Jonava: 7-min. City
Jonava is the vibrant ninth-largest city in Lithuania, where a thriving community of approximately 30,000 residents call home. Due to the small and compactly built residential area, Jonava is presented as a “7-min. City”: here you can get from one point to any other in just seven minutes. The city is located on the banks of the river “Neris”, in the very center of Lithuania. Jonava is well-connected to the world through the nearby Kaunas International Airport, making it an ideal destination for travelers and business ventures.
The City of Jonava is best known for the delicate novel “Stethl Love Song” by Grigory Kanovich. The city's face has noticeably changed one hundred years after the novel's events. The city boasts a rich history, an exciting present, and a promising future.
The City of Cozy Living
“Except for this one day, we don't have big ambitions to become a resort or a tourist attraction. Jonava is an industrial city, so we strive not for tourists, but for residents more. Our vision is a place for happy people, and families, where they can live cozy and comfortably, work, spend leisure, and raise children”, says Mindaugas Sinkevičius, the Mayor of the Jonava District.
But Jonava isn't just about industry and progress, It's a city that celebrates culture and tradition. Often affectionately known as "the capital of the midsummer holiday" (lt. – Joninės), Which takes part in Jonava on the 24th of June. Thousands of people participate in this festival every year. We cherish our heritage and share it with visitors and newcomers alike.
The municipality led by Mayor M. Sinkevičius was the first in the country to approve and is already implementing a sustainable mobility plan, according to which the measures implemented in Jonava reduce the negative impact of cars, change the mobility habits and behavior of the residents and improve the quality of life.
Particular attention is paid to the network of bicycle paths, which is 88 km long in the Jonava district and is constantly being expanded. You can go around the whole of Jonava by bike, admire scenic routes, and relax in specially equipped rest areas.
"The goal is to let people discover bicycles not only for leisure but to ride them to work and schools. That's why we're creating a system that makes riding a bike as comfortable as riding a car."
Not only are we expanding the network of trails, but we are also installing special facilities near apartment buildings, like small garages, where residents can store their bicycles. We have also built bicycle sheds near schools, the library, and other visited institutions so that there is a place to leave them after arriving at public institutions”, says Mr. Sinkevičius.
A pedestrian-bicycle bridge of impressive architecture across Žeimių str. is the newest object, Jonava city is very proud of. This structure has greatly improved communication by connecting the pedestrian and bicycle paths on different sides of the busy road.
The bridge also beautifies Jonava and has become a symbol of the modern city as well.
The City of Sport
In the last few years, the City of Jonava managed to significantly improve its public sports infrastructure, build new sports facilities, and host major sporting events of international and local significance.
The UEFA Futsal Champions League competition was held in the new Jonava Arena in 2019 and the European Futsal Championship qualifiers in 2020 as well.
A renovated Jonava Central Stadium was opened last year and a new public swimming pool is being built next to the stadium and arena complexes.
Due to the convenient geographical location and developed infrastructure, the City of Jonava is constantly chosen by the organizers of cycling, running, and triathlon competitions.
All these initiatives have been finally evaluated by the Union of Lithuanian Sports Federations, which has declared the City of Jonava the Sports City of 2020.
Business in Jonava
Favorable loans have been granted to small and medium-sized businesses and efforts are being made to attract potential investors to the Jonava district.
Compared to other regions of the republic, Jonava has low rental prices for plots of land and a large number of qualified labor force.
A new mobile connection technology started in Jonava this year – Jonava became the first city in Lithuania equipped with a 5G connection.
The most important company in the region is “Achema”, the largest fertilizer factory in the Baltic region and the largest Lithuanian exporter. The company has 1,400 employees, whose average salary is around 1,200 euros.
According to Mr. Sinkevičius, there are several large industrial facilities in the district of Jonava. Still, these modern companies have not been an obstacle to living in a clean environment for a long time: “Achema” independently carries out an environmental monitoring program, and measures and evaluates the impact of the company's activities on the air and the river Neris. The monitoring data does not exceed the permissible limits and is published publicly. The municipality also conducts independent environmental quality and noise measurements, and we constantly inform the public about results, which is why the residents feel safe”.
The neighborhood of industrial companies encourages the municipality to invest more in green urban spaces, high-quality water, and other public infrastructure that would be favorable to the environment.
The first electric bus is already running on the city streets and more electric buses are being purchased for 2023.
The city's history is a tapestry woven over centuries. Jonava officially gained its city status in the 18th century during the illustrious era of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1750, the first wooden church graced our skyline, symbolizing the roots of our faith. By 1778, the city was already brewing up innovation with a bustling brewery. However, the story wasn't without its challenges, as around 1812, the great Napoleon and his army visited the city and its surrounding villages.
In 1923, Jonava was formally recognized as a city-status settlement, and by 1950, it had become the thriving center of our municipality, ensuring a bright future for all who call it home.
The diverse tapestry of Jonava's past includes a significant Jewish population. In 1893, an astounding 92% of the population had Jewish heritage, and by 1941, that number remained substantial at 80%. In 1932, the city was bustling with 250 shops owned by Jewish families, a thriving Jewish bank, seven synagogues, and a distinguished Jewish school.
The tumultuous years of World War II brought heartache and tragedy to Jonava. The city, known for its coexistence of faiths, faced the wrath of Nazi Germany. Amid the chaos, a Christian church and five Jewish synagogues were destroyed. Tragically, the Jews of Jonava suffered an unspeakable loss in two horrific massacres during August and September 1941. A total of 2,108 lives were taken at the hands of Einsatzgruppen of Germans and Lithuanian Self-Defense Units. The remaining 200 Jews endured captivity in the Kaunas ghetto, a somber chapter in our shared history.
Places to visit in Jonava
Although the Jonava region is not full of tourist attractions, visitors are dragged by the unique opportunity to see "Europe" in just a couple of hours: villages named London, Paris, Switzerland, and Venice are located in the district of Jonava.
It is believed that such names were given to settlements in the 19th century. The landlords who owned them based on the similarities with the mentioned European areas.
One of the most valuable and beautiful objects in Jonava is the 400-year-old Skaruliai St. Anna's Church.
Fascinating with its unique Gothic and Renaissance architecture, the church is also preserved with authentic sculptures, paintings, and one of the oldest altars in Lithuania.
Having experienced many adversities during its history, Skaruliai St. Anna's Church has survived to this day without major changes and is protected by the state.
Today, Jonava stands as a testament to resilience and rebirth. In the post-war era, the city boldly ventured into new horizons by establishing the largest fertilizer factory in the Baltic states. Jonava emerged as one of Lithuania's four biggest industrial cities, a thriving hub of commerce and culture.
As the city continues to grow and evolve, Jonava welcomes all to join in celebrating its heritage and embracing the future. The city invites you to be a part of our story, explore our vibrant streets, and experience the unique blend of history, tradition, and modernity that makes Jonava a truly exceptional place to call home.