Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the centre of a county in Trakai Municipality of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. In the Russian Empire it was the capital of the Kaunas Governorate from 1843 to 1915. It became the only temporary capital city in Europe during the interwar period. Now it is the capital of Kaunas County, the seat of the Kaunas city municipality and the Kaunas District Municipality. It is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kaunas. Kaunas is located at the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers, the Nemunas and the Neris, and near the Kaunas Reservoir, the largest body of water entirely in Lithuania.
The oldest part of Kaunas city is the Old Town located to the east of the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers. The formation of the new rectangular structure of the New Town started in Kaunas since 1847. The construction of the Kaunas Railway Tunnel and Railway Bridge across the Nemunas river helped move goods from the eastern part of Russian Empire west to the German Empire and Kaunas grew rapidly in the second part of the 19th century. The oldest part of Kaunas was connected with Žaliakalnis neighbourhood in 1889. The city increased once more when it was connected by bridges with Aleksotas and Vilijampolė districts in the 1920s.
Kaunas is a large center of industry, trade and services in Lithuania. The most developed industries in Kaunas are amongst the food and beverage industries, textile and light industries, chemical industry, publishing and processing, pharmaceuticals, metal industry, wood processing and furniture industry. Recently information technology and electronics have become an important area of business activities in Kaunas. The city also has large construction industry, including commercial, housing and road construction.
Primary foreign investors in Kaunas are companies from the United States, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, and Russia. Head offices of several major International and Lithuanian companies are located in Kaunas, including "Kraft Foods Lietuva", largest Generic Pharmaceuticals producer in Lithuania "Sanitas", producer of sportswear AB "Audimas", one of the largest construction companies "YIT Kausta", JSC "Senukai", largest producer in Lithuania of strong alcoholic drinks JSC "Stumbras", Finnish capital brewery JSC "Ragutis", JSC "Fazer Gardesis", JSC "Stora Enso Packaging", producer of pharmaceuticals, and the only producer of homoeopathic medicines in Lithuania JSC "Aconitum". Due to its geographic location, Kaunas is considered one of the biggest logistics centres in Lithuania. The largest wholesale, distribution and logistics company in Lithuania and Latvia JSC "Sanitex", as well as a subsidiary of material handling and logistics company Dematic in the Baltics have been operated in Kaunas. Currently, the feasibility study for Kaunas Public Logistics Centre is being prepared by the national state-owned railway company Lithuanian Railways. The "Margasmiltė" company currently has been working on a project that concerns exploitation of Pagiriai anhydrite deposit. The project includes mining of anhydrite, a mine with underground warehouses, building the overground transport terminal, as well as an administrative building. The Pagiriai anhydrite deposit is located 10.5 km (6.5 mi) south from the downtown of Kaunas, at a 2.2 km (1.4 mi) distance to the southwest from the Garliava town. The resources of thoroughly explored anhydrite in the Pagiriai deposit amount to 81.5 million tons.