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.
It was not accidental that precisely in Kaunas was the Independence Day, February 16th, first celebrated in 1988, when the liberation movement was beginning to make itself felt. The celebration took place at the Music Theatre square where Romas Kalanta set himself on fire in May, 1972, in protest of the Soviet regime. His name is and will always be the sacred symbol of free spirit and resistance for generations to come. Another significant place for every Lithuanian patriot is the War Museum Garden with the famous “Freedom” sculpture by J. Zikaras, the monument “For Those Who Perished for Lithuania_s Freedom ” and “The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”.
Kaunas enjoys a remarkable Old Town which is a concentration of ancient architectural monuments: the remnants of the 13th century Castle, the Cathedral, the Jesuit and ST. Trinity Churches as well as the Old Town Hall, nicknamed the “White Swan” for its charming architecture. The Old Town Hall Square, the most important architectural accent of the Old Town, is reminiscent of the Middle Ages with the early Gothic Vytautas Church and the late Gothic Perkunas House not far away. The Old Town squares and buildings of the surrounding streets are brisk with numerous restaurants, bars and cafes as well as art galleries and Lithuanian folk art souvenir shops, popular among tourists. Laisves Aleja in the center of the town – the “crown jewel” of Kaunas – is the main focus of attraction for both inhabitants and tourists. Laisves Aleja is also the main business area of Kaunas with offices, shops, restaurants, and banks. It is 1621 m long and declared a non-smoking zone.
There are over twenty-one thousand students at the Universities: Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas University of Technology, Agricultural University, Kaunas Branch of Vilnius University, as well as Kaunas Medical Academy, Institute of Physical Training, Veterinary Academy, Conservatoire, and Kaunas Branch of the Academy of Arts. Besides university education, there are 97 schools of general education, 12 professional (trade) schools and 13 colleges.
Kaunas is the centre of Lithuania_s economic life, notable for the spread of industry and quick economic reform. In 1991 Kaunas began the privatisation of its State property for cash or one-off State payments. Annualy Kaunas is expanding its economy. Over 20 000 of local businesses use city advantages for transport and manufacturing activities
The main production sectors in Kaunas are the following:
The majority of city residents are employed in food, textile, light industries, furniture and construction material industries as well as in construction, transportation, retail and the service industries. The average unemployment level was less than 4% in 1998.
Kaunas is an important transport center with two intersecting transport axes. One of them connects Lithuania with the countries lying to the South. This is VIA BALTICA road. The other comes from the East and goes as far as Klaipëda city. This factor facilitates creating a free economic zone (LEZ) and encouraging investment. There are plans to biuld a railway line of the European standart reaching Kaunas, consequently, major motorways, waterways, airways and railways would intersect in Kaunas.

Kaunas, with its spirit of business and entrepreneurship, is the city on the move, rapidly developing into a real western city. Transfer of know-how, experience and education in every form is welcomed.
Kaunas enjoys friendly relations with many towns and cities. Twinning Agreements are signed with the city of Vaxjo in Sweden, Vestfold County in Norway, Los Angeles in the USA, Odense in Denmark, Tartu in Estonia, Bialystok in Poland, Grenoble in France, Tampere in Finland. Co-operation Agreements are signed with Linkoping in Sweden, Kreiss Lippe in Germany, Wroclow in Poland, Tiumene in Russia. Letters of Intent have been prepared for the cities of Brno in Czech Republic, Belaja Cerkow in the Ukraine, Linz in Austria, Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. Co-operation with these partners has been in the spheres of democracy promotion, culture and education, environment protection, health and social services, tourism and investment promotion and others.

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