Lithuania

Lithuania is a North Eastern Europe country bordered by the Baltic Sea to the West and surrounded by Latvia to the North, Belarus to the Southeast, Poland and the isolated city of Kaliningrad from the Russian Federation to the Southwest. Lithuania is the largest of the three Baltic States

Capital: Vilnius
Surface area: 65 300 km
Climate: Continental
Population: 3.3 million
Government: Republic
Currency: Euro

In the past, Lithuania shared with Poland the largest territory of Europe widespread from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. After a rule changing period between Russian and Polish, Lithuania had come under German military occupation in 1915. The goal of the German administration was to create a Lithuanian state that would be a satellite of Germany after the final peace treaty. It authorized a gathering called for an independent Lithuanian state in 1918. The decision was positive. Overrun by Soviet Army in 1940, Lithuania became under control of the URSS.  In the 1980’s, influential social movements came out. Lithuania became independent in 1991 when URSS collapsed. During the first year of independence, Lithuania was confronted by disorganisation and shortage. At de beginning of the 21st century, aspire to politically changing. The Lithuanian situation improved, in 2004 the country incorporate the NATO and the European Union and in 2015 adopted the euro currency.

Lithuania can be qualified as an ecotouristic destination where visitors can enjoy sustainable accommodations as responsible hotels, rural farms also nature activities and local food. Full of authenticity, Lithuania has a rich cultural heritage to explore. Vilnius is a perfect place for city-breakers, a lively town where historical monuments are properly preserved and designated as historical centre of the UNESCO world heritage site. There is also Kaunas which was the capital of the country during the interwar period, or the Klaipeda seaport which was an old German city. Besides, Lithuania has worthy of interest sites where various activities can be practiced such as hiking through the Curonian Spit, listed into the UNESCO world heritage site, canoeing through the numerous Lithuanian rivers and waterway, or revitalize yourself in a traditional bath of Ignalina.

Concerned with environmental deterioration, Lithuanian government has created several national parks and reservations, they are considered as most beautiful places of the country. Thousands of birds flock in the Nemunas Delta, a Lithuanian ornament included into the list of wetlands of international importance. The Nagliai natural reserve include the famous Curonian Spit created by nature and its habitants where you can enjoy the sunrise or the sunset on the sea from Pilkosios sand dunes. Wildlife is very diverse and includes numerous mammalian species. There are wolves, foxes, wild boars, and many rodents. The deep forests harbour elk, stags. Lithuania is also home to hundreds of species of birds that you can observe in the landscapes’ reserves. The Pasiliai aurochs farm is an opportunity to observe the life of those emblematic animals.

Lithuanians are fond of nature and have a strong feeling of a shared culture that begins as early as primary school, where folk music, national traditions, and holidays play an important role. Among those who remember life under the Soviet regime, pride in surviving a period of repression and difficulty is a focal point of the national culture. The most greeting is the handshake and one a relationship has been established, greetings include a hug.

Lithuanians are fond of classical music traditions. Yearly classical music festivals are internationally renowned in Pazaislis, Vilnius and St Christopher. Jazz music is popular in Kaunas but Vilnius, Klaipeda and Nida organize international jazz music festivals.

As a predominantly Roman Catholic country, Lithuania celebrates all the major Christian holidays. The traditional Christmas Eve feast consists of 12 vegetarian dishes served on a straw-covered table.

Each ethnographic region is proud of its traditional dishes. Aukstaitja specialized in soups and crepes, mushrooms and sausages dishes in Dzukija, skilandis and dishes made from drunk in Suvakija, kastynis (sort of butter, herbs and spices), potatoes and crustaceans in Samogitie and fish dishes in Lithuania Minor. Lithuanian food would not be Lithuanian food without rye bread. Don’t be surprised if you are served platefuls, Lithuanians like to eat copiously. Don’t forget to try traditional drinks such as mead, made from honey, water and flour. Now, flour is subsitute with alcohol.

Lithuanians cover 87% of the country’s population, then the minorities Polish for 5.6 % and Russian for 4.7%.

Lithuanian is the official language. Useful phrases:

Good morning: Labas rytas
Good afternoon: Laba diena
Good evening: Labas vakaras
Sorry: Atsiprasau
Thank you: Aciu / Dekoju / Labai aciu
You’re welcome: Prasom
Please: Prasau
Have a nice day: Geros dienos