Anykščiai Town History - Lithuanian Perspective The town of Anykščiai grew around an estate founded at the confluence of the Anykšta and Šventoji (pronounced Shven-toh-yee) rivers and is first mentioned in written records in 1442. Situated in northeastern Lithuania 30 km west of Utena, archeological evidence suggests that people lived in the vicinity from the late Neolithic and Bronze ages. The center of Anykščiai developed during the 15th through 18th centuries. Its location on the Šventoji River, connecting it to the Baltic Sea via the Neris River and Neman River, contributed to its development. It also lay on a land route between the cities of Vilnius and Riga. It acquired a town charter in 1516, first appeared on a map in about 1578, but soon lost its charter after falling into decay after a number of devastating fires. Only with the construction of a narrow gauge railway through Anykščiai in 1898 did it begin to recover.  Between 1899 and 1909, a large neo-gothic church rose to replace the old wooden one. In keeping with the status that the railway and new church conferred upon Anykščiai, town rights were restored by 1938.   History