Lithuania

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Republic of Lithuania
Lietuvos Respublika
Flag
Motto: "Tautos jėga vienybėje"[source?]
"The strength of the nation lies in unity"
Anthem: Tautiška giesmė
National Hymn
Location of  Lithuania  (dark green)– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Lithuania  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]

Capital
and largest city
Vilnius
54°41′N 25°19′E / 54.683°N 25.317°E / 54.683; 25.317
Official languages Lithuanian
Ethnic groups (2011) 83.9% Lithuanians,
6.6% Poles,
5.4% Russians,
1.3% Belarusians,
3.8% others and unspecified[1]
Demonym Lithuanian
Government Parliamentary republic[2]
 -  President Dalia Grybauskaitė
 -  Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius
 -  Seimas Speaker Irena Degutienė
Independence from Russia and Germany (1918)
 -  First mention of Lithuania 9 March 1009 
 -  Coronation of Mindaugas 6 July 1253 
 -  Personal union with Poland 2 February 1386 
 -  Creation of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569 
 -  Partitions of the Commonwealth 1795 
 -  Independence declared 16 February 1918 
 -  1st and 2nd Soviet occupations 15 June 1940 and again 1944 
 -  Nazi German occupation 22 June 1941 
 -  Independence restored 11 March 1990 
Area
 -  Total 65,200 km2 (123rd)
25,174 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.35%
Population
 -  2011 estimate 3,203,857[3] (133rd)
 -  2002 census 3,483,972
 -  Density 50.3/km2 (120th)
141.2/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $59.825 billion[4]
 -  Per capita $18,278[4]
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $40.333 billion[4]
 -  Per capita $12,323[4]
Gini (2003) 36
medium
HDI (2011) Increase 0.810[5]
very high · 40th
Currency Lithuanian litas (Lt) (LTL)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 -  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Date format yyyy-mm-dd (CE)
Drives on the right
Calling code 370
Internet TLD .lt1
1. Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.

Lithuania is a country in northern Europe[6] on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. Lithuania is a member of the European Union, NATO, and several other organizations.

Vilnius is the capital and largest city. About 3,500,000 people live there. The official language is Lithuanian which is spoken by more than 82% of the people.

The colors of the Lithuanian flag are yellow (at the top), for the sun, green (in the middle), for the fields, and red (at the bottom), for the blood of Lithuanians fighting for its independence.

History[change | edit source]

Lithuania began to turn into a country in the 7th9th centuries from Baltic nations group. The Baltics, the ancestors of Lithuanians and Latvians, came to area between Nemunas, Daugava rivers and the Baltic sea, from a supposed original homeland of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Many scientists think they came there sometime in the 3rd millennium BC.

The traditional date of the beginning of the country is 1236 when the Battle of Šiauliai (Battle of Sun) took place and was won by the Lithuanians.

Lithuania (at that time - The Grand Duchy of Lithuania) had made a Treaty with Poland in 1569. The country was taken over by the Russian Empire in 1795. It got back its independence on the February 16, 1918. It was taken over by Soviet Union in June 16, 1940, after Germany from 1941-1944 and then the Soviet Union from 1944-1990. Lithuania re-declared its independence on March 11, 1990. Currently Lithuania is an independent, semi-presidential, democratic republic.

Politics[change | edit source]

Valdas Adamkus, a former President and US vice-president Dick Cheney in Vilnius

Lithuania has been a member of NATO and the European Union since 2004.

Lithuania is a semi presidential republic, that restored its independence and democracy in 1990. Since then, very important reforms were made and Lithuania is now declared as a democratic state that grants the human rights.

The Constitution that was adopted in 1992 declares, that the leader of the country is the President, who must be elected to take his office. The elections are held each 5 years. If President broke their oath, they can be fired by the Parliament. The President also represents Lithuania and he is also a commander-in-chief.

The legislative power of Lithuania is Seimas, or the Parliament. There are 141 members of Seimas who are elected for 4-year-terms. Seimas passes the laws that must be executed by the Government, that is formed in Seimas and it must be accepted by the President. The Prime Minister is set and fired by the President.

The justice is under the power of the courts. The supreme court in Lithuania is the Constitutional Court.

Administrative subdivisions[change | edit source]

The counties and municipalities in Lithuania

Lithuania is divided into 10 counties, 60 municipalities and 500 elderates. The counties are:

The county governor rules the county. He or she must be appointed by the central government. Municipalities are governed by the Municipal Councils that are elected for 4 year terms. The head of a municipality is the mayor. The elderates are governed by the elders. The elders are appointed by the municipal councils.

Geography[change | edit source]

Physical map of Lithuania

Lithuania is a country in northern Europe. Its neighbours are Poland in the south west, Russia (Kaliningrad) in west, Latvia in north and Belarus in the east. Lithuania borders the Baltic sea and 99 kilometres of it belong to Lithuania. The highest hill is Aukštojas (294 metres high), the largest lake is Drūkšiai Lake. 31 % of the land suitable for farms.

Lithuania is divided into 5 cultural regions according to their past and traditions:

  • Aukštaitija
  • Dzūkija
  • Mažoji Lietuva (Lithuania Minor)
  • Suvalkija
  • Žemaitija (Samogitia)

Climate[change | edit source]

Extreme temperatures in Lithuania (°C)
Month
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Highest Temperatures
+12,6
+16,5
+21,8
+28,8
+34
+35
+37,5
+36
+32
+26
+18
+15,6
Lowest Temperatures
-40,5
-42,9
-37,5
-23,0
-6,8
-2,8
+0,9
-2,9
-6,3
-19,5
-23
-34

Economy[change | edit source]

The nightwiev of vilnius financial Centre

Lithuania has a fast growing economy. It grew up to 7 % in the first quarter of 2008.

