Many Europeans believe that Lithuania is a country whose inhabitants play basketball all the time. In some ways, they are, of course, right, given the achievements of the Lithuanian national basketball team. However, Lithuania is interesting for tourists not only for its basketball traditions. This ancient country has a large number of different attractions, including beautiful medieval fortresses and castles. In addition, Lithuania has excellent balneological and beach resorts on the Baltic Sea.
Geography of Lithuania
Lithuania is located in the Baltic States, in Northern Europe. In the north, Lithuania borders on Latvia, in the south – on Poland, in the east and south – on Belarus, and in the southwest – on the Kaliningrad region of Russia. The total area of this country is 65,200 sq. km., and the total length of the border is 1,762 km.
33% of the territory of Lithuania is occupied by forests. The landscape of Lithuania is an alternation of lowlands and uplands. The highest point in the country is Aukštojas Hill, which is only 294 meters high.
There are a lot of lakes in Lithuania, the largest of them is Druksiai, located in the southeast of the country. As for the rivers in Lithuania, the largest of them is the Neman.
According to itypejob.com, the capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, which is now home to about 550 thousand people. Historians believe that the city of Vilnius was founded in the 13th century, although a human settlement existed on this site one thousand years ago.
The official language in Lithuania is Lithuanian, which belongs to the Baltic group of languages.
About 17% of Lithuania’s population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. Another 4% of Lithuanians are Lutherans (Protestants).
State structure of Lithuania
According to computerminus.com, Lithuania is a parliamentary republic, headed by the President, who is elected by direct universal suffrage for a 5-year term.
The Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) consists of 141 deputies who are elected for a 4-year term. The executive power in Lithuania belongs to the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers.
Climate and weather
The climate in Lithuania is continental maritime. The Lithuanian climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea. On the coast of Lithuania, the average air temperature in January is -2.5C, and in July – +16C. In Vilnius, in January, the average air temperature is -6C, and in July – +16C.
The average annual rainfall on the coast of Lithuania is 800 mm.
Sea in Lithuania
The length of the Lithuanian coast of the Baltic Sea is 99 kilometers. The temperature of the Baltic Sea near the Lithuanian coast in summer reaches +17C, but in the bays the water warms up better in summer.
Rivers and lakes
There are a lot of lakes in Lithuania (to be more precise, 2,834 lakes, whose area is more than 0.5 hectares), the largest of them is Druksiai, located in the southeast of the country. As for the rivers in Lithuania, the largest of them is the Neman. In total, there are 816 rivers in Lithuania with a length of more than 10 kilometers.
History of Lithuania
People appeared on the territory of modern Lithuania about 11 thousand years ago. The Baltic tribes formed in 3-2 millennium BC. The first written mention of Lithuania is in the German historical chronicle “Annals of Quedlinburg” under the year 1009.
Mindovg, who was crowned in 1253, is considered the first king of Lithuania. After his death in 1263, pagan Lithuania was subjected to crusades by German crusaders.
By the end of the XIV century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania already included part of the territory of Belarus, Russia and Poland. In 1410, the Polish-Lithuanian army, which included several Russian squads, defeated the Teutonic Order in the Battle of Grunwald.
In 1569, the Union of Lublin was concluded between Lithuania and Poland, as a result of which the Polish-Lithuanian state was formed.
In 1655-1661 and in 1700-1721 the territory of Lithuania was invaded by Swedish troops.
As a result of the three divisions of the Commonwealth, Lithuania fell under the rule of the Russian Empire. Due to the uprisings of 1831 and 1863, the Russian Empire carried out Russification in Lithuania – Lithuanian newspapers, magazines were banned, and Lithuanian cultural and educational institutions were closed.
Lithuanian independence was proclaimed in February 1918, after the First World War. After some time, Vilnius was captured by Poland for many years, and Klaipeda by Germany.
In June 1940, the Soviet Union brought its troops into Lithuania, and thus Lithuania became part of the USSR. During World War II, Lithuania was occupied by German troops, but in 1944 the USSR managed to liberate it.
In March 1990, Lithuania seceded from the USSR and declared its independence. In September 1991, Lithuania was admitted to the UN, and in 2004 to the European Union and NATO.
At the end of the 20th century, the independence of Lithuania was restored due to the fact that the Lithuanians retained their national identity, their traditions and customs.
