History of Kėdainius

Kėdainiai is a city centrally located in Lithuania on the banks of the Nevėžis river. In the core of the town is the legislative seat of the homonymous district and in the Urban County.

Kėdainius Through the Years

Kėdainiai is considered one of the oldest urban settlements in Lithuania. The town is mentioned in written sources for the first time in 1372 in the Livonian Chronicle of Hermann von Wartberg. According to the legends, the city got its name from a wealthy merchant Keidangen, who was from Kuršas and founded a small fish village. The city was first mentioned in 1372, and in the 15th century, it became a part of the town. In the 19th century, it was already called a city. Officially, the city law was awarded in 1590 as Magdeburg law. The city was the center of the Reformation in Lithuania. Even today there is an evangelical church, which is rare in continuous Catholic Lithuania.

The history of the town is closely connected with the history of the Radziwill family. The city was owned early by the powerful and widely branched aristocratic family Radziwiłł, who converted to Calvinist faith in part during the Reformation period. The founder of the dynasty — Ostik — in the middle of the XV century on the picturesque left Bank of the Nevėžis built a mansion. After the appointment of Prince Jan Radziwill (grandson Ostika) the elder of Samogitia in 1535 kėdainiai became its administrative center since 1574 in the town are the General diet Samogitian nobility.

The statement bellow led to the settlement of Scottish Protestants in the 16th century. And 17. Century. The Radziwiłłs supported the construction of Reformed churches and schools. At the beginning of the second Nordic war, on 20 September 1945, the German army occupied the town. October 1655, leading Lithuanian nobles under the leadership of Janusz Radziwiłł and Bogusław Radziwiłł in the Treaty of Kedainiai under the “protection” of Sweden. However, this short-term alliance between Lithuania and Sweden came to an end in the peace of Oliva in 1660. With the Polish third division, the place came to Russia in 1795. Between the world wars, he belonged to the newly founded Republic of Lithuania.

The Russian-Polish war of 1654-1667 suspended further development of the city. Most of Lithuania was occupied, and negotiations between Janusz Radziwill and representatives of the Swedish king Charles X Gustav were started in Kedainiai, which ended on August 17, 1655, with the break of the Union with Poland and the Treaty on the Union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with Sweden (Cadan Union).

Since the Middle Ages, there has also been a large Jewish community on the site, which was largely destroyed during the period of the German occupation during the Second World War in the Shoa. After the end of the war, the city returned to Soviet rule, and a military airfield was set up at the place. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, it has belonged to independent Lithuania.

In the postwar period, Kedainiai became the center of the district and developed as a center of the chemical industry. The following enterprises were built and put into operation: plant of electrical equipment, factory of bio-medicines, chemical plant (modern Lifosa), a plant of metal structures, plant “Kedainiai biochemistry,” sugar factory. A rapidly growing number of residents in 1959 it was 10.6 per thousand people in 1970 was 19.7 thousand.


The old town is well preserved and worth seeing. In the city, there are several castles and mansions of the great Lithuanian nobility, which are now mostly used as public buildings. In the vicinity of the railway station, is located one of the few minarets of Lithuania.