Jonava is a city in Kaunas District, Lithuania. It is the seat of the Rajongemeinde Jonava and in this an urban district. The core city of Jonava is located about 30 km northeast of the second largest Lithuanian city Kaunas, not far from the confluence of the Šventoji (German: Heiligenaa) into the Neris. 52,000 people live in the self-governing community, 35,000 of whom live in the core city of Jonava (2004). In 1893 3069 Jews (92% of the 3350 inhabitants) lived in the city. In 1941 the Jews of Jonavas made up 80% of the population.
The place was founded around 1740, when Dominink
Kossakowski (1711–1743) built a manor on the Neris and Varnaka for
himself and lived there. His father was called Jonas Mykolas
Kosakovskis (hence the Christian name, something like
"Johannstadt"). In 1750 Marijona Kosakovskienė built the first
wooden church, which later burned down. In 1750 the King of Poland
and Grand Duke of Lithuania Frederick August II granted Marija
Kosakovskienė a privilege to found the town of Jonava. After that,
the first city residents came to the place from neighboring
In 1777 there were 40 Jewish families and in 1784 there were 59 families. In 1793 the Catholic Church of St. James the Apostle was built in today's old town of Jonava, followed by the Jonava Monastery. In 1827 the Trinitarians were expelled from Jonava by the government. In 1832 the monastery was closed. Soldiers settled in the monastery until 1894. The city of Jonava was affected by the Polonization. In 1830 the church preached mostly Polish and only sometimes Lithuanian. In 1836 the Jonava post office became an important point of transport near Kaunas in the then Tsarist Russian Empire.
In 1864 the place Jonava received the town charter. In 1893 the first mills were built on Varnutė. After the great fire in 1904, the monastery building was sold to the parish.
The timber industry and handicrafts developed in the city. Joiners, carpenters and joiners worked here. In 1912 a match factory was opened. In 1946 this factory became a furniture factory, which was converted into the Soviet Jonava Furniture Combine in 1958. In the 1970s, the combine was one of the largest companies in Lithuania and employed 1,100 people (1977).
In 1950 Jonava became the center of the Jonava Rajon of Soviet Lithuania. In the Soviet era, the Jonava District People's Court was established, which is now subordinate to the Kaunas District Court.
In 1996 the new city coat of arms was confirmed by the Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas.