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Birzai

Trip Planner Europe  /  Lithuania  /  Panevezys County  /  Birzai
Biržai is a city in northern Lithuania. Biržai is famous for its reconstructed Biržai Castle manor, and the whole region is renowned for its many traditional-recipe beer breweries.NamesThe name of the town is of Lithuanian origin and is spelled in different forms in other languages: Birsen (German), Birże (Polish), Birzhai (Russian), and בירז/Birz or Birzh (Yiddish).HistoryThe town's first written mention dates to 1455. The construction of Biržai Castle began in 1586, and the town was granted Magdeburg Rights in 1589. In 1575, as preparation for the castle's construction, a dam was built on the Agluona and Apaščia Rivers at their confluence, and the artificial Lake Širvėna, covering about 40km2, was created. It is the oldest surviving artificial lake in Lithuania. The town's history is closely associated with the Radziwiłł family (Lithuanian: Radvila). Jerzy Radziwiłł was the first noble to settle in the town. Later, after his daughter, Barbara Radziwiłł married the Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Sigismund II Augustus in 1547, the power and influence of the family grew immensely. The Radvila family established a Protestant church and school, and the city became a cultural center of the Protestant Reformation in Lithuania.
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