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Lithuania - Subdivisions

Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
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Lithuania is divided in two territorial administrative levels: the counties and the municipalities. The counties have a governor which represent the state on a regional level. Counties are divided in municipalities. The municipalities are units of local-governement. These are formed with residential areas (towns, small towns and villages). There are two sort of municipalities: cities and districts. According to the Law on the Lithuanian state flag (26/06/1991), article 5 says that "the order of approval and use of historical or new sample flags of towns [read: cities] and districts shall be established by laws." The article 29 of the Law on local self-government (7/7/1994) gives some clues: "The coat of arms of the administrative centre of a municipality shall be considered the coat of arms of the respective local authority. (...) The local authority coat of arms shall be used on the flag of the municipality, seals of local self-government institutions, local authority administration, its divisions and officers, insignia of mayors, document forms and signs. (amended 14 march 1996).So we have here an example, the coat of arms and the flag of the town of Prienai is at the same time the coat of arms and the flag of the Prienai Region Municipality.
Some things are unclear in this situation. It exists some municipalities, districts, which capital is another municipalty, a city. That is the case of Vilnius district which capital is Vilnius city, and also the cases of Alytus, Kaunas, Mariampole, Panevežys, Siauliai.Only the case of Klaipeda is clear, because the capital of the district of Klaipeda is Gargždaiand not the municipality of Klaipeda which is located in the district.
I have seen at the CEBED in Belgium two photo of flags for Vilnius. Both were the same, except that one showed the greater coat of arms of the city, the other the shield only. I might think the one with the shield only is for the district and the other one for the city. The flag of Memel/Klaipeda we have discussed some times ago (yellow over red
with the coat of arms on the yellow stripe) is certainly the flag of the city of Klaipeda now.
Pascal Vagnat, 22 October 1998

Currently there are three sort of municipalities: cities, districts and small local authorities (called "savivaldybe" - "a self-ruling one"), because some districts were splited to smaller municipalities. It's true that "The coat of arms of the administrative centre of a municipality shall be considered the coat of arms of the respective local authority." but only if the municipality doesn't have its own coat of arms. Currently municipalities of Trakai and Panevežys districts have got official coat of arm, different from coat of arm of their administrative centres. The Marijampole district exists no more, it is divided between Marijampole city and Kalvarija and Kazlu Ruda small local authorities.
Virginijus Misiunas, 15 May 2001

According to the Law on the Territorial Administrative Units of the Republic of Lithuania and their Boundaries, 19th July 1994, Nr.I-558, Vilnius; Chapter 2 - Administrative Division of the Territory of the Republic of Lithuania; Article 5 - The Counties of the Republic of Lithuania and their Territories, (full text - English version: <>, Lithuanian version <>) there shall be the following counties in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania:
1. Alytus county - county centre is Alytus city.
2. Kaunas County - county centre is Kaunas city.
3. Klaipeda county - county centre is Klaipeda city.
4. Marijampole county - county centre is Marijampole city.
5. Panevežys county - county centre is Panevežys city.
6. Siauliai county - county centre is Siauliai city.
7. Taurage county - county centre is Taurage city.
8. Telsiai county - county centre is Telsiai city.
9. Utena county - county centre is Utena city.
10. Vilnius County - county centre is Vilnius city.

