of the environs of Kernavė is unique and inimitable. The Live Archaeology Days (Gyvosios archeologijos dienos), visited by about 20 thousand tourists, are organised annually. In 1989, the State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė, covering 199.2 hectares, was established on the basis of archaeological, architectural and historical monuments. Kernavė is included on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. People are attracted not only by Kernavė, but also by picturesque Neris riverbanks, pinewoods of Čiobiškis.

The environs of the district are adorned with quite a number of architectural monuments: Čiobiškis mansion, designed by Laurynas Stuoka-Gucevičius, the mansions of Bartkuškis, Šešuolėliai I, a wooden church in Alionys, the shrines of Čiobiškis, Širvintos, Musninkai, Šešuolėliai II.

Useful links
Širvintos district municipality