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Coordinates: 55°17′N 23°58′E / 55.283°N 23.967°E / 55.283; 23.967
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Kėdainiai old town
Kėdainiai old town
Coat of arms of Kėdainiai
Kėdainiai is located in Lithuania
Location of Kėdainiai
Coordinates: 55°17′N 23°58′E / 55.283°N 23.967°E / 55.283; 23.967
Country Lithuania
Ethnographic regionAukštaitija
County Kaunas County
MunicipalityKėdainiai district municipality
EldershipKėdainiai City Eldership
Capital ofKėdainiai district municipality
Kėdainiai City Eldership
First mentioned1372
Granted city rights1590
  • Babėnai
  • Jonušava
  • Justinava
  • Old Town
 • TypeMunicipal Council
 • MayorValentinas Tamulis[1]
 • Total26.97 km2 (10.41 sq mi)
39 m (128 ft)
 • Total23,447
 • Density870/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code

Kėdainiai (Lithuanian: [kʲeːˈdâːɪ.nʲɛɪ̯ˑ] ) is one of the oldest cities in Lithuania. It is located 51 km (32 mi) north of Kaunas on the banks of the Nevėžis River. First mentioned in the 1372 Livonian Chronicle of Hermann de Wartberge, its population as of 2020 was 23,667. Its old town dates to the 17th century.[2]

The town is the administrative centre of the Kėdainiai District Municipality. The geographical centre of the Lithuania is in the nearby village of Ruoščiai in the eldership of Dotnuva.

In a ring of five miles, the St Jurgis church is surrounded by smaller villages – Lančiūnava, Kapliai [lt], Labūnava, Josvainiai, Dotnuva, Kalnaberžė.


The city has been known by other names: Kiejdany in Polish, Keidan (קיידאן) in Yiddish,[3][4] and Kedahnen in German. Kėdainiai other alternate forms include Kidan, Kaidan, Keidany, Keydan, Kiedamjzeÿ [5] ("j" /e/), Kuidany, and Kidainiai.[6]


Józef Brandt, The March of Swedes for Kiejdany (Kėdainiai) (1889)

The area was the site of several battles during "The Deluge", the 17th century war between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Sweden. In 1655 a short-lived treaty with Sweden, the Union of Kėdainiai, was signed by two members of Radziwiłł family in their Kėdainiai castle. While little remains of the Radziwiłł castle, the crypt of the Calvinist church (1631) houses the family mausoleum, including the tombs of Krzysztof Radziwiłł and his son Janusz.

Scottish Protestants arrived in the late 16th and 17th centuries, encouraged by the conversion of Anna Radziwill; the community exerted considerable influence in the city and persisted until the mid-19th century.[7] The grouping of the buildings around the town square still include the imposing homes of merchants known as the "Scottish Houses". These include; the George Anderson House, the John Arnot House, the George Bennet House, the James Gray House, the Steel Property, and the surviving basement of the Alexander Gordon house.[8]

A local custom called on all visitors to bring a stone to be used in the town's construction.[2]

The 1st Lithuanian National Cavalry Brigade was stationed in the town in 1790.[9]

World War II[edit]

Kėdainiai in 19th century by Napoleon Orda

In 1940, the town was invaded and occupied by the Soviet Union. During Operation Barbarossa, Kėdainiai was occupied by the German Army in the summer of 1941. On August 28, 1941, the entire Jewish community of Kėdainiai, a community which had inhabited the area for 500 years, were killed under the direction of German Special Police Battalions, with the aid of the local Lithuanian population. The Jewish population prior to the Holocaust was 3000.[10]

Soviet occupation[edit]

Lifosa AB chemical plant in Kėdainiai

During the Cold War, it was home to Kėdainiai air base, a major Soviet military airlift facility.

For many years, Kėdainiai was known for its chemical and food processing industries. The Kėdainiai chemical plant, Lifosa, began operations in January 1963. Publicized as a milestone in the industrialization of Lithuania, it emitted significant quantities of sulfuric acid and was the subject of ecological protests in the 1980s.[11][12]

Independent Lithuania[edit]

Following years of stagnation, old enterprises have come back to life, and new ones have been established, contributing to its status as an economic stronghold.[13]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: 1902, 1923, 1959 & 1970, 1979, 1989, 2001, 2011


Kėdainiai is accessed by Via Baltica highway from Kaunas and Panevėžys, and by rail from Vilnius, Klaipėda and Šiauliai. It is also served by Kaunas International Airport, the second largest airport in Lithuania, located in Karmėlava.


