Gargždai is the administrative centre of Klaipėda district. For the first time in historical sources Gargždai was mentioned in the name of Garisda in 1253; however, people have lived here since Brass Age. Gargždai Manor has been mentioned from the 16th century. Up to the 18th century the settlement belonged to the estate of Baron E. Rėnė (Rönne). In 1792 Magdeburg rights and the coat of arms were given to Gargždai. Since the 19th century Gargždai has been famous for being the frontier town and experienced its palmy days. The trade, crafts, cultural and religious life were developing at that time. During the First World War almost the whole center of the town burned away. During the occupation of the Soviets Gargždai developed a lot. In 1950 the town became the centre of Klaipėda district. In the beginning of the years of Independence the St. Archangel Michael Church of postmodern style was built. Nowadays Gargždai is reasonably pride of interesting history and constantly renewed face of the town.
Places to visit
Kalniškė (Gargždai) Hillfort
total. These 60 m wide defences show that formerly the hillfort hosted a mighty castle protected from the valley side bu steep slopes of 20 m high.
The hillfort has not benn researched. In 1998 archaeologist Povilas Tebelškis (1950-2003) performed only a minor survey at the foot settlement located on its western side. He found up to 0,95 m thick cultural layer containing hand-made and thrown pottery fragments and other minor artefacts dating back to the second half of the 1st millennium – early 2nd millennium A.D. These excavations validated conection of the hillfort with the Gargždai Castle (Latin – Garisda) mentioned in 1253. Maintenance of the name implies that since the 13th century its history had benn uninterrupted and inhabitants of the hillfort carrie the name of their castle to the town established in the 16th century.
However, the initial history of Gargždai has sunk into the depth of the hill as the chest of treasures which, according to the local place-legends, was swallowed by hillfortwhen a priest went by with the Sacred and burning candles in some Easter morning.
Minor Lithuanian Switzerland. The vivid surroundings of Lapiai, Lapiai mound with the legends overlooking on the shore of river Žvelsa, the Nightingales’ valley charms everyone coming here. In summer the tourists are attracted by canoe sailing by Minija, and in winter and spring – by extreme sailing by the river Žvelsa. The tourist hikes are organized along the hilly surroundings of Lapiai. The lovers of winter entertainments are welcomed on the hill of Utriai, where even three skiing routes of different levels are.