Eldeship center: Skaistgirys village
Larger settlements: Jurdaičiai, Maldeniai, Reibiniai
The Skaistgirys Eldership is in the north-western part of the Joniskis district with an area of 14,240 hectares, of which 2,729 hectares consist of national forest and 10,610 hectares of arable land. The Skaistgirys settlement, the centre of the Eldership is 17 km away from the district centre. Skaistgirys Eldership borders on the Latvian Republic and on the Elderships of Zagare, Rudiskiai, Satkunai and Joniskis.
The Eldership consists of 29 villages with a population of 2,913 residents. The territory is cut by the national road Joniskis – Naujoji Akmene as well as by the main oil pipeline. Outstanding natural features of the Eldership are as follows: the Vilkija hydrographic reserve, the Skaistgirys dolomite pit, the Buivydziai, Endriskai, Kemsiai, Maldeniai, Normanteliai and Ramoskiai lakes, and the Vilkija, Lanka, Kive and Vesetinis rivers.
The origin of Skaistgirys settlement’s name is said to go back to the age of paganism. It is formed of two words: bright and wood. According to local legend, it used to be a pagan holy place – a holy wood in old times. On the basis of the map of 1426 the Skaistgirys residents celebrated its 580th anniversary in 2006.
There is a post-office, a dispensary, two village medical dispensaries, a chemist’s, two village libraries, a secondary school, a primary school, a nursery school, two kindergartens, a cultural centre, a restaurant called “Drevė” (The Hollow), a funeral home and a fire station. A branch of the Joniskis Museum of History and Culture is established in Reibiniai village and dedicated to Matas Slanciauskas, a famous folk-lore specialist who used to live here.
Skaistgirys can be proud of its beautiful 10-hectare park and of St Jurgis (St.George’s) parish church. Its treasures are considered to be unique: sculptures representing Christ’s Stations of the Cross that have been restored and now are exhibited in the Joniskis Museum of History and Culture. Skaistgirys is famous for its strong theatrical traditions. The first plays were acted in 1914 in barns. There is now an amateur theatre which was revived in 1986.
The Eldership contains five agricultural communities, two wood processing enterprises, the joint-stock company “Skaistgirio skalda” (Skaistgirys road-metal) preparing gravels of different sizes.