Kėdainiai is a city in the center of Lithuania on the banks of the Nevėžis River. The core city is the administrative seat of the Rajongemeinde of the same name and in the same an urban district. The place was first mentioned in 1372 and was called a city in the 15th century. The town charter was officially granted in 1590 as Magdeburg law. The city was the center of the Reformation in Lithuania. There is still a Protestant church here, which is rare in the consistently Catholic Lithuania.
Kėdainiai is considered one of the oldest urban
settlements in Lithuania. The place is mentioned for the first time
in 1372 in the Livonian Chronicle of Hermann von Wartberg. The place
was owned early on by the powerful and widely ramified Radziwiłł
family, some of whom converted to the Calvinist faith during the
Reformation. This led to the settlement of Scottish Protestants in
the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Radziwiłłs promoted the building of Reformed churches and schools. At the beginning of the Second Northern War, on October 20, 1655, leading Lithuanian nobles under the leadership of Janusz Radziwiłł and Bogusław Radziwiłł in the Treaty of Kėdainiai placed themselves under the "protection" of Sweden. This brief alliance between Lithuania and Sweden came to an end again in the Peace of Oliva in 1660.
With the third division of Poland, the place came to Russia in 1795. Between the world wars it belonged to the newly founded Republic of Lithuania. There was also a large Jewish community in the area since the Middle Ages, but most of it was destroyed in the Shoah during the German occupation during the Second World War. After the city came under Soviet rule again at the end of the war, a military airfield was established on site.
Since the declaration of independence in 1918, the place belongs to Lithuania.
In 1993 the Kėdainiai College was established.
The old town is well preserved and worth seeing. There are several castles and mansions of the Lithuanian nobility in the city, which are now mostly used as public buildings. One of the few minarets in Lithuania is located near the train station.
Smilgos Street Synagogue