On the left bank of the river Nevėžis, 24 km north of Kaunas, near the highway between Kaunas and Klaipėda, Babtai - one of the oldest settlements not only in the surroundings, but also in the country is situated.
“Babtai is a corner of amazing beauty, a drop of our history and culture in which human deeds, their sufferings and destinies shine and glow. What a good fact that these all things were collected, found their place here, that they are talking today and will talk tomorrow“, - wrote the poet Justinas Marcinkevičius in the visitors book of Babtai museum.
Back in 1792, the rights of free town were granted to Babtai (unfortunately, they were repealed in the same year). In the same year, the first Coat of Arms of the town depicting the Papal tiara and the Keys of Saint Peter was approved.
There are 39 villages in the territory of Babtai Eldership. Panevėžiukas is the second largest settlement in the eldership, other villages are significantly smaller.
According to the data of 2015, Babtai Eldership had a population of 4,700 people.
The stone working tools and weapons that were found in Babtai surroundings testify to the fact that people lived here very long time ago – in the Neolithic Age.
There are two mounds in Babtai surroundings, and there are many legends concerning them. One of them is Piepaliai Mound. As archaeological data show, the mound was most used in the first millennium.
Vikūnai Mound is situated about 2.5 km north of Panevėžiukas village, on the right bank of the river Aluona. It is one of the smallest mounds in Lithuania.
The grave field of Pakapiai, which is the archaeological monument of national importance, is situated 9 km of Babtai, by the road that leads from Babtai to Labūnava. In 1939, one grave of a burned man, remains of 32 horses with shrouds (the 10th to 13th centuries) were found here. The gorgeous saddlery and horse tack testify to the fact that blacksmiths of those times were great craftsmen and had skills of silver plating on iron and brass articles.
On the right bank of the river Nevėžis, 2 km of Babtai, is Babtynas Manor (today it is called Žemaitkiemis Manor). The palace of the manor was built in the 18th century. In the old days, it was owned by the noble Giedraičiai family, later - by the noble Šukšta, Prozor, Tiszkewicz families.
The Stabaunyčia hill overlooks a breathtaking panorama: water-meadows flooded with the waters of the river Nevėžis, Žemaitkiemis Manor, Piepaliai Mound. The monument in the honour of the legendary pilots - Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas – also stands here.
In 1936, design work for a powerful radio station began and its construction in Sitkūnai settlement was completed only in 1950. It was launched in 1951. On 13 January 1991, after Vilnius TV Tower was occupied by Soviet troops, this station was the one that broadcasted news to the rest of the worlds about events in Lithuania.
The Institute of Horticulture under Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry that operates in Babtai is the biggest employer of the locals. During the peak season, the institute employs around fifty locals. Fruits and vegetables are grown here in the area of around 400 hectares.
The biggest establishment in the eldership also has influence over the activities of the local residents. Many of them are engaged in growing of vegetables and seedlings, and also foster their beautiful homesteads. 13 farmers own large farms that are located in this eldership. These people care not only about themselves but also contribute to well-being of the region: they allocate funds for handling gravel roads, clean roads in winters.
Babtai Regional Museum, which is the branch of Kaunas District Museum, is an important place in terms of the local history.
Babtai Gymnasium cares for the young people of Babtai, whereas the outpatient clinic in the central part of the town and Babtai Family Medicine Centre care for the health of the locals.
Prepared according the book “Decades in the Area around Kaunas” (“Pakaunės dešimtmečiai“) (compiled by Petras Garnys).