Samylai Eldership, which is located southeast of Kaunas city, on the left coast of Kaunas Lagoon, is rich in archaeological sites. 4 mounds – 2 mounds of Samylai, Pakalniškiai Mound and Dubrava Mound, that remember ancient days, are situated in its territory.
The area of the eldership is 7,622.99 ha, 81.1% of them are forests, 16.7% - agricultural land, 0.1% - waters, and 2.1% - areas of other purpose. Šlienava village is the centre of the eldership. There are 8 villages in the eldership. Nearly 5,000 people live in these villages: Šlienava (1,927 residents), Girionys (668 residents), Vaišvydava (382 residents), Žiegždriai (229 residents), Gervėnupis (501 residents), Laumėnai (853 residents), Dubravai (180 residents), Samylai (201 residents).
The eldership is famous for conglomerates outcrop of Kalniškiai, Girionys park of landscape style with an area of 250 ha, Dubrava Reserve Area (200 ha of forest and raised bog, where any human activity has been prohibited already for 60 years), Dubrava arboretum (38 ha) that was founded in 1958. It contains more than thousand species of woody plants.
Amur cork trees that originate from China, Canadian maples, Ginkgo biloba trees grow in the territory of the eldership.
The natural monument - a hundred-year-old oak and pine tree that grow from one trunk – is in Dubrava forest.
Several cognitive paths are equipped for tourism and recreation purposes on the coast of Kaunas Lagoon from Pakalniškiai Mound to Žiegždriai.
The social and economic development of Samylai Eldership was determined by Kaunas Hydroelectric Power Plant that was built in 1959. After the river Nemunas was dammed, 35 villages were flooded, residents from more than 700 homesteads were evicted. In 1989, in memory of the flooded villages, the oak monument “The Blessing Christ“ (by folk artist Viktoras Žilinskas) was erected at the initiative of the residents near Pakalniškiai Mound, in the part of Vaišvydava village that now belongs to Kaunas City Municipality.
In around 1960, a settlement of future foresters, that by 1965 was called Girėnai, and later – Girionys, was established on the lands of the former Raguoliai and Pakalniškiai villages. In 1963, the palace of Lithuanian Forest Institute, that was established in Kaunas in 1950, and a complex of household and communal buildings were built here, and the Forestry Technical School, that was established in 1927 in Alytus, was moved to this place from Vilnius. After reorganizations, the Institute of Forestry under Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Kaunas Forestry and Environmental Engineering University of Applied Sciences, and Dubrava Experimental and Training Forest Enterprise operate in Girionys. Kaunas lagoon regional park directorate is located in Vaišvydava village. Several larger companies operate in the eldership: UAB “Lincasa“ in Samylai village, UAB “Paka“ in Žiegždriai village.
The establishments that operate in the eldership: Girionys police station, post office, nursery, Šlienava Lower Secondary School, the wooden Church of Visitation of Holy Virgin Mary in Šlienava (built in 1712, was moved from the bottom of the lagoon in 1958, the priest Antanas Mickevičius, the altarista priest Vytautas Vaičiūnas), Samylai Cultural Centre with library, Girionys outpatient clinic, medical post, Marios sector of the Republican Kaunas Hospital in Žiegždriai, pharmacy, Children's Day Centre “Užuovėja“ in Laumėnai village, several stores, homesteads of rural tourism. 59 societies of allotment gardens are situated in the territory of the eldership.
The ethnographic festival “Feet on the bottom of the lagoon“ is the event that every year unites the society of the eldership and of the locals. The festival is dedicated to remember the villages that once existed in the valley of the river Nemunas and in 1959 were buried by Kaunas Lagoon.