Lithuanian territory is flat, more rugged than that of the other two Baltic republics (Estonia and Latvia) and occupies a sector of the Baltorusian plain, designed in part by glacial erosion. Towards the East and South of the country, the monotony of the relief is interrupted by the presence of several hills that do not exceed 294 m in altitude (Juozapiné) and are separated from each other by more than 3 000 lakes, also of glacial origin, which they cover 1.5% of the territory.
The climate is moderately continental inland and becomes oceanic as you move towards the Baltic Sea coast. The winters are cold (average temperature of -4 ° C) and summers short and cool (17 ° C average). Summer rainfall in the west of the country reaches 930 mm per year and favors forest vegetation (conifers), which occupies a quarter of the Lithuanian surface; however, more than 20% of those forests they are damaged by environmental pollution. The meadows cover 22% of the territory and the swamps 6%; both complete the design of an essentially green landscape. During a good part of the year there are also precipitations in the form of snow that, together with the modest levels of temperature, provide a humid environment to the region.
The most important river is the Nemunas, which flows into the Baltic and, like its tributaries Neris, Dubysa and Nevedhis, remains frozen for three months of the year.
Flora and fauna
The country has a large variety of vegetation that thrives throughout the entire land. There are several species that are scattered. This large variety of vegetations includes such species as broad-leafed trees, dense woodlands, coniferous and evergreen trees, steppes, arctic and so on.
Some categories of bream, ruff, roach, perch, and many other species can be found in lakes and other bodies of water. Among the other red animals esteem, the elk, the rabbits, the foxes, the wolf, various varieties of dogs and birds.
The Lithuanian territory is politically divided into ten counties:
- Vilnius County
Since independence in 1991 from September, Lithuania has made steady progress in developing a market economy. Although agriculture dominated the economy before Soviet annexation in 1940, industry has become the main economic sector. The most important industries are those dedicated to food processing, shipyards and electrical machinery producers. Other outstanding productions are cement, textiles, household appliances and paper. Agriculture occupies about a quarter of the total workforce. Livestock and dairy production are the dominant agricultural activities. The main crops are cereals, potatoes, sugar beets and flax. Mineral resources are limited; include the gypsum and clay.
Lithuania has about 3,218,064 residents, which gives a population density of around 9.4 residents / km². The majority of the population (83%) is of Lithuanian origin, the rest is divided between Russians and those from other countries of the former Soviet Union, and Poles, descendants of the interwar period when part of Lithuania belonged to Poland.
According to Topschoolsintheusa, the official language in Lithuania is Lithuanian which is spoken by the majority of the population. In addition to the official language, other languages are spoken that are usually common in certain areas and cities of the country, such as Russian and Polish.
Cultural activity is prolific and the people themselves took it upon themselves, in silence, to maintain their traditions for years. Shows like opera, theater, and music festivals have the character of massive events.
Customs and traditions
Lithuanians have the most homogeneous culture of the Baltic republics and, despite Soviet domination, they have managed to preserve their traditions. Very old traditions are preserved. One of the most curious consists of placing wooden carvings in the shape of crosses or saints on high posts at crossroads, in cemeteries, squares or prominent places.
The cities, including the capital, preserve their medieval heritage and all the monuments related to the troubled history of the territory: fortresses, castles, churches and even prisons. Lithuanians have a reputation among their neighbors for being sociable and hospitable, but also a bit exalted and unpredictable, a character very similar to the Mediterranean.
Creation and symbolism of crosses
The making of crosses is a very widespread tradition in Lithuania, declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001. It not only evokes the making of crosses and altars, but also their consecration and associated rituals. The crosses carved in oak wood are associated with Catholic ceremonies and harvest festivals. From the moment the cross is blessed by a priest, it acquires an inalienable sacred significance. In the 19th century, with the integration into the Russian Orthodox Empire, these crosses also became the symbol of national and religious identity.
Their height varies from one to five meters, they are usually covered by a canopy and decorated with floral or geometric motifs. Sometimes they are accompanied by statuettes. Crosses are found on the edge of roads, at the entrance to villages, near monuments or in cemeteries. Homeless people often turn to statues of the Virgin Mary and various saints to come to their aid. Different offerings are made to them, such as food, rosaries, money, colored handkerchiefs (for a marriage, for example) or aprons (symbol of fertility). The crosses are also an important meeting place in the town and a symbol of the unity of the community.
Lithuanian cuisine has been influenced by many cultures. Traditional specialties are smoked sausages, various types of cheeses, cepelinai (meat cooked in a potato dumpling and served with a special sauce), and vedarai (boiled potatoes and sausages wrapped in pork intestines). Soup is usually served with the main course.
Basketball is the most popular sport in Lithuania. In fact, the national team has won the European Basketball Championship three times (1937, 1939 and 2003), a runner-up (1995), a bronze (2007); three Olympic bronze medals (Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000) and a seventh place in 1998 and 2006 and a bronze medal in 2010 at the Basketball World Cup. According to the FIBA ranking, the Lithuanian team ranks 5th in the world.
The football is the discipline that goes into the background. It is practiced by Russian-Lithuanians and Polish-Lithuanians and like most sports except basketball, it does not receive any help from the Lithuanian administration at the time. The most successful club is FBK Kaunas, which has won eight leagues. His soccer team has managed to climb to 42nd in the FIFA rankings in 1997, currently they are at 90th.
- Restoration of the Lithuanian State (February 16)
- Anniversary of the Coronation of the Grand Duke Mindaugas of Lithuania (July 6)
Lithuanian is one of only two Baltic languages of Indo-European origin that remain today.