Monument for Prince Jonušas Radvila
Kėdainiai minaret

The Kėdainiai Regional Museum, established in 1922, now operates four branches: a Multicultural Centre, the mausoleum of the Dukes Radziwill, the house of Juozas Paukštelis, and the Museum of Wooden Sculptures of V.Ulevičius.[14]

Since the city is known as the cucumber capital of Lithuania, it sponsors an annual cucumber festival.[13]

In 2013, the band Bastille shot a music video for their single "Things We Lost in the Fire" in the location.[citation needed]

A small Polish minority of 329 (0,61%)[15] people live in Kėdainiai district municipality, but only 30 people participate in Stowarzyszenie Polaków Kiejdan (The Kėdainiai Polish Association), the elder people; their cultural activities involve public celebrations of Polish Day of Independence and Day of the Constitution of Third of May, as well as organizing a festival of Polish culture. Since 1994 a School of Polish Language exists.[16][17]



Basketball club BC Nevėžis, which participate in Lithuanian basketball league. Football club FK Nevėžis, named after the nearby river plays in second-tier league I Lyga. Other football teams include FK Lifosa and FK Nevėžis-2, the reserve team of Nevėžis.

Mayors of Kėdainiai[edit]

Mayor Term of office Political party
Took office Left office
Independent Lithuania
Petras Baguška 1990 1994
Vigimantas Kisielius 1995 1997 Homeland Union
Viktoras Muntianas 1997 2004 Labour Party
Virginija Baltraitienė 12 November 2004 12 December 2005 Labour Party
Nijolė Naujokienė 2005 2011 Labour Party
Rimantas Diliūnas 2011 2015 Labour Party
Saulius Grinkevičius 17 April 2015 2019 Liberal Movement
Valentinas Tamulis 17 March 2019 Incumbent Valentino Tamulio komanda – mūsų krašto sėkmei

Notable citizens[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Kėdainiai is twinned with:[18]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Būsimieji merai švenčia, apie darbus galvos rytoj" (in Lithuanian). 15min.lt. 18 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Kėdainiai". Samogitian Cultural Association Editorial Board. Archived from the original on 2020-02-20. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
  3. ^ Levin, Dov (2000). The Litvaks. Berg Publishers. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-57181-264-3.
  4. ^ "An Old and New World | קיידאן | Keidan | Kedainiai". keidaner.com. Retrieved 2020-10-01.
  5. ^ Blaeu, Joan (1662). LIVONIA vulgo Lyefland (Map).
  6. ^ Library of Congress Authority control Name Headings. HEADING: Kėdainiai (Lithuania). Accessed 2009-09-14.
  7. ^ Murdoch, Steve (2006). Network North: Scottish kin, commercial and covert association in Northern Europe, 1603-1746. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-14664-8.
  8. ^ Algirdas Juknevičius & Vaidas Špečkauskas, Scottish Heritage in Kėdainiai (Vilnius: Savastis, 2015), pp. 11–31.
  9. ^ Gembarzewski, Bronisław (1925). Rodowody pułków polskich i oddziałów równorzędnych od r. 1717 do r. 1831 (in Polish). Warszawa: Towarzystwo Wiedzy Wojskowej. p. 10.
  10. ^ Gilbert, Martin (2004). The Second World War: A Complete History. Macmillan Publishers. p. 214. ISBN 978-0-8050-7623-3.
  11. ^ Casper, Monica J. (2003). Synthetic planet: chemical politics and the hazards of modern life. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-93355-1.
  12. ^ A. P. J. Mol, David Allan Sonnenfeld (2000). Ecological Modernisation Around the World: Perspectives and Critical Debates. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7146-5064-7.
  13. ^ a b "Kėdainiai district municipality". Department of Statistics to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
  14. ^ "Museum History". Kėdainiai Regional Museum. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
  15. ^ Number of inhabitants of Kėdainiai district municipality by ethnicity, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2014-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Lithuanian census of 2011
  16. ^ Świat Polonii, [1] Dni Kultury Polskiej na Laudzie 18-20 czerwca 2004 r.
  17. ^ http://www.knypava.lt Archived 2014-01-02 at the Wayback Machine [2] Archived 2014-01-02 at the Wayback Machine Kėdainiuose giliai šaknis įleidę ir lenkai
  18. ^ "Tarptautinis bendradarbiavimas". kedainiai.lt (in Lithuanian). Kėdainiai. Archived from the original on 2021-01-27. Retrieved 2021-03-23.