Territories of counties includes the municipal territories:
1. Alytus county - municipality of Alytus City (municipality centre is Alytus city), municipality of Alytus District (municipality centre is Alytus city), municipality of Druskininkai City (municipality centre is Druskininkai city), municipality of Lazdijai District (municipality centre is Lazdijai city), municipality of Varena District (municipality centre is Varena city).
2. Kaunas County - municipality of Birstonas city (municipality centre is Birstonas city), municipality of Jonava district (municipality centre is Jonava city), municipality of Kaisiadorys district (municipality centre is Kaisiadorys city), municipality of Kaunas City (municipality centre is Kaunas city), municipality of Kaunas district (municipality centre is Kaunas city), municipality of Kedainiai district (municipality centre is Kedainiai City), municipality of Prienai District (municipality centre is Prienai city), municipality of Raseiniai district (municipality centre is Raseiniai city).
3. Klaipeda county - municipality of Klaipeda district (municipality centre is Klaipeda city), municipality of Klaipeda City (municipality centre is Klaipeda city), municipality of Kretinga district (municipality centre is Kretinga city), municipality of Neringa (municipality centre is Nida city), municipality of Palanga City (municipality centre is Palanga city), municipality of Skuodas District (municipality centre is Skuodas city), municipality of Silute district (municipality centre is Silute city).
4. Marijampole county - municipality of Kalvarija city (municipality centre is Kalvarija city), municipality of Kazlu Ruda City (municipality centre is Kazlu Ruda city), municipality of Marijampole City (municipality centre is Marijampole city), municipality of Sakiai district (municipality centre is Sakiai city), municipality of Vilkaviskis district (municipality centre is
Vilkaviskis city).
5. Panevežys county - municipality of Birzai district (municipality centre is Birzai city), municipality of Kupiskis district (municipality centre is Kupiskis city), municipality of Panevežys City (municipality centre is Panevežys city), municipality of Panevežys District (municipality centre is Panevežys city), municipality of Pasvalys district (municipality centre is Pasvalys city), municipality of Rokiskis district (municipality centre is Rokiskis City).
6. Siauliai county - municipality of Joniskis district (municipality centre is Joniskis city), municipality of Kelme district (municipality centre is Kelme city), municipality of Pakruojis district (municipality centre is Pakruojis city), municipality of Akmene district (municipality centre is Naujoji Akmene city), municipality of Radviliskis district (municipality centre is Radviliskis city), municipality of Siauliai City (municipality centre is Siauliai city), municipality of Siauliai District (municipality centre is Siauliai city).
7. Taurage county - Jurbarkas district (municipality centre is Jurbarkas city), Pagegiai city (municipality centre is Pagegiai city), Silale district (municipality centre is Silale city), Taurage district (municipality centre is Taurage city).
8. Telsiai county - municipality of Mazeikiai district (municipality centre is Mazeikiai city), municipality of Plunge district (municipality centre is Plunge city), municipality of Rietavas city (municipality centre is Rietavas city), municipality of Telsiai district (municipality centre is Telsiai city).
9. Utena county - municipality of Anyksciai district (municipality centre is Anyksciai city), municipality of Ignalina District (municipality centre is Ignalina city), municipality of Moletai district (municipality centre is Moletai city), municipality of Utena district (municipality centre is Utena city), municipality of Visaginas City (municipality centre is Visaginas city), municipality of Zarasai district (municipality centre is Zarasai City).
10. Vilnius County - municipality of Elektrenai City (municipality centre is Elektrenai city), municipality of Salcininkai district (municipality centre is Salcininkai city), municipality of Sirvintos district (municipality centre is Sirvintos city), municipality of Svencionys district (municipality centre is Svenconys city), municipality of Trakai District (municipality centre is Trakai city), municipality of Ukmerge district (municipality centre is Ukmerge city), municipality of Vilnius City (municipality centre is Vilnius city), municipality of Vilnius District (municipality centre is Vilnius city).
Audrius, 27 December 2002

There is no standardized uniform in the design of municipal flags. All variants of the proportions of the municipal flags are possible. The Lithuanian vexillology has big similarity with the Polish vexillology. The common historical tradition is also the basis. All county flags and Coat of Arms adopted on 2004 by Heraldic Commission of Lithuanian Department of Interior. Flag and Coat of Arms of Taurages County are yet unknown.
Jens Pattke, 25 February 2005

