There is no other city in Lithuania that you will hear being referred to as:
It is the heart of Lithuania,
It is the cradle of statehood and nationality,
It is the Mecca of Lithuanian students and sportspeople,
It is the birthplace of the Lithuanian theatre,
It is the little Paris,
There is no other city in Lithuania that you will hear people talking about as:
You haven’t seen it – you haven’t seen Lithuania…
Were we to speak of the history of Lithuania rather than that of Kaunas, we would start like this.
In the 4th – 5th century B.C., at the very geographical heart of Lithuania, in an unusual place – at the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers – the Nemunas and the Neris – a settlement was situated. In the 13th century, a magnificent castle was built in this place, which is now called the Kaunas Castle and is considered the oldest in Lithuania.
At the beginning of the 15th century, Kaunas was granted the rights of Magdeburg, and in the 16th century, Kaunas became one of the largest and most functional cities in Lithuania, an important trade centre, and a port. The Kaunas city centre moved to the today’s City-hall Square, which in those days went under the name of the Market Square. Today it is an extremely popular place for cultural events, and a pride of Kaunas.
At the start of the 20th century, Kaunas was the capital of Lithuania for 20 years.
Today, Kaunas is like a second capital of Lithuania.
These days Kaunas with its a bit less than 400 thousand inhabitants is one of the most significant cities of the country. It is not only the city of old traditions, but also a large centre of business and industry. A lot of educational and scientific institutions are concentrated here: 10 universities and their branches with 25 000 students, 13 colleges with their students as well as 18 scientific research institutions and their subdivisions. So indeed, Kaunas is the city of youth.
Our city is open for friends and co-operation partners. We kindly give our hands to investors, who choose our city not because of the cheap labour force, but because of the high-competence specialists able to solve the most complicated tasks. The day when the first companies start functioning in the Kaunas Free Economic Zone will come soon. Kaunas is also an important centre of culture with its 8 theathres, 10 museums, 33 libraries, numerous far-famed cultural events - Pazaislis Music Festival, Kaunas Jazz Festival, dancers competitions, poetry readings etc.
More about Kaunas
Kaunas is a member of WHO Healthy Cities project since 1989 when the City Council committed itself to direct the politics towards the health promotion, prevention and equalities. During the Phase III Kaunas city adopted the Public health strategy (2001), Environmental policy (1999) and "Local Agenda-21" that was prepared in 1998. They are related with each other and built on the principles of Health for All and Sustainable development with regard to the national documents. The city general plan was developed over the last few years. The main principles of HFA and Agenda 21 are integrated in this plan due to the efforts of former Kaunas HCP office. Some NGOs contributed to the development of this plan; community was provided with possibilities to discuss and give their suggestions. Kaunas conducts environmental monitoring analysing the data on the neighbourhood level. Public health monitoring at city level is being carried out since 1998. In the field of development of collaboration with community Kaunas NGOs support centre is very active partner. The Centre provides NGOs with the training, information, the latest updates in the legislation concerning the community rights, mechanisms of participation in decision making process. Another partner that plays key role is the Community Health Board. The Board referring to the Kaunas Public Health strategy defines the priorities for health promotion programmes funded by Municipality Health Fund. Kaunas schools are active participants of "Health promoting schools and kindergartens" and the projects that deal with education for sustainable development. It is worth of mentioning some projects that had the strategically dimensions for the development of collaboration with community and changing attitudes in the education field:
-"Improving public health communication impact" - to involve more mass media in the health promotion activities and to help health promoters to improve communication with the public.
-"Implementation of Arhus convention in Kaunas municipality policy" - to promote community activity in participation in health decision making and to support the development of intersectoral collaboration.
-"Integration of education for sustainable development principles in formal education system of Kaunas municipality" - to integrate sustainable development principles in the main strategical documents that cover education issues in the city. Kaunas city joined the movement "European cities against drugs", negotiates upon the possibilities to join the project "Youth friendly services". We do support and participate in the international events such as Day of dance, Clean up the world, Day without a car. In October of 2003 Kaunas HCP office was reorganized and the function of project coordination was taken over by Kaunas city municipality Health care division.