Aukštaitija is the name of one of five ethnographic regions of Lithuania
Regions of Lithuania
Lithuania can be divided into historical and cultural regions . The exact borders are not fully clear, as the regions are not official political or administrative units. They are delimited by culture, such as country traditions, traditional lifestyle, songs, tales, etc. To some extent regions...

. The name comes from the relatively high elevation of the region, particularly the eastern parts.


Aukštaitija is in the northeast part of Lithuania and also encompasses a small part of Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

 and Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

. The largest city and, though not in any strict political sense, the considered capital of the region is Panevėžys
Panevėžys see also other names, is the fifth largest city in Lithuania. As of 2008, it occupied 50 square kilometers with 113,653 inhabitants. The largest multifunctional arena in Panevėžys is the Cido Arena...

, which has over 100,000 inhabitants. The largest cities (by population; those over 20,000 inhabitants) are:
  • Panevėžys
    Panevėžys see also other names, is the fifth largest city in Lithuania. As of 2008, it occupied 50 square kilometers with 113,653 inhabitants. The largest multifunctional arena in Panevėžys is the Cido Arena...

     - 119,749 (considered to be capital)
  • Jonava
    Jonava is the ninth largest city in Lithuania with a population of ca 35,000.It is located in Kaunas County in central Lithuania, north east of Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania. It is served by Kaunas International Airport. The largest fertilizer factory in the Baltic states is...

     - 34,954
  • Utena - 33,860
  • Kėdainiai
    Kėdainiai is one of the oldest cities in Lithuania. It is located on the Nevėžis River. First mentioned in the 1372 Livonian Chronicle of Hermann de Wartberge, its population as of 2008 was 30,214. Its old town dates to the 17th century....

     - 32,048
  • Visaginas
    Visaginas is a city with municipal rights in eastern Lithuania, situated near the country's biggest lake, Drūkšiai. Its administrative boundaries are in the process of being defined. The Vilnius–Daugavpils railway runs alongside the town, providing convenient communication with Vilnius and...

     - 29,554 (note - this city was built by Soviets and is mainly inhabited by Russians and other Soviet nationalities, therefore it is part of this ethnographic region only geographically)
  • Ukmergė
    -Early history:Ukmergė was first mentioned as a settlement in 1333. It was essentially a wooden fortress that stood on a hill, near the confluence of the Vilkmergė River and the Šventoji River. Ukmergė was attacked by the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order in 1333, 1365, 1378, 1386, and even...

     - 28,759
  • Radviliškis
    Radviliškis is a city in the Radviliškis district municipality , Šiauliai County, Lithuania. Radviliškis has been the administrative center of the district since 1950, and is an important railway junction.-History:...

     - 20,339

The region is full of lakes, mainly in the eastern side.


Historically Aukštaitija had been correspondent to the Duchy of Lithuania
Duchy of Lithuania
Duchy of Lithuania was a state-territorial formation of ethnic Lithuanians, that existed from the 12th century until 1413. Most of the time it was a constituent part and a nucleus of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania...

 up to the 13th century. Its initial capital most likely was Kernavė
Kernavė was a medieval capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and today is a tourist attraction and an archeological site . It is located in the Širvintos district municipality located in southeast Lithuania...

. In the treaty of Gediminas of 1322, Aukštaitija is named terra Eustoythen ('land of Aukštaitijans'). Aukštaitija was mentioned as Austechia in Chronicon terrae Prussiae
Chronicon terrae Prussiae
Chronicon terrae Prussiae is a chronicle of the Teutonic Knights, by Peter of Dusburg, finished in 1326. The manuscript is the first major chronicle of the Teutonic Order in Prussia and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, completed some 100 years after the conquest of the crusaders into the Baltic region...

written around 1326. Politically, since the end of the 13th century, it comprised the Duchy of Vilnius/Lithuania and Duchy of Trakai
Trakai is a historic city and lake resort in Lithuania. It lies 28 km west of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Because of its proximity to Vilnius, Trakai is a popular tourist destination. Trakai is the administrative centre of Trakai district municipality. The town covers 11.52 km2 of...

, and perhaps was employed to refer to them both taken together. Since the 15th century, corresponding Trakai Voivodeship
Trakai Voivodeship
Trakai Voivodeship, Trakai Palatinate, or Troki Voivodeship , was a unit of administrative division and local government in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1413 until 1795.-History:...

 and Vilnius Voivodeship
Vilnius Voivodeship
The Vilnius Voivodeship was one of voivodeships in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, created in 1413, from the Duchy of Lithuania and neighbouring lands.- Geography and administrative division :...

 made up Aukštaitija, as a political and ethnically based unit, also known as Lithuania Propria.


The people mostly speak the Aukštaitian dialect of Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

. Under the new classification of dialects Lithuanian is divided into just two dialects, Aukštaitian and Samogitian
Samogitian can refer to:* Anything pertaining to Samogitia , the Lowlands of Lithuania* Samogitian dialect, a dialect of the Lithuanian language, sometimes regarded as a Baltic language...

 with all previous dialects being classified as subdialects. The Sudovian and Dzukian
Dzūkian dialect, known in academic works as Southern Aukštaitian dialect, is one of the three main sub-dialects of the Aukštaitian dialect of Lithuanian language. Dzūkian dialect is spoken in Dzūkija, southern Lithuania...

 dialects are also considered subdialects of Aukštaitian now, therefore the specific subdialect spoken in Aukštaitija is known as East Aukštaitian.

The region has Russian
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 and Belarusian
Belarusians ; are an East Slavic ethnic group who populate the majority of the Republic of Belarus. Introduced to the world as a new state in the early 1990s, the Republic of Belarus brought with it the notion of a re-emerging Belarusian ethnicity, drawn upon the lines of the Old Belarusian...

minorities in the east, dialects there therefore use more loan words from those languages. However the usage of dialects as in Lithuania in general, is decreasing.


The designs by R. Rinkunas of Aukstaitija flag and coat of arms was introduced to public in March 2007.
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