In 2010 the 10 Counties (Apskritis) in Lithuania were abolished, and therefore their symbols became obsolete. According to latest news, those symbols are now authorized to be used by the 10 Regional Development Councils, but those are not part of the administrative-territorial division system. Since 2010, District Municipalities (Rajono Savivaldybe) and City Municipalities (Miesto Savivaldybe) are first level divisions in ATD System of Lithuania. They are sub-divided in Elderships (Seniunija), and these into Sub-Elderships (Seniunaitija), and that conclude the three-level ATD System of Lithuania. In late 1990s and early 2000s began thinking about more successful involvement of the public opinion in the work of the local government bodies. That leads to creation of non-governmental organizations as form of direct citizens' self-governance called Local Community (Bendruomene), which are not part of the ATD System, but parallel with it and have advisory role. Here is part of the law that describe their role in the State and Society: THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS THE LAW 2018 December 13 No. XIII-1774 Vilnius SECTION ONE GENERAL PROVISIONS Article 1 . Purpose and purpose of the law 1 . The purpose of this law is to create a favorable environment for community organizations, to ensure appropriate conditions for their activities and development as an important part of civil society and local government. 2 . This law establishes the principles of formation and implementation of the development policy of community organizations, the conditions of co-operation of state and municipal institutions and establishments with community organizations and other activities of community organizations that promote the development of community organizations. 3 . This law does not regulate the establishment, management, reorganization, reorganization and liquidation of community organizations. Article 2 . The basic concepts of this law 1 . A community organization is an association whose founders and members are residents of the community (part of it or several residential areas) (their representatives) and whose purpose is to pursue public interests related to living in the neighborhood through initiatives. 2 . The policy of development of community organizations is a purposeful activity that defines the conditions for the operation of community organizations, promotes the development of these organizations in the country and ensures cooperation of state and municipal institutions and institutions with community organizations strengthening civil society. 3 . Residential community - residents of a municipal residential area (part of it or several residential areas) connected to the general needs and interests of living in the neighborhood and acting on these needs and interests through various forms of direct participation (meeting, public hearing, survey, activities through their representatives, community organizations etc.). 4 . The National Council of Community Organizations is a collegial advisory body operating on a public basis, formed in accordance with the procedure established by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania by delegated representatives of state institutions, agencies, the Association of Lithuanian Municipalities, the Association of Lithuanian Municipal Elders and the national umbrella community organization. 5 . National umbrella community organization - an association uniting more than half of the community organizations operating in the Republic of Lithuania. 6 . The Council of Municipal Community Organizations is a collegial advisory institution operating on a public basis, formed in accordance with the established procedure from the delegated representatives of municipal institutions and establishments and community organizations in accordance with the principle of parity. These Local Communities are now created in many various forms: in the Cities, in Towns, in Villages, or in parts of the Cities, or as union of Villages - Town Community, Village Community, Neighborhood Community etc. Sometimes these local communities are using the same symbols as the local government, but in most cases they are using their own flags and emblems. Places: From the geographical-statistical point of view, there are three types of settlements in Lithuania - City (Miesto), Borough (Miestelis), and Village (Kaimas). For the FOTW purposes and to not mix up places, I rename Cities from administrative-territorial aspect - City for cities that are independent i.e. not part of the districts, and Town for cities that are part of the districts. Flags: When the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission is granting flags, they appeared in two forms: 1x2 as flag for everyday use and 1x1 as standard for the governing body. In the same letter are given the coat of arms and the seal, and sometimes the seal for the local community. Flags are sometimes bearers of the coat of arms, and sometimes are banners of arms. Flags of the local communities are very different, as there are no restrictions for them. Some are like children drawings, and some are very good.
Valentin Poposki, 28 April 2022

Subdivisions Represented in FOTW



Coats of Arms

I located a lot of LT small images - Coats of Arms ,banners (?) and more at <>.
Dov Gutterman, 12 September 1999 and Audrius Slapsinskas, 24 June 2003

In fact, there are only CoA's of communes of Lithuania. What look like "banners" in this site are in fact CoA's with a shield dating back to the USSR period. The Lithuanian Presidential commission have suppressed those shields and replaced them with more "round" shields. The only flag present here is the Lithuanian flag. There are flags for the communes and certainly for districts, as the law allows this.
Pascal Vagnat, 13 September 1999

Pascal Vagnat reports in the German vexillology list about two volumes of "The Heraldry of Lithuania", published by Baltos Lankos. The first volume appeared recently and showed mostly municipal arms, but also some districts' arms, the State arms, the State flag and the Presidential flag with many explanations about them. All illustrations in colour, texts in Lithuanian and English. Volume two is scheduled for next year, with more municipal arms and also municipal flags.
I found the book mentioned in the Heraldica website: <> as Edmundas Rimsa, The Heraldry of Lithuania I, Vilnius 1998. Also in this website about Baltos Lankos publishers: <>. The book has 192 pages, hardbound, ISBN 3-929255-54-5, price DM40 (approx. $18). Elsewhere I found that the book was published by the Lithuanian Presidential Commission on Heraldry.
Santiago Dotor, 8 June 2001

The Colour "Purpure" in Lithuanian Arms and Flags

In all descriptions of Lithuanian arms and flags the word "purpure" is used for the colour that is (for my eye) closer to "sanguine" of Western heraldry. I don't know the reason but just transfer the meaning of official the descriptions.
Most likely, this is a cultural difference: the Western "purple" is called "violet" here, and "purpure" means "dark red".
If this is not true, then I suspect some problems with the digitization of pictures in the publishing house, rather than problems with the quality of paint: the book is released using very good materials, and this "ambiguity" is repeated in books of different years. But any other explanation is also possible, even that Lithuanian Heraldry Commission has published exactly what it intended to, but my seeing of colour is lying. I have found (in the law on the Presidential Flag) the Pantone code that the Commission uses for the description of purpure: 19-1664 TP.
Virginijus Misiunas, 26 January 2010