Kaunas, Lithuania's second biggest city was first mentioned in 1361 and awarded city rights in 1408. Located at the at the junction of Nemunas and Neris, the city now is an important centre of culture and economy in Lithuania.
Kaunas Castle (Papilio Str. 17)
Supposedly, the first brick castle at the confluence of the rivers Nemunas and Neris was built in the 14th century when the attacks of Teutonic Order began. It was the first stone castle in Lithuania which played a significant role in the city's defence system. Kaunas Castle is a Gothic building with two rows of protective walls and is the only castle of this type in Lithuania.
Town Hall (Rotušės Sq.)
Often called the White Swan. The Town Hall is distinguished by its slenderness and grace. Its tower of height of 53 meters is the highest in the old city.
Arch-cathedral Basilica of St. Peter and Paul (Vilniaus Str. 1)
It is the only church in Lithuania in the Gothic style of basilica design. After several reconstructions, it also acquired Renaissance and Baroque architectural features.
Perkūnas (Thunder) House (Aleksoto Str. 6)
Perkūnas (Thunder) House is considered to be one of few buildings belonging to the gothic period still standing. It is assumed to be a merchant's residential house built in the beginning of the 16th century. A twin house on its right, which existed until the 18th century, contained the storehouses that did not remain. It is one of the most original examples of the flamboyant Gothic architecture in Lithuania. The museum of Adomas Mickevičius is established in it.
|Kaunas Town Hall, the "White Swan"|
Vytautas Church (Aleksoto Str. 3)
Kaunas' medieval monument is the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary's Ascension, which since 1930, since the years of the anniversary of Vytautas the Great is called by the name of Vytautas. The church of Franciscans was built around 1400. It is one of the first Gothic brick buildings in Kaunas.
Vytautas the Great Bridge (Vytauto Didžiojo tiltas)
The original bridge on wooden poles was built in 1812. It was used by Napoleon's Army fleeing from Russia. There was no permanent bridge from Kaunas to Aleksotas until 1914. Aleksotas was under different laws during the rule of tsarist Russia. Kaunas was then part of the Russian Northwestern region, while Aleksotas and Užnemunė belonged to Poland, where the Napoleonic Code and even different calendars were used. Jokingly, Aleksotas Bridge was called the longest bridge in the world: the Slavic (Julian) calendar was used in the province of Kaunas, whereas Užnemunė used the Catholic (Gregorian) calendar; therefore, it took 13 days to cross the bridge (the old calendar was 13 days behind the new one). At the beginning of World War II, Aleksotas Bridge was mined on June 24, and then blasted on June 26 by the order of the 8th Army General Shlemin. During the Nazi occupation, a temporary pontoon bridge was built and used throughout the period. A temporary wooden bridge served local needs until 1948. When it was swept away by a flood, German war prisoners built the present Aleksotas Bridge.
Vilnius Street (Vilniaus gatvė)
It is the oldest street of the city. It is a part of the old medieval road to Vilnius. The majority of the buildings by this road were wooden, later the red-bricked houses of the rich citizens were built, several of which maintained untill today. The unique telephone booths are a clear indication that you are walking along the street which connects the old and the new parts of the city.
Presidential Palace (Vilniaus Str.33)
The building was constructed in 1860. In 1876, the czarist government bought it and established the residence of the governor. When Lithuanian Independence was restored and Kaunas became the provisional capital of Lithuania, this building from 1919 to 1940 was the Presidential Palace of the Republic of Lithuania. The residential premises were on the ground floor, lounge and room of a duty officer were located near portal. Two parlours for entertainments with furniture of the style of Lois XIV and small dining-room were on the first floor on portal side. The presidents of Lithuania A. Smetona, K. Grinius and A. Stulginskis used to live and work in this palace.
Laisvės (Freedom) Avenue
This 1.7 km-long street was built in the 19th century. Already from the end of the 19th century, it became an administrational, commercial and cultural centre of the city. Banks, various offices, restaurants, cafes, and many modern shops are situated in this street. Laisvės Avenue, connecting the new and old parts of the city, is a pedestrian street. Two lines of trees planted in the middle of the avenue created a recreation and walking area. It is one of the most favorite places of Kaunas citizens.
Musical Theatre (Laisvės Av. 91)
Originally the State Theatre, it was built in 1892. Now, operas and operettas make up the largest part of the repertoire, with ballets and plays for children also staged here.
The garden of the city (Laisvės Av. 91)
Situated in front of the Musical Theatre. A fragment of the city wall with a tower next to the Theatre building reminds of the fact that this was the site of the city border in the 16th century. The garden of the city is decorated with the busts of Lithuanian composers, art characters and singers. The monument for Romas Kalanta is located in the garden near Laisvės Avenue, who burnt himself in this place in 1972 when protesting against the Soviet occupation.
One of the oldest teams in the Euroleague BC Žalgiris (Basketball Club Žalgiris) is based in Kaunas. Since 1944, BC Žalgiris is the main Lithuanian basketball team to produce top-flight talents for European basketball, such as the Olympic champions Modestas Paulauskas, Arvydas Sabonis, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Valdemaras Chomičius, and many others.
Žalgiris became a dominant force in Soviet Union and in Europe when they added new talents to the team. First came Valdemaras Chomičius then Rimas Kurtinaitis and Vladas Garastas became the new coach. But everything changed when the team noticed a talented young kid named Arvydas Sabonis, who was 17 years old 2.09m. He debuted in the club in 1981.
In the mid-1980s, the Russian league finals between BC Žalgiris Kaunas and CSKA Moscow served as a major inspiration for the Lithuanian national revival that contributed to the emergence of the Sąjūdis national movement and re-establishment of state independence.
