Kretinga city was first mentioned in 1253 as castle Cretyn which was important place of Mėguva Land of Courland. The castle and the half of the land belonged to Curonian noblemen, and another half was shared between the Master of the Livonian Order and the Bishop of Courland. On 25 Jan 1260 Livonian Order and Teutonic Knights from Prussia obtained a papal bull blessing the crusade against Samogitians. Livonian Grand Master Burchard von Hornhausen organized a large army for a campaign, both Orders met in the Memel Castle (present days Klaipėda) to plan and coordinate their next steps, and then learned that at the same time Samogitian force was raiding Courland. The knights decided to stop them. The enemies met on the shore of the Durbė Lake. Knights were defeated, the battle is known as Battle of Durbė. It resulted in numerous rebellions across all Baltic lands against the Livonian and Teutonic Orders which lasted until 1274. Kretinga Castle too rebelled against the Livonian Order. The knights organized two raids against Kretinga Castle in 1263: first attack was stopped by Kretinga defenders; the master of Memel Castle was captured and sacrificed to the Gods by burning him on a pagan altar. Second time crusaders lured the castle crew into a trap, exterminated all residents and burned down the castle.
In the beginning of 17th century the first Christian wooden church was built and the village since then began to develop as a city. 23 Jan 1609 Kretinga was granted Magdeburg rights. City adopted a coat of arms depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus in her arms; Kretinga's patron saint remains the Blessed Virgin.
After the partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth the city lost its municipal rights, however prospered during the 19th century as part of the Russian Empire. In 1875 Count Tyszkiewicz established his family estate in Kretinga; he purchased an old palace from prince Zubov and rebuilt it. Since 1992 the palace houses Kretinga Museum and still has an original greenhouse that was the largest one in Europe at the time. During the 20th century the manor was severely affected by the wars and a long neglect. In 2009 a full restoration of all manor complex has started; it is scheduled to complete in c. 2015.
Kretinga is situated on the main Klaipėda-Šiauliai-Vilnius railway line and the A11 highway Palanga-Šiauliai. It is 21 km (about a half-hour drive) from Klaipėda (a 3rd largest city and the seaport), and 11 km (about 15 min drive) from Palanga (the main summer beach town and spa resort with a small air port PLQ). Distance from the capital Vilnius is 314 km (4 hr 15 min by car), distance from Kaunas is 218 km (3 hr drive).
Kretinga Bus Fleet (Kretingos autobusų parkas) provides bus service within the town limits and serves suburban routes between the town and all the other towns in Kretinga district. Taxis also available, it is normal to go by taxi anywhere within district limits up to the main towns of the nighbouring districts. However the town itself is small enough to be explored on foot.
A. Rimkaus transporto įmonė, J. K. Chodkevičiaus St 10, ☎ +370 445 53333. edit
Old territory of Kretinga city (31.3 ha) is an archeological and urban monument. Most notable buildings:
One tower three naves church of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, constructed in 1617, rebuilt in 1908, features Gothic and Renaissance architectural elements, interior is decorated in the Renaissance and Baroque style. Has three valuable sarcophagus, two wooden carved doors, several statues, sculptures and paintings, mostly from 17-19th centuries.
Count Tyszkiewicz manor estate with Manor House, water mill, other residential and industrial buildings and the park with a “Sun observatory” (astronomical calendar with a sundial, built in 2002). The manor belongs to Kretinga Museum since 1992.
Neo-gothic chapel of Count Tyszkiewicz in the new cemetery, built in 1893 (architect Karl Eduard Strandman).
Kretinga Evangelical Lutheran Church, rebuilt in 1897.
Building of Franciscan High School, built in 1932.
Kretinga Bank building, built in 1938 (architect Mykolas Songaila);
Kretinga Russian Orthodox chapel of St. Eleuterus.
“Freedom” (1930, sculptor Robertas Antinis; demolished during the Soviet time, restored in 1990).
Monument to Jurgis Pabrėža, first Lithuanian botanist; died and buried in Kretinga (1993, sculptor Algirdas Bosas, architect Saulius Manomaitis).
Monument to Jan Karol Chodkiewicz, one of the most prominent noblemen and military commanders of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; he founded the first wooden church in Kretinga and established a Benedictine monastery (2009, architect of the monument Adomas Skiezgelas).
In Kretinga district:
History and Cultural heritage:
95 archeological sites,
18 impressive hill-forts from different historical periods.
26 objects of the ancient cult and human activity,
several sizable mythological stones,
4 springs with attributed healing power: Eršketynas, Senoji Įpiltis, Alka, Būdviečių.
6 mythological mounds associated with the pagan places of worship: Alka, Joskaudai, Naujoji Įpiltis, Rūdaičiai, Benaičiai, Gaudutis.
