The Congress will be held in KAUNAS (54° 53´ 60.0000” N, 23° 53´ 60.0000” E). The driving distance between Kaunas and the capital Vilnius (54° 41´ 20.9760” N, 25° 16´ 47.2800” E) is 105.27 km
Kaunas, a sprawling city at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris Rivers, has a compact Old Town, an abundance of artistic and educational museums, and a fascinating history. A sizeable student population provides plenty of energy, and some rough edges give it that extra bit of spice.
KAUNAS – AN HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
One of the main first settlements that grew up to become the present-day Kaunas Old Town, was first mentioned by the chroniclers in 1361. Toward the end of the 14th century, in order to defend Kaunas from Crusader’s attacks, a brick castle was built and installed itself as an integral part of the town’s defence. In 1408, Vytautas The Great, Grand Duke of Lithuania, granted the Magdeburg rights to the town, and after this Kaunas began to grow at a fairly rapid pace, especially its importance as a centre and main port for trade with Western Europe. Kaunas of the 1300s had German merchants of the Hanseatic League among its inhabitants. Since 1441, with the signing of the Hansa agreement, the merchants of Hansa town opened an office in Kaunas, which remained active until 1532. In this era, the first churches were built. After Lithuania’s Christianisation, they were soon joined by more magnificent Gothic religious buildings in the early 1400s as the city expanded still centred around the City Hall square. By the end of the 16th century, the town of Kaunas had its first school, public hospital, and chemist shop and was fast becoming one of the most developed towns in the Kingdom of Lithuania.
However, by the 17th and 18th centuries, Kaunas suffered a hardship and hostility. The causes were several major historical events not least of all attacks by the Russian army in 1655; the Swedish march to Russia in 1701 – during which the Lithuanian land was devastated; a plague in 1657 and 1708; and colossal fires in 1731 and 1732. At the end of the 18th century, the fortunes of Kaunas revived a little but only until 1812 the year that saw Napoleon’s army cross the Nemunas River in Kaunas on their path to Russia. Heading towards the end of the 19th century, Kaunas experienced several major developments that helped it back onto a path of prosperity and growth; developments such as the opening of the Oginsky canal connecting the Nemunas and Dnieper rivers; the railway connecting the Russian Empire and Germany was built in 1862; the opening of the first power plant in 1898.
The First World War stemmed the further development of Kaunas mainly because of the occupation, which meant Kaunas lost its independence until 1919. With Vilnius occupied by Russia in the same year, the State Council and Cabinet of Ministers moved and established themselves in Kaunas. The following year, with Poland occupying Vilnius (1920), Kaunas was declared “Provisional capital” and, therefore, the seat of government, parliament, and president. This was the golden age of Kaunas. Over the next few year Kaunas once again experienced rapid economic and industrial growth and a significant increase in population. In 1924 the first buses appeared in Kaunas, and in 1928 plumbing was installed in most of the city’s buildings. The city, devastated by the Second World War, also suffered further over the next forty years of soviet occupation as many buildings and signs of Lithuanian independence were demolished or removed. In some 1950s, Kaunas was often regarded by Lithuanians to be more of a city than Vilnius as in Kaunas the lifestyle was urban, whereas, in Vilnius, not a true capital of independent state for centuries, a more rural lifestyle prevailed with some of its residents herding chickens and pigs. Other Lithuanians regarded people of Kaunas to be good entrepreneurs, something that was illegal in the Soviet Union. In the 1970s it was in Kaunas where student Romas Kalanta self-immolated in protest against the Soviet rule triggering further student demonstrations. It was the “Kauno Žalgiris” basketball team which battled CSKA Moscow in what effectively became political battles on the basketball court. Under the Soviet rule, the city had been expanding northwards and was connected to Vilnius and Klaipėda by four-lane highways. Continuing urbanization increased its population to 214 000 in 1959 and 376 000 in 1980. In 1988, upon the rising of the liberation movement, many city sights were revived: streets and museum names were returned, and many monuments of independence times were restored.
Our flagship venue, Park Inn by Radisson Kaunas, located in the heart of the city centre, provides the perfect backdrop for the 34th IUGB 2019 Congress with excellent meeting facilities.
Address: K. Donelaicio str. 27, Kaunas LT-44240, Lithuania