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Prienai is a small town located in Southern Lithuania. It is 39 kilometers far from the second biggest Lithuanian city Kaunas and around 100 kilometers far from the Capital Vilnius. In the area of 8,34 square kilometers more than 11 000 inhabitants live there. History of this calm town is full of legends and guesses, but the nowadays life there is clear and soft.
According to archeologists, the territory of nowadays Prienai town was settled in Stone age already. There are no exact data about the people that lived there, but many archeological findings like stone devices, ancient coins, number of barrows prove the fact of social life existence there many ages ago. Huge forests, picturesque shores of Nemunas river, beautiful round riverbeds, valleys and hollows attracted people to settle here.
The true story of Prienai name is not known, however, according to legends, there are a few different variants of derivation of the name. One of them is that a Lithuanian duke Prienas once was hunting there and fell in love with the beauty of local nature – thus he built here a castle and gave the vicinity the same name he had. Another version is that long time ago felonries used to be transported there. One of them, Prienas, built a homestead on Mielupis river shore and named it Prienai. The third story sais that the derivation of Prienai name is related with Nemunas river. It is said that when people started settling on the left shore of Nemunas, the river did not have the name and was simply called “ana upė“ (that river) and the inhabitants „prie anos upės“ (by that river). That gave a start for Prienai name to come into existence.
Some reasoned historical facts about the town say that the first tme when Prienai name was mentioned in written sources was 1502. Then the grand duke Alexander gifted the lands to a nobleman Michael Glinksi. In 1604 the first church was built in Prienai. The town started significantly grow in the 17th century. In 1609 it was given the Magdeburg city rights. In 1791 the government gave the town its own blazon which was renewed and confirmed one more time in 1996.
Nowadays Prienai town and district is a beautiful Lithuanian corner where people mostly come for rural tourism purposes. Local business tendencies are mostly related with this niche of bussiness as beautiful natural surroundings, forests, lakes and rivers are attracting people form bigger cities to come and have a rest here. In the homesteads of rural areas guests may not only have a passive rest in nature, but also take an active rest challenges while renting kayaks, boats, going to fishing tours, go pick berries or mushrooms. We can only imagine what inspiration reaches people`s minds so close to nature! In fact, this creative and inspiring atmosphere there grew up many talented people: scientists (Jonas Kazlauskas), historians (Joseph Gottfarstein), poets (Justinas Marcinkevičius), writers (Vytautas Petkevičius, Matas Šalčius)… Industry in Prienai appeared in the end of 17th century when paper fabric was here established. Nowadays the main object of local industry is the JSC company “Sportinė aviacija” (Sports aviation). It produces aviation products. In addition to this, one of the main tourism attractions in Prienai is aviation. Parachutists Sport club and the Center of Aviation Constructors Federation are also established there in Prienai. The town also includes the wooden church of Visitation of Christ, a central Freedom square, regional museum, a monument for the Grand Duke of Lithuania Kęstutis, a Prienai mound, beautiful town park.
Visiting the little town is always kind of adventure when you do not expect nothing special to experience. However, mostly you experience much more than you could even imagine as little towns often spell their guests with unique stories, environment and attention by locals in the shelter of nature.
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