Salantai Regional Park(Salantų regioninis parkas), HQ: Taikos St 18, LT-97322, Salantai, Kretinga district (31 km NE of Kretinga), ☎ +370 445 58761 (email@example.com, fax: +370 445 58761). M-Th 08:00–17:00, Fr 08:00–15:45, lunch break 12:00–12:45.
Japanese Garden Samogitia(Japoniškas sodas Samogitija), Mažučiai village, Darbėnai elderate, Kretinga district (Head north of Kretinga (road No 218) up to Darbėnai, then turn left (west) towards Laukžemė right after the church in Darbėnai, you'll see signs to the garden then), ☎ +370 616 18530, +370 606 05756, +370 616 14202 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Daily 09:00-21:00. Admission fee children 5 LTL, adults 8 LTL..
Surroundings of Dauginčiai village (coordinates 55°55'45.4", 21°32' 3.95") and Minija river valley north of the village.
Marvellous scenery of Salantas river (a tributary of Minija) valley – with a channel of the rivers winding in impressive meanders and a landscape nearly untouched by human activities.
Salantai Regional Park offers several cognitive and recreational routes for pedestrians, several different routes by bicycle and by car.
Web site of Tourist Information of Kretinga district offers description of 2 tourist routes in English: “Along the historical routes of the Kretinga region” (85 km) and “Interesting entertainment within nature” (60 km).
Various souvenirs (including hand-made ones), books and booklets can be purchased at the Tourist Information of Kretinga district office.
Variety of certified National Heritage products can be obtained in Kretinga (recommended to consult either at the Tourist Information of Kretinga district office, or to ask the host of the place you stay in). Some products:
Traditional craft products: shrines, sculptures, trays, cornices, distaff, spoons, crosses, picture frames, mirror frames, Shrove Tuesday masks, bowls, bedspreads, bedding fabrics, curtain fabrics, tablecloths, napkins, kits, gloves, stockings, headgear, clothing made of leather, household and ceremonial items made of leather, traditional clothes: skirts, women's shirts, men's shirts, women's jackets, aprons, pants, head coverings.
Traditional food products: simple leavened bread, pre-baked bread, yeasty pie and cakes (the Salantai Pie), the gira, dumplings, the "Šakotis", salted bacon, smoked bacon, smoked hams, smoked loin, smoked sausages, sugar sweets.
Motelis "Smagratis"(Motel ”Flywheel”), Žemaitės al. 31A, Kretinga (By the A11 highway (northern side) at the eastern outskirts), ☎ +370 445 76257, mobile +370 686 64830, +370 657 99157 (email@example.com). checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. 80-190 LTL.
Dalios dvarelis(Dalia mini manor), Laukžemė village, Kretinga district, ☎ mobile + +370 687 58245 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 1 room (2-4 people) on workdays - 80 LTL, weekends - 120 LTL. Whole homestead with all facilities and banquet hall for up to 20 people - 800 LTL per night. Children's playground, the site for wild camping, sauna, canoes for rent.
HBH PalangaŽibininkai village, Kretinga district, ☎ +370 445 44678, mobile +370 655 37777 (email@example.com). 120-240 LTL.
Orvidų sodyba (Orvidas Family Homestead), Gargždelė village, Kretinga district, ☎ mobile +370 613 28624. edit
Pamiškės sodyba(Homestead at the Forest Outskirts), Juzumai village, Darbėnai elderate, Kretinga district (1.5 km to Japanese Garden Samogitia), ☎ +370 615 32684, mobile + 370 686 50359. Lithuanian sauna and banquet hall, two family bedrooms with facilities on the 2nd floor.
Vienkiemis(Homestead), Padvariai village, Kretinga district, ☎ +370 445 78425; mobile +370 685 69549 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +370 445 77597). checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Mini-resort suitable for the short or long stay any time of year, can accommodate up to 80 visitors in summer.
Kretinga is a point where people comming by train from Vilnius or Šiauliai have to get off in order to proceed on to the seaside resort Palanga. Once you got off the train, go past the railway station building and you already are in the bus station territory. Here you can catch a taxi or get a suburban bus, just have in mind that everybody else will want to get the closest bus or the nearest taxi. In high season Palanga is notoriously crowded, therefore Kretinga becomes a convenient springboard to the resort, especially for the visitors who failed to find or didn’t want to look for accommodation in Palanga itself.
Kretinga bus station provides regular suburban bus service within Kretinga district and between Kretinga and Klaipėda. Some long distance intercity buses also stop here enroute.
Suburban bus schedules all over the country usually can be found only at the spot in the bus stations, therefore schedule for the most relevant route Kretinga-Palanga is presented here: