Raseiniai is one of the oldest towns in Lithuania. The legendary hillforts and yet forgotten nearby ancient burial places which scattered in the valleys of the river Dubysa is the perfect evidence of the fact that people have lived by the river since the ancient times.
The Year 1253 The King of Lithuania Mindaugas was the first to mention Raseiniai, Ariogala, Betygala and Viduklė in his July Act in 1253. Showing the appreciation to the Livonian Order, Mindaugas gave a half of Raseiniai as a gift, including Laukuva, Betygala, Ariogala, Dainava and other lands. The growth of the town began after the wars with the crusaders had ended.
15th-17th c. The first Roman Catholic churches in Betygala, Ariogala, Viduklė and Raseiniai were built during the Samogitian baptism in 1416. Raseiniai became the centre of the powiat (county) in the 15th century, the political and economic centre, also the capital of Samogitia since 1574. There is a record – “Raseiniai – the capital of Samogitia” (Rosienie Samogitiae Metropolis) on the map of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, published by Mikalojus Radvila Našlaitėlis in 1613. The Dominican Order was invited to settle in Raseiniai by the bishop Jurgis Tiškevičius in 1642.
18th c. The brick baroque style church and the monastery were built in the 18th century. Ariogala and Raseiniai were given the Magdeburg rights and coats of arms by the last king of Lithuania and Poland Stanislaw August Poniatowski in 1792.
The Year 1831 The first flag of rebellion in Lithuania was raised in March 1831 in Raseiniai.
19th c. Raseiniai was one of the biggest cities in Lithuania with 12 thousand residents and two-thirds of them were the Jews.
The 1st Half of the 20th c. At the end of World War I on 13th November 1918 townspeople gathered to elect the local government and started rebuilding the devastated region. The Lithuania Independence monument, later called Žemaitis, symbolising the Samogitian strength and persistence in the fight for independence, was built in the former market square in 1934 (author V. Grybas).
The 2nd Half of the 20th c. At the end of World War II Raseiniai changed the “master” for several times and finally was burnt down and devastated. During the Soviet Occupation, the partisan resistance was extremely active in Raseiniai region. Not far from Ariogala, in Daugėliškiai forest, the headquarters of all Prisikėlimas military district was established in 1948. After declaring the Independence of Lithuania, the annual congress of the exiles and political prisoners takes place in the Valley of Songs in Ariogala.
21st c. Raseiniai district is widely known as the centre of pilgrims. The well-known town of Šiluva was visited by the Pope John Paul II in 1993. The 400th anniversary of the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary was held in 2008. On the occasion, the town was renovated and the statue of John Paul II was erected.
Šiluva was officially declared as the Capital of the Regional Culture of 2018.
Team of Public Institution “Atrask Raseinius”