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Zarasai is one of the small and cozy towns in Lithuania. It is situated on the borderline with Latvia, the population is 8000 people. It is considered to be one of the tourist centers in Lithuania. There are some picturesque lakes and beautiful small villages in the neighbourhood of Zarasai. The tribes of selons, who lived there long ago, were the first to name the place “Jeziorosy” (meaning “with lots of lakes”). Later this word has transformed into “Zarasai”. It was first mentioned in Chronicles in 1522.

The name of Zarasai has been changed for many times. In 1836 the Russian tsar Nikolai I visited this place and was delighted by its nature and architecture. Nikolai I ordered to give the town the name of Novy Aleksandrovsk. Then during the period of 1919-1929 (the first years of the Independence of Lithuania) the place was called Ezhernie. In 1930 the town was given its previous name Zarasai.

Zarasai appeared near the abbey which was founded on the island of the nearest lake Zarasas. This lake is the pearl of the whole Zarasas region. Nowadays the tourists organize different festivals and shows on the lakes.

Zarasai is interesting from the point of architecture. The centre of the town is the Selu Square that is known since 17th century. Five main streets come out of the square like the rays of the sun. This square was designed by an architect from the Russian Empire, that is why it looks like some squares in St. Petersburg. In 1993 the monument to the famous doctor-anthropologist Mr. Bukontas was opened on the Selu Square.

The tourists may stay in Zarasai for one day or more. If they decide to stay more than one day they will have a nice opportunity to see the oldest oak in Lithuania (it is 1500 years old), the wooden church of the 16th century with a unique wooden chancel in baroque style, the statue of Virgin Mary, a mythical “Puntucas” stone in the Legumai forest and lots of beautiful cottages near the town.


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