Švenčionys district municipality

  Administrative centre – Švenčionys
  Area – 1692 km² (17.4 % of the county’s area)
  Population – 30 678 (3.6 % of the county's population)
  Wards – Adutiškis, Cirkliškis, Kaltanėnai, Labanoras, Magūnai, Pabradė   town, Pabradė, Sariai, Strūnaitis, Svirkos, Švenčionėliai town, Švenčionėliai,   Švenčionys town, Švenčionys

Švenčionys district municipality – the land of the old tribes of Nalšia – is located in the south-eastern part of Vilnius county, at the border with Belarus. In order to preserve unique nature, flora and fauna of the region, the Aukštaitija National Park and Labanoras, Asveja and Sirveta regional parks, which cover a large part of the region, Maldžiūnai landscape, Antanai historical landscape, Kretuonas ornithological, Kanio raisto botanical zoological, Baltasamanė and Algirdėnai botanical and other reserves were established. The eastern parts of the district are located on the Aukštaičiai, the centre – on the Švenčionys Upland (the highest point – 250 m – the Girdžiuliškė Hill). The uplands are separated by the Žeimena Plain; in the east, there is the Dysna Lowland. The district is crossed by the Žeimena River, adored by tourists, with tributaries the Lakaja, Peršokšna, Mera and Saria; at the southern border, there is the Neris River. Water resources are complemented by as many as 283 lakes (Kretuonas, Žeimenys, Vajuonas, Labanoras, Sariai, Rašia, Peršokšnai, Lazdiniai, Šventas and other), 2 ponds, as well as Purvynas, Baltasamanė, Adutiškis and other marshes. The percentage share of wooded area makes up as much as 55.9 %. There is the forest of Labanoras, well-known in the country, as well as the forests of Dubingiai and Pabradė. Agricultural land makes up just 28.7 %, roads – 2.3 %, built-up area – 1.4 %, water bodies – 4.1 %, other land – 7.6 % of the municipality.

There are three towns – Pabradė, Švenčionėliai, Švenčionys, and three townships – Adutiškis, Kaltanėnai, Labanoras.

The centre of the municipality – Švenčionys, where under the rule of Vytautas the Great his seat was situated. In the 15th century, Vytautas the Great settled the Tatars in Švenčionys and its environs; the descendants of the Tatars were ingenious craftspeople, which made the town one of the medieval crafts centres. As proved by a document on the assets of a church, issued in 1514, the first church was built in Švenčionys by the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas in 1392–1414. In 1486, Švenčionys was mentioned in historical sources as a township; eight years later, Švenčionys district (valsčius) was mentioned. In 1565, Švenčionys was a centre of one of the three Ašmena county land courts. In 1800, by order of the Senate, Švenčionys was granted self-government rights, and a town hall was established. Until the end of the validity of the Union of Lublin, the region was called Užneris area (Užnerio sritis), whose centre was located in Švenčionys. In 1843–1950, Švenčionys was a county centre. The town came to life after the railway Saint-Petersburg–Vilnius–Warsaw was constructed.

Švenčionys district municipality is crossed by a highway, connecting Vilnius with Daugavpils, as well as by a railway line, going from Warsaw to Saint-Petersburg via Vilnius. Due to the fact that a larger part of the district is covered by forest, wood processing industry predominates in the municipality. Moreover, medicinal herbs (private company Švenčionių vaistažolės) and textile industry is developed.

Better known historical and cultural monuments – Boruvka and Naujas Strūnaitis watermills, the former Pabradė pub, Kaltanėnai and Cirkliškis mansions (which were visited by the historian J. Lelewel, painter J. Rustemas and other cultural figures), the wooden church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in Labanoras, the church of St Casimir in Pavoverė, the ethnographic villages of Kretuonys and Mėžionys.

Useful links

Švenčionys district municipality