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Lithuania Minor

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Evangelical Lutheran Church in Šilutė

Lithuania Minor is a region in Lithuania.


  • Klaipėda — the third biggest city, stopover point for cruise ships, famous for various summer events.
  • Neringa — consists of four villages on Curonian Spit, municipality headquarters located in Nida.
  • Pagėgiai — district centre in front of Sovetsk city in Kaliningrad Oblast, north across Nemunas river. A landmark on the way to the international border crossing point.
  • Šilutė — district centre, small and cozy city near the Nemunas River delta.

Other destinations[edit]

  • Kintai — a village NW of Šilutė on the shore of Curonian Lagoon.
  • National park Of Curonian Spit (Kuršių Nerijos nacionalinis parkas) — covers all territory of Neringa municipality.
  • Nemunas Delta Regional Park (Nemuno deltos regioninis parkas) — covers territory of Nemunas delta and its surroundings.
  • Rambynas Regional Park (Rambyno regioninis parkas) — covers territory of Nemunas river loop SE of Pagėgiai, with a legendary pagan place of worship Rambynas Hill.
  • Seaside Regional Park (Pajūrio regioninis parkas) — covers Baltic sea coast between Klaipėda and Palanga.
  • Viešvilė — town on the eastern end of the region, surrounded by large forests (Viešvilės miškas) suitable for recreation and hiking in nature.


Nemunas Delta, view to Curonian Lagoon
King Wilhelm Canal (Lith: Vilhelmo kanalas)
Monument for French prisoners of war who built the Wilhelm Canal
Bird banding station at Ventė
Cape Ventė lighthouse
Museum of polders, Uostadvaris village, Rusnė island
Old bridge over Viešvilė river in Viešvilė town.

Lithuania Minor (Mažoji Lietuva) is a northern edge of a former East Prussia (German: Ostpreussen), a German state that during history had different names, different teritory and different political status. The population in its north-eastern part was predominantly Lithuanian-speaking, while maintaining loyalty to the German administration. The administrative divisions and terms of this area varied during history, however the names Preußisch-Litauen (Prussian-Lithuania) and Kleinlitauen (Little Lithuania) were used and are still in use in everyday language to distinguish the area inhabited by Lithuanians under the German administration from the territory of Lithuania Major - Lithuanian state itself. After the WWII East Prussia ceased to exist, territory was ethnically cleansed of the native German-speaking population. The most of its territory now is divided between Poland in the south and Kaliningrad Oblast of Russian Federation in the north. The narrow strip north of Nemunas river belong to Republic of Lithuania. It stretches between Smalininkai village in the east (almost touching Tauragė city north of Smalininkai) and Klaipėda city in the west, almost up to Palanga in the very north-west corner.

Predominat ethnicity of population in Kaliningrad Oblast is Russian, predominat ethnicity of population in Lithuania Minor region of Lithuania is Lithuanian. Given the long period of time that has passed since the war, these historical changes are accepted by local people as a fact, no ethnic or national tensions, let alone scandals, were ever reported. Scarse remains of both German and Baltic cultural and historical heritage are more or less preserved, however one should have in mind that the Second World War literally washed everything away from the ground. Several decades of decay were not merciful either. What the visitor can expect is a calm and peaceful countryside whith its everyday life, and the scenery that here and there resembles pre-war Eastern Prussia. All historical, cultural and other objects of interest are scattered across the region and requires advance preparation to locate or visit them.

However the two main attractions are associated not with the countryside but with the sea: it’s a seaport of Klaipėda, and a narrow peninsula, called Curonian Spit, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that stretches from Klaipėda on Lithuanian half, up to Zelenogradsk on Kaliningrad Oblast half.


Lithuanian dialect of this region is closest to the official Standard Lithuanian, as most of the scholars who developed the language were either from Lithuania Minor or from Sūduva region which linguistically was close. During certain period both regions were under the reign of Kingdom of Prussia. At the time of ban of lithuanian language in Russian Empire during 19th century, Lithuania Minor was a centre where Lithuanian-language books and periodicals were published and then smuggled into Lithuania, then part of Russia.

At present time the influence and presence of Samogitian dialect, especially in Klaipėda and its surroundings, is noticeable.

Most commonly used foreign languages are Russian, German, English and Polish.

Get in[edit]

Get around[edit]

Most convenient transport is a car, though public transport (suburban and regular intercity buses) is also available. The land is flat, suitable for bicycling. Within Nemunas delta and Curonian Lagoon the motorboat is a common mode of transport.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Cape Ventė.
  • Curonian Spit.
  • King Wilhelm Canal (Lith: Karaliaus Vilhelmo kanalas; Germ: König Wilhelm Kanal), built 1865–1873 by French prisoners of war. Length 25–27 km, width 28–30 m, average depth 1.7 m.
  • Rambynas Hill.
  • Remains of the northern Prussian–Lithuanian border which was determined by the Treaty of Melno on 27 Sep 1422, and remained unchanged for about 500 years.
  • Rusnė island and Museum of polders (Polderių muziejus), Uostadvaris village, Šilutė district (Northern shore of Rusnė island), +370 441 58359, +370 441 52290 (fax: +370 441 62236).  edit


Do[edit][add listing]


  • Karklė Karklė beach (Karklė village north of Klaipėda, south of Palanga), +370 46 256-590 (). Weekend on the middle of August. Three day open air live music festival with "hippie" spirit and hippie atmosphere. Location is a well known summer resort, a tiny but notable village on the coast. Accommodation is available at campsites or cottages with a special ticket; campsites open from F 13:00 until Su 20:00. Three days without accommodation ~€45, three days with accommodation ~€50.
  • Sea Feast (Jūros šventė). Annually on the end of July. Takes place in Klaipėda city, see details on Klaipėda article.  edit


  • Bicycling.
  • Birdwatching.
  • Canoeing in Minija and Jūra rivers, canoeing or rafting in Nemunas river.
  • Hiking in Viešvilė forests, wild camping.
  • Kintai mini-resort: Kintai village, Šilutė district (on the shore of Curonian Lagoon), +370 441 47339 (, fax: +370 441 47339). Organize or provides assistance in organizing birdwatching, fishing, hunting, boating and other activities. Rents all needful equipment, owns about 1000 ha of hunting grounds. Provides accommodation in hotel "Pelikanas" and the guest house "Žvejų užeiga".
  • Windsurfing in Curonian Lagoon.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

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