Varniai, LithuaniaVarniai is the little town located in Samogitia (Žemaitija), in the region of Telšiai, with only approximately  1300 inhabitants. Despite being one of the least towns in Lithuania, it is often visited by tourists as it is famous for its history, for the natural surroundings that even is under Regional Park status and for well attended annual event called “Blues nights” where many people from all around Lithuania come and have great time in wild nature listening to good music.


The history of Varniai started in early 14th century when a few settlements were established on the shore of the river Varnelė.  As soon as the settlements were established, the crusaders started harassing the inhabitants, but in 1389 samogitians defeated the enemies and after the winning the diocese was established there by the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas. In fact, the name of Varniai was created under the name of Varnelė, but during the period of crusaders harassment it was called Medininkai.  The name Varniai was officially set in the end of 16th century. After that in 17th century Varniai was given the rights of the city. In the 16th century Varniai was the main center of Lithuanian culture in all Grand Duke of Lithuania. Varniai was the place where acted positively  such torchbearers like bishop Merkelis Giedraitis, historian Motiejus Strijkovskis, editor Mikalojus Daukša, poet Antanas Baranauskas and the grand Samogitia`s bishop Motiejus Valančius, emeritus in fighting with the russification, catholicity destruction as well as in organizing the distribution and publishing of forbidden Lithuanian literature. In recreating the Lithuanianize the local Theological Seminary helped a lot as well. Established in 1623 the Seminary building stands till nowadays. The Museum of Samogitia Bishopric is held there.

Varniai Nowadays

Varniai is famous for its lake Lūkstas, which is the biggest natural lake of Samogitia region in Lithuania. The lake is the only one in Lithuania where visitors can find  pieces of amber stranded. In addition to this, the most beautiful  mounds of Samogitia like Šatrija and Medvėgalis are located there in Varniai Regional Park. Those who are keen to see unique architectural buildings might visit the Požerė Church of Christus Regenaration (1771), the Pavandenė Church of St. Ann (1802) and others as well as many artworks of sacral and mythological heritage. Visitors who want to have some active fun may attend annual events like “Blues nights”, festival of St. Jone or the international bikers festival. Tourists can choose whether they want to stay in cottages or rather in holiday camp. The town offers services of renting bikes, water bikes, boats, canoes, tents. People may enjoy fishing, bicycling, spending evenings in cafes or simply having rest at their camp in the holiday resort.

Sometimes the biggest worth lies behind smallest things. The town of Varniai is one of such exceptions. Located out of the way Varniai still attracts visitors and raises the pride for its inhabitants.