GDP per capita, based on purchasing power parity is estimated to be $19 730 in 2008. The nominal GDP per capita is estimated to be $14 213 at the same year. According to these numbers, Lithuanian per capita GDP reaches only 61% of EU average. However, it is impressive that only in 8 years, since 2000 it grew up from 30% of EU average.

Emigration still contains a problem. Acoording to the official data, emigration in 2006 was 30% lower than previous year, with 3 483 people leaving in four months.

Demographics[change | edit source]

Kaunas old town
The Annchen, a character of Simon Dach's poems in the Theatre Palace in Klaipėda

About 80% of people in Lithuania are Lithuanians. There are large national minorities:

  • The Poles, (6.3%), mainly live in Vilnius County, which was taken over by Poland in 1920.
  • The Russians, (5.1%), mainly live in Vilnius County and Utena County, as workers at the Ignalina nuclear plant.
  • The Belorussians, (1.1%), most of them live in Vilnius County.

Lithuanian is spoken by 82% of the people and it is the only official language. Polish is used mostly in Vilnius County where Polish politicians are elected to represent the Polish minority. The documents and street names must be in Lithuanian.

The biggest cities are Vilnius, 542,287 people, Kaunas, 358,107 people, and Klaipėda, 185,899 people.

Largest cities[change | edit source]

City Region Population Density* (/km²) Area (km²)
Grand Coat of arms of Vilnius.png Vilnius East &&&&&&&&&&544206.&&&&&0544,206 &&&&&&&&&&&&1354.&&&&&01,354 401
Kaunas city COA.png Kaunas Middle &&&&&&&&&&355586.&&&&&0355,586 &&&&&&&&&&&&2281.&&&&&02,281 157
Coat of arms of Klaipeda (Lithuania).png Klaipėda West &&&&&&&&&&184657.&&&&&0184,657 &&&&&&&&&&&&1926.&&&&&01,926 98
Siauliai city COA.gif Šiauliai North &&&&&&&&&&127059.&&&&&0127,059 &&&&&&&&&&&&1605.&&&&&01,605 81
Coat of Arms of Panevezys.svg Panevėžys North &&&&&&&&&&113653.&&&&&0113,653 &&&&&&&&&&&&2236.&&&&&02,236 52
Coat of arms of Alytus (Lithuania).svg Alytus South &&&&&&&&&&&68304.&&&&&068,304 &&&&&&&&&&&&1747.&&&&&01,747 40
Marijampole COA.gif Marijampolė South &&&&&&&&&&&47010.&&&&&047,010 &&&&&&&&&&&&2271.&&&&&02,271 21
Mazeikiai COA.gif Mažeikiai North &&&&&&&&&&&40572.&&&&&040,572 &&&&&&&&&&&&2956.&&&&&02,956 14
Coat of arms of Jonava (Lithuania).svg Jonava Middle &&&&&&&&&&&34446.&&&&&034,446 Expression error: Unrecognized word "n"..Expression error: Unrecognized word "n".n/d n/d
Utena COA.gif Utena East &&&&&&&&&&&32572.&&&&&032,572 &&&&&&&&&&&&2191.&&&&&02,191 15,1
Kedainiai COA.gif Kėdainiai Middle &&&&&&&&&&&31055.&&&&&031,055 Expression error: Unrecognized word "n"..Expression error: Unrecognized word "n".n/d 44

Education[change | edit source]

Vilnius University Great Yard in 2006

The nursery schools and the kindergartens are the first-level education forms. However, they are not compulsory. The children start attending the primary school at age 7, where educational programs last for 4 years; then they must start attending secondary school (5th to 10th grades). After finishing 8th or 10th grade, the student can continue learning at the high school or choose courses at the vocational college. The students who finish the high school can join colleges and universities. Higher education is free for the students whose annual median of grades is 8 or higher. The others have to pay 500 Litass per semester at least.

The higher education schools are universities and colleges. The main universities are:

  • Vilnius university (the oldest univeresity in north east Europe, founded in 1579);
  • University of Vytautas the Great, in Kaunas;
  • The University of Technology of Gediminas, in Vilnius;
  • The Klaipėda University.

Media[change | edit source]

Radio and Television[change | edit source]

Lithuanians can choose from many television and radio stations. The first radio station was started in 1928 in Kaunas. The first television station started in 1957. The main radio stations are:

  • Lietuvos Radijas (Public broadcaster)
  • Radiocentras (TOP 40)
  • M-1 (TOP 40)
  • Pūkas 1 (Lithuanian pop)
  • Kelyje (Pop)
  • Žinių Radijas (up-to-date news)

The most popular TV stations are:

  • Lietuvos televizija, LTV (Public Broadcaster)
  • TV-3
  • LNK
  • TV-1
  • BTV
  • Tango TV
  • MTV Lithuania

Printed Media and Internet[change | edit source]

The oldest legal newspaper in Lithuania is the Polish Kurier Wilenski. It was first published in the 18th century and is now only popular with the Polish community. The biggest selling newspapers are:

  • Lietuvos Rytas
  • Respublika
  • Kauno diena
  • Lietuvos žinios
  • Vakaro žinios

Internet news portals are very popular in Lithuania. They have the latest information and also let people make comments. The most popular Internet sites with news and information are:

  • Delfi.lt
  • Zebra.lt
  • Balsas.lt

Other pages[change | edit source]

Notes and references[change | edit source]

Other websites[change | edit source]