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Everything you need to know about Lithuania: news, reviews, in-depth analysis, opinion and more

Lithuania: Biggest Baltic State with Illustrious Past

King Mindaugas united both Poland and Lithuania under a single rule in the 12th century and later on one of the Lithuanian rulers also became the king of Poland. The two countries formed a confederation in the 15th century that lasted for over 200 years until it was broken by Russia, Prussia and Austria in 1795 and Lithuania was annexed by the Russian empire. In the 20th century Germans occupied Lithuania following an agreement with the Russians and after the Second World War the Russians re-occupied Lithuania in 1944. In spite of Russian attempts at superimposing its culture over the Lithuanians the latter managed to preserve their traditional roots. Lithuania declared independence from Soviet yoke in 1990 and was the first soviet republic to do so. It formally became a member of the EU and the NATO in 2004 and has gone for open market reforms that include liberalization and privatisation.

Lithuania Facts and Figures:

    · National Name: Republic of Lithuania
    · Capital: Vilnius
    · Total area: 65,300 sq km
    · Population: 3.4 million (UN, 2008)
    · Currency: Litas
    · Languages: Lithuanian 82% (official), Russian 8%, Polish 6% (2001)
    · Ethnicity/ Races: Lithuanian 83.4%, Polish 6.7%, Russian 6.3%, other or unspecified 3.6% (2001)
    · Religion: Roman Catholic 79%, Russian Orthodox 4%, Protestant (including Lutheran, evangelical Christian Baptist) 2%, none 10% (2001)
    · GDP (Per Capita): $16,800 (2007)
    · Life Expectancy: 67 years (men), 78 years (women)
    · Literacy: 100% (2003 est.)

Lithuania Geography and Climate:
Although Lithuania is the largest Baltic Sea state it has the shortest coastline along the Baltic Sea that measures only 38 kms. The country borders Latvia, Belarus, Poland and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Lithuania has few towering mountain peaks as most of its landscape has been plateaued by glaciers. The highest peak is the Aukstojas Hill at 294 mts while there are numerous lakes that abound Lithuania.

Lithuanian climate is a combination of maritime and continental climates with wet, moderate winters and summers. Lithuania also has ample forest cover with 33% of its land area under a mixed forest cover.

Lithuania Culture and Cuisine:
Unlike the other Baltic states Lithuania is the most ethnically homogeneous country with 83% population claiming to be ethnic Lithuanians. Although there is presence of Russian cultural elements in Lithuanian culture owing to long period of Soviet rule, Lithuanians have managed to preserve their folk culture and tradition. The folk culture of Lithuanians is reflected in their music that comprises the popular folk traditions of sutartines and rateliai. Important folk instruments include the kankles, svilpas, drums and tabalas.

Lithuanian cuisine has developed to suits its cool climes and barley, potato, rye, beets, berries and mushrooms are the most important ingredients of Lithuanian cuisine. As compared to Western Europe, the eastern and Ashkenazi culinary practises have had more influence over the Lithuanian cuisine.

Lithuanian Economy:
After seceding from the Soviet Union and particularly post 2000 Lithuania has witnessed one of the highest GDP growth rates in the European region that has averaged more than 7%. The country witnessed an economic boom following its entry into the EU in 2004. Lithuania is making a shift towards a knowledge based with greater focus on biotechnology, laser equipment manufacture, IT and other fields. The country has a flat tax rate system rather than a progressive one, which has led to large exodus of Lithuanians to other European countries. Consequently the government has taken steps to address this issue by steadily lowering the tax rates without changing the basic structure.

Lithuania Tourist Attractions:
Lithuania has many exciting places to enjoy the foremost being its capital city of Vilnius that has an international aura due to its location at the crossroad of eastern and western cultures. The Cathedral Square at the centre of the city is the primary attraction with the Gediminas Hill forming its backdrop. The Curonian Spit along the Baltic coast offers the perfect foil to enjoy sun bathed golden sand beaches or surf on the Baltic Sea’s mesmerizing waves.

Other Lithuania Places to See Include:

    · Hill of Crosses
    · Druskininkai
    · Palanga

Athlete barred from Olympics after marrying foreigner

April 5, 2012 at 7:12 AM

Moscow, April 5 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A leading pentathlete, ranked 19th in the world and who represented Lithuania at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but received Russian citizenship in 2011 after marrying a Russian, has been blocked from competing at London 2012.

Lithuanian tourism makes its debut in India

February 29, 2012 at 8:00 PM

New Delhi, Feb.29 (ANI): The Lithuanian State Tourism Department and the Lithuanian Embassy in India will be holding the first Lithuanian tourism presentation at the residence of the country's ambassador on Wednesday.

Lithuanian tourism makes its debut in India

February 29, 2012 at 11:52 AM

New Delhi, Feb.29 (ANI): The Lithuanian State Tourism Department and the Lithuanian Embassy in India will be holding the first Lithuanian tourism presentation at the residence of the country's ambassador on Wednesday.


Nuclear Summit process endeavors to focus attention on threat posed by nuclear terrorism: Mathai

January 17, 2012 at 9:05 PM

New Delhi, Jan 17 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai on Tuesday said the main objective of the Nuclear Summit process has been to focus high-level global attention on the threat posed by nuclear terrorism and the measures required to address the global challenge of preventing terrorists and other non-state actors from gaining access to sensitive nuclear materials, technology and information.

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