Utena region boasts of fascinating hills and ravines, forests and pure lakes. There are 186 larger and smaller lakes here, including the deepest lake in Lithuania Tauragnas. Among them is one of the longest in the country - Aisetas Lake, and an attraction of nature lovers - Alaušas Lake.
Utena is one of the oldest cities in Lithuania, founded near the Norkūnai mound, which was mentioned in the chronicles of the Sword many times. In written sources, the letter of King Mindaugas, a wooden castle near Utenėlė stream was first mentioned in 1261. According to the legends, it was built by the legendary Duke Utenis, the founder of Utena. Unfortunately, the castle on the mound Narkūnai, did not survive, and Utena, after some centuries, was built in another place. After it recovered from the devastation by the Sword, it was built farther from the mound, on the confluence of the three rivers- Krašuona, Vieša and Utenėlė.
St. Petersburg- Warsaw tract, built in 1830-1835, was of great importance to the city. It was an impetus for Utena and the surrounding towns to grow. A big post station was built in Utena. The first-class horse post station with small cellars complex was built according to an exemplary project in tsarist times (1833 - 1835). Post station performed post services and military functions; travelers changed horses, there was also a lounge for travelers and those waiting for carriages. At that time, just after opening the highway, Russian Tsar Nicholas I with his son Alexander arrived to the post office in Utena. Later, Russian painter Ilya Repin, who visited artist Mariana Veriovkina in Vyžuonėlių manor, came to the post station. In 1843, famous French writer Honoré de Balzac, when traveling to St. Petersburg to the Polish aristocrat Evelin Rževska- Hanska, poet and Bishop Antanas Baranauskas changed horses at Utena post office. Post station cellar is well preserved; there is an art gallery. The buildings have been restored; there is an Art School functioning. Under implementation of the projects, a unique functional exhibit “diližanas” (a carriage pulled by horses) is displayed in the yard under a glass hood that greets visitors to the Art school. Semaphore, with a special set of codes and combinations, consisting of 196 semaphore alphabet signals has also been restored. The city is decorated with six statues built between the old and the new post offices.
Utena did not have the historical coat of arms. In 1996 September 26, Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas approved Utena city coat of arms by a decree. Artists A.Jonušaitė and A. Šaltenis created crests standard, R. Miknevičius reconstructed it and the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission approved it in 1996, September19. Horseshoe with a spark inside in many nations is considered to be providing happiness, protecting against disasters, it is associated with the positive aspects of the symbolism of the horse, symbolizing honorable past of Utena nation, its dynamic present and future. Utena coat of arms - a golden color- shining horseshoe - a symbol of happiness.
Currently, there are two Catholic churches in Utena - Ascension of Christ and the Divine Providence. Ascension of Christ stone church was built in 1882-1884. Next to the church, a high brick bell tower was built in 1876. The church boasts of a wooden, tin-coated sculpture of Archangel Michael, created by the famous god-carver Antanas Deveikis. The sculpture stands on the pediment of the church. In 2004, the cornerstone of the new Utena Divine Providence parish church was consecrated. Soon, the new church was built. It is unique in its untraditional contemporary architecture. Stained glass windows of the presbytery and the church, created by Professor Kazimieras Morkūnas, is one of the greatest treasures.
In the city center, Utenis Square, Utena Regional museum is located. It is the second oldest building in Utena, which was renovated in 2001. The museum has collections of archeology, numismatics, history-ethnography, photography, writing, art exhibits. Exhibitions of folk art, professional artists, photography, and students’ works are organized. Individuals are granted access to the museum collections of historical and ethnographic material. First Utena outdoor gallery is opened next to the museum, where famous Utena region artists and students exhibit their works. Outdoor gallery is an attraction for art lovers. It is special in a way that all the exhibits are well displayed.
Utena- is probably the only city in Lithuania that is settled in between two lakes- Dauniškis and Vyžuonaitis. Dauniškis Lake attracts not only the local residents but it also welcomes guests. The shores are well maintained, pedestrians can take a stroll along convenient paths, and there are recreation areas and playgrounds. Fascinating music concerts are organized on the outdoor stage by the lake. International folk music and dance festival “Ežerų sietuva” takes place there. In September, the city's birthday celebration takes place on the shores of the lake. It is a quiet and peaceful place for everyone- the young and the elderly- you can unwind here after work and go for a walk with your kids.
No matter which way you arrive to Utena- from Vilnius, Kaunas or Kupiškis- the earth seems to move from joy; floating fields greet you, one hill stretches as far as the other, several marshes cluster nearby, small forests and pine stands rustle peacefully, blue lake eyes are looking at us and whispering- Utena is a beautiful city …