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Utena is one of the oldest towns in Lithuania. Its name is found in historical sources since 1261 – there is an act of Lithuanian king Mindaugas, where he mentions Tauragnai, Utena and Užpaliai.
Utena town name has a water-name origin; perhaps it comes from the name of river Utenaitė or Utenėlė, maybe the older river’s name variation was Utena, because even now there are the lakes and rivers named Utenas, Utenykštis and Utenėlė near by Utena town.
Utena was just a little town until the First World War. After that more than 400 houses were built here. At that time there were about 700 houses, 34 stone stores, 3 mills, sawmill, leather works and other little factories.



In 1921 and 1925 the layout projects for Utena town were made that scheduled its expansion in north Daugpilis-Kaunas road part. Soon the road was built up from both sides and became the main town street.
In 1924 the town started to expand, when it received the town rights. In 1939 town area was about 200 ha, and many villages were situated around it. About 7000 inhabitants were living then, and there were about 30 km of streets, mostly cobbly and with sidewalks. In 1928 a garden was grown in the town, and baths were built in Dauniškis lake.




During the Second World War more that a half of residential and other buildings were ruined and burned in Utena. The biggest constructions started in seventh-ninth decade. Aukštakalnis, Dauniškis, Vyturiai, Krašuona and Ąžuolija residential districts were built, also a hospital, hotel and four secondary schools. In 1974 a broad-gauge line was driven.


The gross companies rose, such as
“Utenos trikotažas”, “Utenos gėrimai”,
also meat and milk remaking and other enterprises, constructional
organizations. The new streets were driven and etc. At the moment there are over 60 stock companies, enterprises and shops operating in Utena.
In 1996 we solemnly celebrated a town anniversary of 735 years. Town, which had 53 yards in 1671, grew up. Number of its inhabitants in 1833 was 586, in 1886 – 2460, 1897 – 3250, 1923 – 4890, 1939 – about 7000, 1959 – 7158, 1970-1975 – 17000, 1980 – 24600, 1985 – 30200, 1999 – 36554 and in 2000 – 36100 inhabitants.

© Utenos A. ir M. Miškinių viešoji biblioteka
Utena. 2002