|Capital of||Birštonas municipality|
|Granted city rights||1529|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
Birštonas ( pronunciation (help·info)) is a balneological resort and a spa town in Lithuania situated 30 km (19 mi) south of Kaunas on the right bank of the Nemunas River. Birštonas received its city rights 1529, and was appointed a city in 1966. The city is the administrative centre of the Birštonas municipality.
Birštonas is the Lithuanian name of the city. Versions of the name in other languages include Polish: Birsztany, Russian: Бирштаны Birshtany, Belarusian: Біршта́ны Birshtany, Yiddish: בירשטאן Birshtan, Latvian: Birštona.
Birštonas was first mentioned in chronicles of the Teutonic Knights in 1382 and described as a "a farmstead at the salty water". Many Lithuanian dukes and other noblemen vacationed in Birštonas during 14th and 16th centuries to hunt. The resort was founded in 1846. Many people from Russian, Polish, and Lithuanian cities visited sanitoriums for the area's mineral water and to receive curative mud applications, including Lithuanian writer Balys Sruoga, who was ill after the Stutthof concentration camp.
Birštonas is surrounded by pine forests and the Nemunas River, which is very good for the ill. Some hills offer nice views of the Nemunas River. There are also shops, police department, library, theatre, clinic, pharmacy, book store, schools, museums, cafes, restaurants and the City Hall. There are many apartments and rare houses. Birštonas serves as a center of the Nemunas Loops Regional Park.
Birštonas holds several festivals. The Birštonas town festival is held during the second weekend of June. It features concerts, folk art exhibits, and air balloon and motorboat races. Another devoted to jazz attracts thousands and is held every two years at the end of March. The jazz festival is more than twenty years old and is now broadcast as well.
Birštonas is known for its mineral water. This water is used by sanatoriums for mineral water pools and baths. There are three large sanatoriums in Birštonas – Tulpė (English: Tulip), Versmė (English: Spring) and Eglė (English: Medical SPA "Eglės" sanatorija). All of them offer halotherapy, therapeutic mud bathes, mineral water pools, baths, massages, and a wide range of curative procedures. Birštonas also has hotels and country farmsteads, adapted for rural tourism. Local attractions include Vytautas hill, where a Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas had his hunting mansion; two museums; and the Promenade, a path near the Nemunas River. Cycling in local Žvėrinčius forest, riding a horse, sailing, sculling, or canoeing along the Verknė or the Nemunas rivers are provided. Birštonas is one of Lithuania's few resorts.
Twin towns - sister cities
Birštonas is twinned with:
- Leck in Germany
- Żnin in Poland
- Keila in Estonia
- Sigulda in Latvia
- Sysmä in Finland
- Bykle in Norway
- Neringa in Lithuania
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