Jonava (pronunciation (help·info) Yiddish: יאָנאווא, romanized: Yonava Polish: Janów, German: Janau) is the ninth largest city in Lithuania with a population of ca 30,000.
It is located in Kaunas County in central Lithuania, 30 km (19 mi) north east of Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania. It is served by Kaunas International Airport. Achema, the largest fertilizer factory in the Baltic states, is located nearby. The city is sometimes called "the capital of midsummer holiday" (lt. – Joninės).
Jonava was officially established as a city in the 18th century during the times of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1750, the first wooden church was built in Jonava. In 1778, a beer brewery was operating in the town. Around 1812, Napoleon and his army invaded the town and its surrounding villages. In 1923, Jonava was officially recognised as a city-status settlement and in 1950 it became the centre of the municipality.
The city had a large Jewish population before World War II - in 1893 92% of the population was Jewish and in 1941 it was 80%. In 1932 there were 250 shops owned by Jewish families, a Jewish bank, 7 synagogues and a Jewish school. During World War II Jonava was attacked by Nazi Germany. A Christian church and five Jewish synagogues were destroyed.
The Jews of the city were killed in two massacres, in August and September 1941. A total of 2,108 people were executed by an Einsatzgruppen of Germans and Lithuanian Self-Defence Units. 200 remaining Jews were kept prisoners at the Kaunas ghetto.
After the war, the city built the largest fertilizer factory in the Baltic states and Jonava become one of the 4 biggest industrial cities in Lithuania.
An explosion occurred in the chemical fertilizers factory on 20 March 1989, causing a leakage of nearly 7,500 tonnes of liquid ammonia. The catastrophe developed further into a fire within the nitrophosphate facility and fertilizer storehouses polluting the atmosphere with products of their combustion, such as nitrous oxide and chlorine. The toxic cloud drifted towards Ukmergė, Širvintos and Kėdainiai. The concentration of ammonia surpassed the permissible level by a factor of 150 in Upninkai, at 10 km from the disaster site. One day after the accident, a toxic cloud 7 km wide and 50 km long was recorded between Jonava and Kėdainiai. Seven people died during the fire and leakage of ammonia immediately afterward, 29 people became handicapped, and a large number of people suffered from acute respiratory and cardiac attacks. The true extend of damages and health impact from the event is however unknown. What is known is that exposure to ammonia prenatally, especially at a young age can cause serious brain damage.
Jonava is divided into 13 city regions:
- Geležinkelio stotis
The city has its own "physical culture and sports center" with stadium, swimming pool and indoor arena. It has already been announced that the city is going to build a new large indoor arena "BC Jonava".
Jonava has 2 soccer teams
- FK Jonava is playing in the A Lyga – First Football Division of Lithuania
- FK Jonava B - second team of FK Jonava, playing in the Third Division of Lithuania
The marathon runners sport club Maratonas won 4 medals at Vilnius Marathon.
Jonava has a basketball team, founded in 1969; Jonava SK Malsta playing in the National Basketball League (Nacionalinė Krepšinio Lyga). There is also a women's basketball team called BC Jonava which won bronze medals in the women's Second Basketball Division (Nacionalinė moterų krepšinio lyga).
Jonava has a strong women's volleyball team Achema-KKSC that playing in the highest league A Grupė. In 2010 Jonava held the international "Alfredas Ogonauskas Memorial Volleyball Championship".
Jonava also hosts some less regular competitions. During the traditional midsummer holiday there was "Jonas's Republic President Cup" of Rally Slalom events. In summer seasons there are some occasional cycling tournaments or cross country competitions.
Twin towns — sister cities
Jonava is twinned with:
- Bagrationovsk, Russia
- Děčín, Czech Republic
- Jõgeva, Estonia
- Kędzierzyn-Koźle, Poland
- Riihimäki, Finland
- Polotsk, Belarus
- Pucioasa, Romania
- Smila, Ukraine
- Vadul lui Vodă, Moldova
- Zugdidi, Georgia
- Linas Balčiūnas, (born 1978), olympic cyclist
- Arnoldas Burkovskis (born 1967), manager
- Vydas Dolinskas, (born 1970), art scientist
- Israel Davidson (1870-1939), writer
- Dominykas Galkevičius (born 1986), footballer
- S. J. Goldsmith (1915–1995), journalist and editor
- Laurynas Gucevičius, architect
- Andrius Janukonis, (born 1971), businessman
- Grigorijus Kanovičius, (born 1929), Jewish writer
- Dainius Kreivys, (born 1970), politician, Minister of Economy
- Juozapas Antanas Kosakovskis, general, Napoleon aide
- Darius Maskoliūnas, (born 1971), basketball player
- Abra Abrahamas Meirsonas, Harvard professor of neurosurgery
- Janina Miščiukaitė (1948–2008), singer
- Abraham Myerson, (1881-1948), neurologist, psychiatric, sociologist
- Jeronimas Ralys (1876–1921), translator and medic
- Ričardas Tamulis, boxer
- Artūras Zuokas, (born 1968), businessman, former Vilnius mayor