Kaunas is the center of Kaunas County and the second biggest city in Lithuania with the population of 415,700 and the area of 156 sq. km. It was founded in the 12th century and owes its existence to its favourable geographic position. Kaunas is situated in the centre of Lithuania, at the confluence of the two biggest rivers the Nemunas and the Neris, 100 km from the capital Vilnius and 250 km from the port city Klaipeda.
For years Kaunas has been a major center of nation's spiritual resistance and stuggle for naltional identity. For twenty years Kaunas was a provisional capital of Lithuania. The spirit of activity and movement prevails in Kaunas today.
Lithuania's second largest city, Kaunas, is situated at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers, closer to what would be Lithuania's geographical centre.
16th-17th Century Residential Houses. A Historic City The earliest known references to Kaunas appear in records dating from 1361. The city's old town, picturesquely dominating the junction of two rivers, is a fascinating combination of archaeology, architecture and history. Here one finds the remains of a castle dating back to the 13th to 16th centuries standing as evidence of the ancient battles between Lithuania and the knights of the Teutonic Order. Numerous other buildings crowd together in a stimulating mixture of the arts and architecture of different eras. The 15th century produced the church of Vytautas, Saint George's church and the reconstructed Cathedral. City Hall, dating from the 16th to 18th centuries, is surrounded by charming old houses; the Perkûnas (Thunder) House dates back to the 15th century. Some of the city's structures are recognized as representing a distinct variation of the Northern European Renaissance style, notably the Church of the Holy Trinity and the Masalskis Manor complex (16th to 18th century).
Kaunas is a city of very old and established cultural traditions and a place where generations of Lithuanian artists, composers and writers lived and have left their imprint. Their works are on display in various museums and galleries, of which two are especially notable. The Art Gallery of M. K. Èiurlionis displays the work of this great painter and composer, who earned his place in the history of art. The largest collection of paintings is located at a gallery dedicated to Mykolas Þilinskas, a man who in his lifetime was a great patron of the arts.