Tauragė

In the South west of Lithuania, Žematija region there Tauragė city is located. The city occupies a territory of 15,7 sq. kilometers and there live approximately 27 700 inhabitants. Tauragė stretches on the valley of Jūra (Sea) river. It is the center of Tauragė district including many interesting sightseeing places, culture monuments and picturesque bottoms of Jūra, Šešuvis and Akmena rivers.

History

Tauragė name is combined of two Lithuanian words – “tauras” (bull) and ragas (horn). The name reminds about huge bulls that used to live in forests of these surroundings and about craftsmen who used to make trumpets of horns of these kingly animals.

Tauragė city was mentioned in written sources in 1507 for the first time, but according to historical researches, the city was established long time before the first official mentioning. It was 13-14th centuries when crusaders used to cross the place while travelling a road extending here. In addition, archeologists have found here small tools of stone age proving that this place has been settled for a very long time already. So, it was mentioned when the first church here was built. In these times there also a manor house called “Pajūris“ stood. Since 1567 a custom house there operated. In the 17th century Tauragė was the most important residence of Radvilai family and one of the biggest centers of Lutheran church in Lithuania. in 1836 a big fire broke out in the city which burnt almost all the city, only 8 homesteads left undamaged. Then the fire and the newly built high-way connecting Riga in Latvia and Tilžė in Minor Lithuania started the new period of Tauragė history. The city a bit changed its location, it started developing as trades and businesses got more active. During the press ban (1864 - 1901) when it was forbidden to print Lithuanian language publications in Latin alphabet as Lithuania then was ruled by Russian Empire, Tauragė became an important intermediate point of secret carry of Lithuanian prints. The First World War damaged the city very badly. Tauragė was all demolished and burnt. After the First World War, when Lithuania was independent (1918-1939), Tauragė became an important administrative, economical and cultural centre of Lithuanian Republic. But the Second World War again turned the city into a pile of debris – 80% of building there were demolished.  It required much work and struggle to rebuild Tauragė during the Soviet period.

Nowadays

Tauragė city suffered several tough periods in the 20th century when it was destroyed and burnt. Luckily, nowadays the city is one of the biggest in Lithuania where local infrastructure for inhabitants and city guests is well developed despite the fact that Tauragė faced many difficulties not more than just a hundred years ago. One of the most meaningful architectural objects there remained is the Tauragė manor house, the same “Pajūris“ mansion built here in 15th century. The mansion house surrounded by picturesque park stands on the coast of Jūra river. There is a Tauragė history museum established in this historical building. Tauragė city also includes a few objects of churchy heritage. That is an evangelical church of Martynas Mažvydas (an author of first Lithuanian book )and a catholic church of Blessed Trinity.  In addition, an architectural ensemble built by Russian Empire in 19th century as a custom house  is also worth attention. The building is called Tauragė palace and is located in the very centre of Tauragė city. The palace was used for many purposes during its` history. Despite being a custom house it was also a guardhouse, a hospital, a gymnasium. Nowadays it serves as a photo gallery, as a regional museum “Santaka”, children library and an archeological institute. Tauragė city was also beautified by local craftsmen who created an ensemble of carved sculptures on the valleys of Jūra river. The main accent of the ensemble is a summer stage including sculptures reminding elements of Lithuanian fairytales. Tauragė inhabitants like playing football (there are 2 football clubs established), singing (several very famous Lithuanian singers (opera, pop) grew in this city). Tauragė city is also a homeland for grandparents of Russian billionaire R. Abramovič.

As a centre of Tauragė district, Tauragė city is the main hub of action in its` locality. Around the city there are various activities (the best developed is kayaking) and cognitive excursions available. National Viešvilė nature reserve, collection of exotic animals in Stribaičiai village, Pragramantis regional park ir Alijošiškės village, beautifully equipted homesteads of rural tourism, many mounds and old cemeteries  – all these sights combine a distinguishing path which is also called the Old path of  Žemaitija (Samogitia).

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