|Capital of||Birštonas municipality|
|Granted city rights||1529|
|• Mayor||Nijolė Dirginčienė|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
Birštonas (pronunciation (help·info); Yiddish: בירשטאן Birshton) 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.
Birštonas was mentioned for the first time in the fourteenth century as a "homestead at salty water." It was mentioned in chronicles of the Teutonic Knights in 1382 and described as "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, beatified Teofilius Matulionis, after his imprisonment in Soviet camps and prisons for 16 years.
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.
On the last weekend of March Birštonas hosts a traditional, Lithuania's oldest international jazz festival, called Birštonas. Since 1980, the jazz festival coming here every two years have long earned the resort a name of the Lithuanian jazz Mecca.
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 available. 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
Birštonas' neogothic church
Jonas Basanavičius street in Birštonas
A monument to Vytautas in Birštonas
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Birštonas.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Birštonas.|