Veliuona

This little settlement is the center of Veliuona parish in Jurbarkas district. It is located on the right shore of Nemunas covering the area of 12000 ha with a bit more than 900 inhabitants. Veliuona town is one of the most beautiful and interesting Lithuanian towns. According to archeological researches, this area was first populated in a stone age, 10.000 years ago. What is more, it is a very important historical area as for centuries there stood a famous Veliuona castle. In the castle there meetings of country leaders were held and agreements that have directly influenced Lithuanian present life were signed.

History

Officially, history of Veliuona starts in 1291 when the Junigeda castle was first mentioned in chronicles. The castle was  attacked more than 15 times! The last time it was rebuilt in 1411. Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas and King of Poland Jogaila used to arrange diplomatic meetings with an Order there. Also, a very important agreement called "Treaty of  Melno" which determined the line of Lithuanian western border until the 20th century. The settlement got the name of Veliuona in 1315. At that time the previous Junigeda castle was entitled as Veliuona castle under the name of river Veliuona crossing the settlement. However, according to legends, the name of Veliuona was given to honor the ancient pagan goddess of dead. Her name was created to be similar with a Lithuanian word “vėlė” (ghost). It is told that the temple for Veliuona stood somewhere there so a mysterious connection with the Dead World was imagined to exist there formerly. Veliuona used to be a defensive wall protecting Kaunas from the Teutonic order for more than 250 years. That was the reason why so many castles and houses around them were destroyed and rebuilt many times. As one of the main defensive spots in the Grand Duke of Lithuania Veliuona faced many fights to death. One of the  most famous Grand Dukes of Lithuania Gediminas was killed there. Of course, Veliuona faced not only threats. In 1423, the first convention of European leaders was held in the island of Nemunas near Veliuona. The convention was the main reason to sign the peace treaty between Grand Duke of Lithuania and the Teutonic Order. That was the end of non-stop battles in Veliuona.

Nowadays

Nowadays Veliuona is attended by more than 30000 guests each year. Maybe the town attracts people as it is accredited to be the best tidied town in Lithuania or maybe the historical heritage scattered in the area of Veliuona cause the curiosity. There are many interesting places to visit like the Veliuona Old Town including monuments for the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas and Veliuona 700th jubilee, the strange stone with food indentation and the review square opening the marvelous Nemunas valley. Also there are 4 architectural heritage objects like the church of St. Mary Taking to Heaven and Veliuona mansion house. In addition to this, 9 archeological monuments are available to visit like archeological complex of mounds. For those who want to get acquainted with the history better, 4 museums are open there including Museum of Region History, the Museum of famous Lithuanian writer Petras Cvirka, the memorial exposition of one of the best Lithuanian poets Jonas Mačiulis – Maironis, Museum of Nature, Literature.

The Veliuona town is so small that it is hard to believe it can hold so many interesting places, histories and relicts. In order to be persuaded everybody must come over there and ascertain it is true. Veliuona is a great place to spend a day admiring the historical relicts, cleanliness and wonderful landscape of Nemunas valley.