- On the map of Europe Lithuania can hardly catch your attention. It is a small
country on the shores of the Baltic sea with on area of 65.2 thousand square kilometres,
which is almost four times smaller than Great Britain and more then eight times smaller
France. However, Lithuania is not the smallest country in Europe. It is larger than
Switzerland, Holland, Belgium.
- Lithuanias borders stretch for about 1850 km. On the north Lithuania is
bordered by Latvia, on the east and on the south by Byelorussia. In the south-west her
neighbours are the Republic of Poland and the Kaliningrad region of the Russian.
- Vilnius is the capital, the largest city of Lithuania.
- Kaunas the second city of Lithuania both in size and in importance is
located in the central part of country.
- Klaipeda is the third largest town of Lithuania and her large sea port.
- It is believed that Lithuania got its name from the River Lietava (Lietauka), a
tributary of the Neris. It flows about 25km from the little
town of Kernave, an important political centre in ancient Lithuania in the eastern
part of the country. Lithuania was first mentioned in the Annales Quedlinburgenses,
a Latin chronicle, in 1009.
- The Lithuanian mounted knight, called Vytis, is one of the oldest state emblems
in Europe. It dates back to 1366, the time of Grand Duke Algirdas, and became an
emblem of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the beginning of the 15th
century. In 1918 Vytis became the foremost symbol of statehood of Lithuania.
- The state flag was created in 1918. The colours
of the flag symbolise: yellow - the sun, light and prosperity; green - the
Lithuanian landscape, hope and joy; red - the colour of earth, life and blood. It
symbolises the nations courage and tenacity in the struggle for freedom.
- The words and music of the Lithuanian national anthem, also known as Tautine giesme, were written by Vincas Kudirka. It
was published for the first time in 1898, and first publicly performed in Vilnius in 1905.
- 1918 Tautine giesme officially became the
national anthem of the Republic of Lithuania. During the years of Soviet occupation it was
forbidden to play it.
- The Seimas (Parliament) is the highest body of state power. It consists of 141 MPs
elected for four-year terms.
- The President of the Republic is elected by direct suffrage for a term of five years.
President Valdas Adamkus took out oath on 26 February 1998.
- The Government is composed of the Prime Minister and 14 ministers.
- The Prime Minister is appointed or dismissed by the President with the approval of the
- The total length of the inland borders is 1,747km, with the coastline adding another
99km. There are no islands in the Baltic Sea belonging to Lithuania.
- In the north it borders Latvia (610km border), in the east and south Belarus (724km), in
the south-west Poland (110km) and the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation
- From east to west the country is 373km, and from south to north 276km.
- The country has a diverse landscape - three hilly uplands,
and three lowlands plains. The highest point is Juozapine Hill, not far from Vilnius; it
is 293.6m above sea level.
- There are over 4,000 lakes and 722 rivers.
- The longest river is the Nemunas which is 937km long. Its length through Lithuania is
Transitional between maritime and continental. Average temperatures: yearly 6.7*C;
January - 4.9*C; July 17*C; but it can be as high as 30*C in summer and as low as -32*C in
winter. Annual precipitation level: 744.6mm. Humidity: 78%. Any season, dont forget
Cultural and language differences distinguish the regions of Zemaitija (Western
Lithuania), Auktaitija (mid and eastern Lithuania), Suvalkija (below the Nemunas)
and Dzukija (southern Lithuania).
Mostly Roman Catholic. Others - Russian Orthodox, Evangelical Lutheran, Judaic, etc.
Lithuanian is an archaic language. It has retained its ancient sound system and
morphological characteristics. Of all the living Indo-European languages, Lithuanian is
the most similar to Sanskrit. The 32-letter alphabet is Latin based.
- Area: 65,300 sq. km.
- Population: 3,707,200
- Capital: Vilnius
- Government: Parliamentary Republic
- Official language:
- Largest cities by population:
- Kaunas 418,700
- Klaipeda 203,300
- Siauliai 147,000
- Panevezys 133,300.
- Ethnic composition:
- Lithuanian 81.3 %
- Russian 8.2 %
- Polish 6.9 %
- Belarusian 1.5 %
- Others 2.1 %.
- Population by age:
- Under 15 years 21.9 %
- Working age 61 %.
- Retired 17.1 %.
- Population by area:
- Urban 67 %.
- Rural 33 %.
- Life expectancy:
- Male 65 years
- Female 76 years.
- Population density:
56.8 per sq. km.
- Language courses:
- Department of Lithuanian Studies,
- Vilnius University
- Universiteto g. 3
- 2734 Vilnius
- Tel/fax (370 2) 610786.
NATIONAL HOLIDAYS AND
COMMEMORATIVE DAYS IN 1999
New Years Day
The Day of the Defenders of Lithuanians Freedom, to commemorate the peaceful
protesters who were killed in 1991, by Soviet troops.
Independence Day. Lithuania declared its independence in 1918
Day of the Restoration of Lithuanias Independence. The act was signed in 1990
International Childrens Day
Day of Mourning and Hope. In 1941 the Soviets began mass deportation to Siberia
Insurrection Day. An armed uprising against the Soviet occupation occurred in
Vilnius and Kaunas in 1941
Statehool Day commemorates the coronation of Lithuanias first and only king,
Mindaugas, in 1253
Black Ribbon Day. In 1939 the Molotov - Ribentrop pact was signed which handed the
Baltic republics over to the Soviet sphere of interest
Day of the Nation. The coronation of Grand Duke Vytautas was originally planned for
this day in 1430; he died before it took place.
Commemoration Day of the Victims of the Holokaust
All Saints Day
From the LITHUANIA IN THE WORLD (No.1, 1999)
[Foreword][Postilla][M. Dauksa and M.
Giedraitis][Homeland][Customs][Language][History][Gallery][National Programm][Events][Mass Media][News][Information][Contents][Guest Book][Home]
Cultural Association Editorial Board, 1998.
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