Panevezys (Panevėžys) is the largest city in central Lithuania and the fifth largest city of the country. It's at the junction of several principal roadways. The name of the settlement straddling the Nevezis was first mentioned in 1503 in a writing issued by the Lithuanian Grand Duke Alexander giving the domain to the priest of Ramygala. A memorial to Alexander was erected in the center of Panevezys on the occasion of the city's 500th anniversary. Its oldest extant building (Kranto gatve 21) served as the Upyte district court archive in 1614 and the venue for the area's first museum exhibit in 1925. The present-day local museum is at Vasario 16-ios gatve 23.
More History of Panevezys
The city acquired market and fair privileges from King John Casimir in 1661, but developed only at the end of the 19th century when it became a food processing center with mills, distilleries, sugar, dairy and soap making enterprises. Its sugar and preservation factories are designated industrial monuments. The narrow-gauge Panevezys-Švencioneliai railway line facilitated the transportation of natural resources and was in use until the end of the 20th century. A school for the nobility which was moved to Panevezys in 1840 was restructured into a gymnasium in 1858. The town acquired a teacher's seminary in 1872 and Naftal Feigenson's printing-house in 1880. In 1905 it had a four-year school for girls which eventually became the present-day V. Zemkalnis Gymnasium. The school's memorial museum is dedicated to the poet Salomeja Neris who taught here in 1934-1936. The country's first Lithuanian-teaching gymnasium,now named after Juozas Balcikonis, opened in Panevežys in 1915; teachers in this building included cultural activists Juozas Balcikonis, Aleksandras Dambrauskas, Jonas Jablonskis and Juozas Zikaras.
Present Day Panevezys
The present-day city center is in the old quarter and revolves around what is now called Laisves (Freedom) - formerly market - Square. In 1967 it acquired a new theatre for the city's renowned Juozas Miltinis theatre company. The adjacent Old Town has several buildings from the end of the 19th-beginning of the 20th century. Lining Respublikos Street are an art gallery, the city's oldest Lithuanian bookshop, a bank and the Juozas Balcikonis Gymnasium. Not far from Laisves Square is a park (formerly an old riverbed) with a pond, pathways, bridges and sculptures.
From the outside, the city's oldest Catholic sanctuary, the Church of the Holy Trinity is reminiscent of an Orthodox church. It was built by the Piarist monks in the first half of the 18th century, and returned to the Catholics in the 1920's. It was endowed to the care of the Marian Fathers in 1927, converted into an exhibition hall in the Soviet period, and returned to the Church in 1989. A parish church which began to be constructed in 1904 was adapted and consecrated at the neo-baroque Cathedral of Christ the King in 1930. The Panevežys diocese followed in 1926. Its ornate interior decor includes a statue of Christ the King under a canopy on the high altar, a composition of diocese church towers in the apse, and a painting depicting the victory of Lithuanian regiments led by St. Casimir at Polotsk in the presbytery.