|Area||total: 65,200 sq km |
water: NA sq km
land: NA sq km
|Population||3,601,138 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||Lithuanian (official), Polish, Russian|
|Religion||Roman Catholic (primarily), Lutheran, Russian Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical Christian Baptist, Muslim, Jewish|
Lithuania is a Baltic country in Eastern Europe. It has a Baltic Sea coastline in the west and surrounded by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east, Poland to the southwest, and Russia (Kaliningrad) to the west.
- Administrative divisions
- 10 counties (apskritys, singular - apskritis); Alytaus, Kauno, Klaipe.dos, Marijampole.s, Paneve.�io, �iauliu;, Taurage.s, Tel�iu;, Utenos, Vilniaus
- Vilnius - Capital
Ports and harbors
- The Hill Of Crosses — site of religious significance, north of Siauliai.
Transitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers
Lowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil. The fertile central plains are separated by hilly uplands that are ancient glacial deposits.
- Highest point
- Juozapines kalnas 292 m, about 30 km southeast of Vilnius lies just of the main highway to Minsk and within sight of the Belarus border.
- National holiday
- Independence Day, 16 February (1918); note - 16 February 1918 is the date of independence from German, Austrian, Prussian, and Russian occupation, 11 March 1990 is the date of independence from the Soviet Union
Independent between the two World Wars, Lithuania was annexed by the USSR in 1940. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence, but this proclamation was not generally recognized until September of 1991 (following the abortive coup in Moscow).
- 11 March 1990 (independence declared from Soviet Union); 6 September 1991 (Soviet Union recognizes Lithuania's independence)
- adopted 25 October 1992
The last Russian troops withdrew in 1993. Lithuania subsequently has restructured its economy for eventual integration into Western European institutions.
As Lithuania is a member of the European Union, citizens from these countries do not need a visa and can enter Lithuania with a valid passport or a valid identity card. Full list of countries whose nationals do not require visa is here:  (http://www.urm.lt/index.php?1057824572).
Most airlines arrive at main Vilnius international airport (http://www.vilnius-airport.lt/index.php?lang=en) and smaller seaside Palanga airport (http://www.palanga-airport.lt/en/), while no-frills carriers (Ryanair and Wizzair) land in Kaunas airport (http://www.kaunasair.lt/index.php?lang=2&m=2&p=210).
For destinations north Lithuania Riga airport is an attractive option.
There are train connections to Vilnius from Warsaw, Moscow, Hitchhiking in Lithuania is generally good. Get to the outskirts of the city, but before cars speed up to the highway speeds. The middle letter on the licence plates of the three letter code usually corresponds with the city of registration.
See also: Vilnius Hitchhiking Club (http://www.autostop.lt/)
The official language of Lithuania is Lithuanian, making up one of only two languages [along with Latvian] on the Baltic branch of the Indo-European family. Despite the kinship of Lithuanian to many other European languages, the complicated nature of even its most basic grammar makes it hard for foreigners unfamiliar with the language even to form basic sentences (as can be done with relative ease in Italian or Spanish, for example). Russian is spoken almost universally by the older generation, whilst the younger generation is becoming more and more proficient in English. Polish and, to a lesser extent, German are also spoken in some places for historical reasons. Lithuanians are always eager for an opportunity to practise their English, but those who learn a few basic phrases of the local language are always amply awarded with good will and appreciation for their efforts.
Recommended Bars or Clubs
Broadway Pub (http://www.brodvejus.lt/naujas/en/index.php4)