During the 1980s, Žalgiris was competing in the top competitions in Europe, against teams like CSKA Moscow and Cibona Zagreb. The stars Sabonis, Kurtinaitis, Chomičius and Jovaiša led the team to three consecutive Soviet Union National League championships from 1985 until 1987, beating CSKA Moscow in the finals. In the previous year, the four stars led the team to the Saporta Cup final, but lost to the champions FC Barcelona. Despite the loss, Žalgiris participated in Euroleague the next year, reaching the finals and losing against Cibona Zagreb. In 1986, Žalgiris won the William Jones Intercontinental Cup, defeating Dražen Petrović's Cibona Zagreb in the semifinals and Ferro Carril Oeste in the finals. Žalgiris was emerging as one of the top clubs in Europe at the time.
Žalgiris enjoyed the biggest success as a club during the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. Led by great Lithuanian talents Saulius Štombergas, Dainius Adomaitis, Eurelijus Žukauskas, Tomas Masiulis, Mindaugas Žukauskas and experienced foreign players Franjo Arapovic and Ennis Whatley and coached by Jonas Kazlauskas, they defeted Olimpia Milano 82-67 in the Saporta Cup final in Belgrade in 1998. Saulius Štombergas scored 35 points in the final.
|Zalgiris Kaunas winning the Euroleague in 1999 |
In the 1998-99 season they surprised all Europe. Again coached by Jonas Kazlauskas and led by former NBA players Tyus Edney, Anthony Bowie, George Zidek and great Lithuanian talent they went through the FIBA Euroleague with 18-4 record and defeted Kinder Bologna 82:74 in the final in Munich. Tyus Edney was named Euroleague Final Four MVP. Žalgiris also won the LKL and NEBL titles that same season. After these two great seasons the best players of the club went to the richest European clubs.
Sabonis became the principal owner of the club in 2003, after having played for many years in the Spanish ACB League and the NBA. He also came back to play for the club as promised for one last season in 2003-04. He again dominated the European competition winning the Euroleague regular season and Top-16 MVP. Žalgiris almost made to the Euroleague Final Four, but were stoped by Maccabi Tel Aviv when who came back in the game from an almost impossible situation.
Name: Kauno Arena
Adress: Karaliaus Mindaugo prospektas
Year of construction: 2011
Area: 157 sq km
Official website: www.kaunas.lt
Distances: Alytus 67 km, Klaipeda 215 km, Panevezys 110km, Siauliai 180 km, Vilnius 105 km
Distances from Kaunas to border crossing points:
Poland (Ogrodniki) 120 km, Latvia (Saločiai) 196 km, Kaliningrad Region (Kybartai) 100 km, Belarus 140 km
There are numerous leisure and entertainment possibilities in Kaunas. The Shopping Centre Kaunas Akropolis (Karaliaus Mindaugo Ave. 49) is situated in the centre of Kaunas city, near to the Kaunas Žalgiris arena and offers plenty of activities: shops, bars, coffees, casino, cinema, bowling, skating rink and more.
There are plenty of night clubs, casinos and cocktail bars in Kaunas. Among the most popular places to visit are night clubs Pop star bar (Vasario 16-osios St. 2), Latino baras (Vilniaus St. 22), Nautilus (Savanorių Ave. 124), Amerika pirtyje (Vytauto Ave. 71), Combo (Raudondvario Rd. 107), Embassy of MDC (Kovo 11-osios St. 22), 3M club (Riomerio St. 37) cocktail bar Bar Bar'a (Vilniaus St. 56/Nemuno St. 34), bar Džem pub (5 floor) ( Laivės Ave. 59), Ginger Bar (K. Donelaičio 27), club Siena (Laisvės Ave. 93) and City casino (in Akropolis).
For more information, please, visit: www.kaunas.lt, www.visit.kaunas.lt
Recommended places to eat:
Varied cuisine: pub-brewery Avilys (Vilniaus st. 34),
restaurant Bokštas (Kęstučio St. 86),
Daniela (A.Mickevičiaus St. 28),
Europa (J.Gruodžio St. 19/21),
Pompėja (V.Putvinskio St.38),
55 Laipsniai (Laisvės ave. 79),
Daugirdas (T.Daugirdo St. 4),
Magnus hotel restaurant (Vytauto Ave. 25),
Medžiotojų užeiga (Rotušės a. 10),
Senieji rūsiai (Vilniaus St. 34), and
Sadutė (Rotušės a. 4).
Lithuanian cuisine: Abato menė (Vilniaus St. 7),
Bernelių smuklė (K.Donelaičio St. 11),
Bernelių užeiga (M. Valančiaus St. 9),
Žalias ratas (Laisvės Ave. 36b).
Cafes, bars: Antis (Rotušės Sq. 1),
City café (Laisvės Ave. 56),
Ginger bar (K. Donelaičio St. 27),
CRAZY HOUSE (Vilniaus St. 16),
PANORAMINIS BARAS (Vytauto pr. 25),
PAS STANLEY (Vilniaus g. 24),
Skliautas (Rotušės Sq. 26)
Pizzerias: Čiau (K. Donelaičio St. 66),
Bella Italia (S. Daukanto st. 14),
Punto pica (Kęstučio St. 6),
Pizza Jazz (Laisvės Ave. 68),
Pas Paolo (S.Daukanto St. 17).
Desserts: AJ ŠOKOLADO RESTORANAS (Rotušės Sq. 26),
Caffe MIO (Laisvės Ave. 31)