Kėdainiai is one of the oldest towns in Lithuania which is located on the pictorial shores of the river Nevėžis. The town was first mentioned in written sources in 1372 m. According to the legends the town was named after a wealthy merchant Keidangen, who came from Kuršas and established a small fishing village. In the XV-XVI c. the town grew rapidly and it became one of the first centres of the Reformation of the GDL, as well as the centre of craft and trade. Therefore, in 1590 it was granted the Magdeburg rights.
Kėdainiai is one of the seven Lithuania cities having a unique old town. The old town preserved historical streets, four merchant squares, and a number of valuable buildings of XVII-XIX centuries with the elements of Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism.
PLACES TO VISIT IN KEDAINIAI TOWN
The Town Hall
The Town Hall is one of the three, which still remain in Lithuania. It is a two-storey Renaissance style brick building of rectangular design. Earlier there had been a prison and archives in the basement of the Town Hall. Shops used the first floor. The second floor was an office of the magistrate. After the huge fire in 1770, the Town Hall was devastated. Today, art exhibitions, concerts and representative events are held there.
House of Burgomaster Jurgis Andersenas (George Andersen) (XVII th c.)
This is a dwelling – trading house characteristic to Scottish people. Supposedly, it was built by a Scot Jurgis Andersenas, who also lived here – a burgomaster, one of the richest and most influential citizens of Kėdainiai. Before the second World War the house belonged to Jews. There were stores and a storage room in it. After the war it was left empty and derelict, later a wool combing shop was operating in the house.
In Multicultural center you will be acquainted to the culture of different nations ever lived in Kedainiai.
From the middle of the 15 th century, German merchants from Hanza started visiting Kėdainiai. They had their representative trading office in Kaunas and from 1445 to 1540 they dominated in the foreign trade of the Great Duchy of Lithuania. An important road of state significance from Vilnius to the Samogitian administrative centre in Raseiniai went across Kėdainiai. It was well kept, continually repaired and called a covered road as it was covered with grit. Another trading road from Kaunas across Kėdainiai led to Riga. Great street of the Old town is one of the oldest and longest streets. It used to be called Pilies street (Castle street). In the 17 th century Magistrate took care that stone buildings would be constructed and streets paved: upon an order of Jonušas Radvila each person entering Kėdainiai had to bring a stone. Walking the narrow streets of the Old Town you will have possibility to admire it‘s majestic history.
The Great Market Square
The Great Market Square is a heart of the Old Town. It is one of the oldest squares in Kėdainiai with the desing and planning dated from the 17th century: former houses of glaziers, the house of merchant Šafleris, the house of Burgomaster Jurgis Andersenas and the town hall. Nowadays various cultural events of the town take place in the square.
Geographical Centre of Lithuania (Ruoščiai village).
In 1995 specialists of Lithuanian Land Planning Institute determined and marked by a large field stone the geographical centre of Lithuania (55º 19’ northern latitude and 23º 54’ eastern longitude). Following the corrected project of the architect Vytautas Kundrotas two more stones were brought symbolizing Samogitia and the Higher Lithuania.
Paberžė – Manor owner the Count S. Šilingas in 1787 built a wooden church, which burned down soon. A. Mackevičius, who worked as a priest in Paberžė in 1856-1863 was one of the leaders of the Insurrection of 1863. In his care in 1858 a wooden church of St. Virgin Apparition was built (and is still standing). Since 1966 when a Capuchin monk and priest Algirdas Mykolas Dobrovolskis – Father Stanislovas (1918-2005) was assigned to Paberžė, this small village became an object of attraction. People come to Paberžė not only in pain or for church rituals, but also to touch the live wisdom of the Great Master. Father Stanislovas repaired and decorated the church, cleared up the village cemetery. He placed original monuments in the churchyard and in the cemetery, established a “keeping-place” of unique canonicals, prayer-books, lamps, bells, pots, sun-shaped crosses, millstones, wood carving articles and other valuable items in the rectory and a nearby granary.