|Sister City Since: 2009
None for less than 90 days
Alytus lies along the Nemunas River in southern Lithuania. An ancient settlement on a major trade route, the city dates from the 14th century, when the fortress on Alytus Hill defended the region from Crusader raids, Alytus spread over neighboring hills and valleys, encompassing verdant forests, so that today more than a third of the city of 75,000 is forest reserve and parkland. Vidzgiris forest provides a 452 hectare botanical reservation within the city, featuring rare plants and protected animals.
Foremost of Alytus’ many festivals is the three-day Alytus City Festival at summer solstice, featuring music, ballooning, sports, and theatrical performances. Its Bonsai Exhibition is unique in the Baltic States. The biennial festival of contemporary experimental art draws artists from more than 25 countries. Alytus’ Festival of Lighting the Christmas Tree encompasses may events, including Christmas festivities and evenings of Christmas, jazz, and classical music. Recreation opportunities include hiking, water sports, fishing, birding, and exploring historic and archeological sites.
Alytus’ high schools and technical college support its industrial centre, with factories producing refrigerators, chemical products, linen, and clothing.