Lithuania, situated in Northern Europe, is a country that was left largely unexplored by the tourists some time back. However, with the world becoming a global village, people have started looking up to the previously unexplored places to spend their holidays. Lithuania, with its rich and inviting national parks, serene lakes, spa resorts, and military heritage sites, has been attracting visitors from far and wide. Lithuania is situated along the shore of the Baltic Sea and borders Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Russia to the southwest. The 99-km long coastline of the country is home to a number of sandy beaches. Add to this, the World Heritage Sites that the country boasts of and you get a wide variety, as far as tourist attractions are concerned. In the following lines, we have provided a number of fun and interesting facts about Lithuania, to help you know the country better.
Image: By Tiia Monto (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Area: 65,300 km2
Currency: Lithuanian litas
Official Language: Lithuanian
Dialing Code: +370
Type of Government: Parliamentary republic
Fun Facts About Lithuania
- The official name of Lithuania is ‘The Republic of Lithuania’.
- Lithuania is situated in Eastern Europe, between Latvia and Russia, and stands bordered by the Baltic Sea, Belarus and Poland.
- During the Northern Wars (1655–1661), Lithuanian was greatly sabotaged by the Swedish army. Prior to the war Lithuania lost almost 40% of its population owing to a plague, and a famine.
- During the medieval period Lithuania was a powerful state and parts of Poland, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine lied within its territories.
- Lithuania is one of countries that make up the ‘Baltic States’. However, contrary to what the name suggests, the states do not share political unity.
- The official language of Lithuania is Lithuanian. However, you will find majority of the people speaking Russian and English also.
- Lithuania is spread over an area of approximately 65,300 sq. km (25,212 sq. miles) and is about the same size as West Virginia. As per the 2012 census the population of the country is 3 million and 79% of the people follow Roman Catholic religion.
- The state of Lithuania is an independent, democratic republic and follows Parliamentary democracy.
- The currency of Lithuania is Litas and 1 Litas is equal to 100 centas.
- Lithuania was the last country in Europe to be converted to Christianity. Before Christianity, the country’s religion was ‘Romuva’.
- The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius which is also the largest city.
- Juozapines Hill (294 m) forms the highest point in Lithuania, while the largest and longest river in the country is Nemunas.
- Lithuania had only one king during the royal times, King Mindaugas.
- The first publishing house in Lithuania was founded in Vilnius, in 1522, and the first Lithuanian Book was published in 1547.
- The mother of Pope John Paul II was of Lithuanian descent.
- Lithuania was the first Soviet republic to declare independence from the USSR.
- Lithuania joined the United Nations on 17th September 1991 and the European Union on 1st May 2004.
- Lithuania stands divided into 10 counties, 60 municipalities and 500 elderates.
- Kaunas, Klaipëda, Šiauliai and Panevëþys are the largest cities in Lithuania.
- Lithuania was a part of the the Soviet Union and however, later, it came under the possession of the Nazi Germany. After the end of the Second World War Lithuania was again captured by the Soviet Union. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union and became the first country to do so. On 18 September 1991 Lithuania earned the membership of the United Nations.
- As per the United Nations Human Development Index list Lithuania is a "Very High Human Development" country.
- As per the Speedtest.net website, as of 30 October 2011 Lithuania enjoys the fastest internet upload and downloads speed.
- Basketball is the most popular sport in Lithuania.
- The first railway network in Lithuania was established the 19th century, that connected Warsaw and Saint Petersburg.
- Bread and salt are important to Lithuanians. Lithuanian’s welcome important guest or a new bride and groom with a loaf of bread and salt.
- Before the financial crisis of 2007–2010, the Lithuanian economy was considered to be one of the fastest growing in the European Union.