The most popular holidays among Lithuanians are New Year, Three Kings Day, Restoration of Independence Day, Easter, Midsummer Day, Mindaugas Coronation Day, Sea Festival, All Saints Day and Christmas.
Every five years Vilnius hosts a grandiose folk festival of music and dance, which attracts more than 30,000 Lithuanian dancers and singers from all over the world. The first song festival in Vilnius took place in 1924.
In general, in Lithuania music and dance folk festivals are held every summer, in different cities.
The cuisine of Lithuania has much in common with the cuisines of Eastern European countries, including Russia, Belarus and Poland. Also, German culinary traditions had a great influence on Lithuanian cuisine. However, Lithuanian cuisine is very distinctive. Typical products in Lithuania are meat, potatoes, beets, dairy products, mushrooms, and fish in coastal areas.
Tourists in Lithuania are recommended to try the following local traditional dishes:
- “šaltibarščiai” – cold beetroot soup;
- “kugelis” – potato casserole;
- “arba zrazai” – fried beef;
- “koldūnai” – Lithuanian dumplings;
- “pączki” – donuts;
- “vėdarai” – potato sausages.
In Lithuania, the traditional non-alcoholic drink is kvass. As for alcoholic Lithuanian drinks, these are beer, vodka and various liquors. By the way, now there are more than 80 large and small breweries in Lithuania. Only in Lithuania you can try such a unique beer snack as garlic bread, smoked cheese and smoked pork ears.
Landmarks of Lithuania
The history of Lithuania has several hundred centuries. During this time, a large number of churches, monasteries, castles and other monuments of history and architecture were built in the country. Now there are more than 50 museums in small Lithuania. Tourists in Lithuania we recommend to see:
- curonian spit
- Church of St. Anne in Vilnius
- Gediminas’ Tower, built in 1230
- Trakai castle
- Aukstaitija National Park
- Gate of Dawn in Vilnius
- Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Kaunas
- Kaunas Castle
- Pažaislis Monastery in Kaunas
- Artillery bastion in Vilnius
Cities and resorts
The largest Lithuanian cities are Kaunas, Klaipeda, and, of course, Vilnius.
In Lithuania, on the Baltic Sea, there are several good beach resorts with sandy beaches. The beach season in Lithuania starts in mid-May and lasts until mid-September. The most popular Lithuanian beach resorts are Neringa, Klaipeda and Palanga.
In recent years, more and more tourists come to Lithuania to relax in local balneological and spa resorts. Most often, guests of Lithuanian balneological resorts are residents of Israel, Russia, Germany and the Scandinavian countries.
The most famous Lithuanian balneological and spa resorts are Druskininkai, Birštonas and, of course, Palanga.
Tourists from Lithuania usually bring handicrafts, amber items, dolls in traditional Lithuanian folk clothes, scarves, T-shirts and other jerseys with basketball symbols, embroidered napkins, towels, tablecloths, ceramics, Trejos Devynerios and Krupnika honey liqueurs.
Some banks are open on weekends.
Many shops are open on weekends.
To enter Lithuania, Ukrainians need to apply for a visa.
Currency of Lithuania
Despite the fact that Lithuania is a member of the European Union, this country still uses its own currency – the Lithuanian litas (its international designation is LTL). 1 litas = 100 cents. All major bank cards are widely accepted in Lithuania.
The amount of more than 10 thousand litas must be entered in the declaration. Customs regulations in Lithuania are the same as in other EU countries.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
The address of the Lithuanian Embassy in Ukraine:
Index – 01901, Kiev, st. Buslovskaya, 21
254-09-20 mail: [email protected]
Address of the Embassy of Ukraine in Lithuania:
Lithuania, Vilnius, Teatro str., 4
T: (8 10 3705)
212-15-36 email: [email protected]
One phone for all emergencies – 112
Fire Department – 011
Ambulance – 033
Police – 022
There is no difference with Ukrainian time. Those. if, for example, in Vilnius it is 09:00 am, then in Kyiv it is also 09:00 am.
Tipping in Lithuania is not very common, but if they want to thank for the service, they leave 10% of the bill for “tea”.
No special vaccinations are required to enter Lithuania. However, health insurance is required.
In Lithuania, pickpocketing is quite common, so tourists should keep a close eye on their belongings. However, violent crimes against foreign tourists are rare in this country. We recommend that tourists in Lithuania drink only bottled water.