Lithuania

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The quick travel guide to Lithuania and Vilnius

Introduction

Lithuania is a small country in the Baltic region of northern Europe it is just slightly larger than Latvia to the north. Lithuania covers 65,200 sq km of land and has a population of around 3.4 million people. The Baltic Sea lies to the west, while to the north is Latvia, to the west is Belarus and to the south is Poland. The Russian territory of Kalingrad lies to the south west along the Baltic coast. The capital is Vilnius with a population of 578,000 - is situated in the east of the country. 

As is the case in other Baltic states there is a diverse mix of nationalities within Lithuania; Lithuanian 80% Russian 9% Polish 7% Belarussian 2%. Other large cities are Kaunas with 352,000 people and with Klaipeda 183,000. 

Lithuania became a full member of the EU in May 2004, it also signed the Schengen Agreement (open borders) in December 2007. In 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture and Lithuania celebrated the millennium of its name. The Lithuanian currency is the Litas (1 Litas = 100 centu)

 

Lithuania is a lowland country with southeast highlands there are around 2,800 lakes in the country which are popular for recreation and fishing. Lithuania's major warm-water port, Klaipeda, lies at the narrow mouth of the Curonian Lagoon (Lithuanian: Kuršiu marios), a shallow lagoon extending south to Kaliningrad. The main river, the Neman River, and some of its tributaries carry international shipping. The Lithuanian landscape has been smoothed by glaciers. The highest areas are the moraines in the western uplands and eastern highlands, with the maximum elevation being Aukštojas Hill at 294 metres. The terrain features numerous lakes, Lake Vištytis for example, and wetlands; a mixed forest zone covers nearly 33% of the country. 

The climate lies between maritime and continental, with wet, moderate winters and summers. According to one geographical computation method, Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, lies only a few kilometres south of the geographical centre of Europe.  cold winter - down to -40c, warm summers- up to 35c

In the 14th century, Lithuania was one of the largest country in Europe: present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. With the Lublin Union of 1569, Poland and Lithuania formed a new state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighbouring countries systematically dismantled it between 1772 to 1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory. In the aftermath of World War I, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, declaring the re-establishment of a sovereign state. Starting in 1940, Lithuania was occupied first by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end in 1944 and the Nazis retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence. Present day Lithuania is a semi presidential republic. Administratively it is divided into ten counties.

 

Location Map of Lithuania

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Interactive Map of Lithuania

 
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