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Varniai

Location: N55° 44` 30.0", E22° 22` 19.9"

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Varniai is a town in Telšiai District. It had a significant influence on Lithuanian culture and history. It was a former Samogitian Diocese since 1413. 

Places of interest in Varniai: Samogitian Diocese Museum; the attendance of the museum exhibition halls, exhibitions and events costs 3€ for a family, 1.50 € for adults and 1€ for children, students, and pensioners. Guide services can be ordered in advance: Tel. /fax 8 444 47455; email ai@varniai-museum.lt . The Guide service for groups up to 10 people in a foreign language (English, Polish, Russian, German) – 10.00 €. If there are more than 20 people - 20.00 €; Varniai Cathedral was built in 1691 (now it is St. Peter's and St. Paul’s parish church); St. Alexander's parish church, founded in Vytautas’ concern in 1413-1416; Samogitian Seminary Palace (built in 1770), Bishop M.Valančius residence and the square with a monument to the bishop

The first people visited the area near Biržulis and Lūkstass lakes before 8000 BC. In this area we have about 50 Stone Age settlements, camps and burial grounds. One of the most impressive ancient tombs around the Eastern Baltic - Donkalnis priest tomb dating back to 5000 BC has been found there as well. Some tombs of Mesolithic period should also be mentioned. 

Samogitian Bishopric centre was founded in Varniai by order of Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas after the baptism of Samogitians. So the town became the centre of Samogitia, in cultural and economic terms, in the 15th – 19th century. Many people deserving to Lithuanian culture lived, studied and worked there. The most famous are Bishop M. Giedraitis (first to give religious historical work "Samogitian Diocese”), a well-known canon M.Daukša (known for his “Postilla Catholica”) Lithuanian poets A.Strazdas and A. Baranauskas, and, of course, the "busy bee" (as he called himself) a writer and historian S.Daukantas, who laid the scientific foundation for Lithuanian historiography. Thanks to these and other people Varniai became one of the most important Lithuanian cultural centres. 

M. Valančius was the first bishop who came from the peasantry. He founded the seminary, promoted the Lithuanian identity, organized Lithuanian book publishing and distribution during the period of the band Lithuanian press and created the first literary and didactic books himself. He started developed very successfully the first in the history of the country temperance campaign of the Lithuanian nation. 

Varniai tourist information centre: 6 Daukanto St, LT-88318 Varniai, tel. (444) 47455, Mob: (687) 20198, (615) 94309, Tel. /fax (444) 47455 (41) 595278 

In Varniai Regional Park visitors can order excursions by phone: 8 444 47415, mobile: 8 612 66133. Email: varniu-rp@takas.lt . Tours and tour guide services in the Lithuanian language 1 hour for a group - 10 Eur.

Medvėgalis archaeological complex (it is equipped with 4 km. trail) 

Aukšatagirė educational pedestrians–cyclists’ trail includes Požerė, Medvėgalis, Gojaus hornbeams, Miltai (flour) Hill, Laumėkalnis, Bilionys mound, Aukštagirė tower, Gulbių (Swans) Village, Kartuvių (Gallows) Hill, Paršežeris (pig lake) campsite (length 23 km). Debesnai botanical trail (1.65 km) Sietuva kūlgrinda, Jomantai forest trail (length about 4 km), Lūkstas amber trail (1 km), Samogitian Duke Vykintas’ town-fortress (the area of Vembutų-Vidmantų mound with its surroundings, the trail 1.5 km), Spiginas Cape trail (1 km), sightseeing hiking trail around Paršežeris (graves of rebels, Paršpilis, Sietuva kūlgrinda (a hidden path in swamps); length of 14km).