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Country information

Lithuania is a Northeastern European country which combines what is regarded as Scandinavian – clean, orderly, progressive, natural and attractive, as well as what regarded as Eastern European – new, fresh, rapidly developing, on the rise, and as yet undiscovered. Sometimes called a Northern and sometimes an Eastern European country, Lithuania is an authentic combination of both Northern and Eastern features.

State Government

Lithuania is an independent democratic republic. The powers of the state are exercised by the Seimas (Parliament), the President, the Government and the Judiciary.

Location & Borders

Lithuania has common borders with Latvia in the north (588 km), Belarus in the south-east (653 km), Poland in the south-west (104 km) and the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation, also in the south-west (249 km).

Size & Territory

Lithuania is the largest of the three Baltic States in terms of population, territory and economy. Its territory of 65,300 sq km is larger than that of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands or Switzerland. 70 percent of its lowland plains and hilly uplands are arable and 28 percent are forested. Lithuania’s 722 rivers, over 2,800 lakes and 99 km of the Baltic Sea coastline are mostly devoted to recreation and nature preservation.

Major Cities

The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius (population ~ 554,000). Other major cities are Kaunas (~337,000), Klaipėda (~178,000), Šiauliai (~121,000) and Panevėžys (~109,000).

Population

Lithuania has the largest population of the three Baltic States - about 3.2 million (85.4 percent of the population are ethnic Lithuanians, 6.6 percent - Polish, 5.4 percent - Russians, 1.3 percent - Belarussians and 1.3 percent - other nationalities).

Religion

The country's religion is predominantly Roman Catholic. Other religions include Eastern Orthodoxy, Evangelical Lutheranism, Judaism, etc.

Language

The the official state language is Lithuanian. It is the most archaic living Indo-European language, which is closely related to Sanskrit.

Currency

Litas (LTL or Lt), which is pegged to the Euro at the rate of 3.4528 LTL = 1 EUR. 100 cents = 1 LTL. 

Time

Lithuania is in the Central European Time Zone: GMT+2 hours (+3 hours summer time). When it is noon in Vilnius, it is 11:00 am in Stockholm and Frankfurt, 10:00 am in London, 5:00 am in New York, 2:00 pm in Moscow and 6:00 pm in Beijing, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Climate

Lithuania's climate is relatively mild. It ranges between maritime and continental, with the average temperatures of +23°C in July and - 5°C in January.

National Flag

  • Yellow - reflects the fertile fields of Lithuania, golden with ripe rye, wheat and flax
  • Green - the symbol of the nation's vitality
  • Red - represents the blood shed in defending the homeland's freedom

Historical Highlights

1009 Lithuania is first mentioned in the Annales Quedlinburgenses.
1253 The Lithuanian Kingdom is founded.
XIV - XV cent. The territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania extended to the Black Sea.
1569 Lithuania merges with Poland and forms a federal state.
1795 Lithuania is incorporated into the Russian Empire.
16 February 1918 The Council of Lithuania adopts a resolution on the restoration of the independent state of Lithuania with the capital based in Vilnius.
1920-1939 Poland occupies Eastern Lithuania and the country’s capital Vilnius.
1940 Lithuania is occupied by the Soviet Union.
1941-1944 Lithuania is occupied by the Nazi Germany.
1944 Renewed Soviet occupation, tens of thousands flee to the West, mass deportations to Siberia, armed resistance by Lithuanian freedom fighters that lasts until 1953.
11 March 1990 Lithuania re-establishes its independence, which starts the collapse of the Soviet Union.
17 September 1991 Lithuania is admitted into the United Nations.
4 January 1994 Lithuania becomes the first Baltic State to apply for NATO membership.
31 May 2001 Lithuania is admitted into the World Trade Organization.
29 March 2004 Lithuania is accepted into NATO.
1 May 2004 Lithuania joins the European Union.
21 December 2007 Lithuania is accepted into the Schengen area.
2011 Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE)

National Holidays

January 1 New Year's Day
February 16 Independence Day (1918)
March 11 Restoration of Independence (1990)
Moveable feast (2 days) Easter
May 1 Labour Day
1st Sunday in May Mother's Day
1st Sunday in June Father’s Day
June 24 Midsummer Festival
July 6 Coronation of Mindaugas, King of Lithuania
August 15 Assumption Day
November 1 All Saints' Day
December 24 Christmas Eve
December 25–26 Christmas