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In order to book an accommodation in Lithuania enter the proper dates and do the hotel search. If needed, sort the found Lithuania hotels by price, star rating, property type, guest rating, hotel features, hotel theme or hotel chain. Then take a look at the found hotels on Lithuania map to estimate the distance from the main Lithuania attractions and sights. You can also read the guest reviews of Lithuania hotels and see their ratings.

When a hotel search in Lithuania is done, please select the room type, the included meals and the suitable booking conditions (for example, "Deluxe double room, Breakfast included, Non-Refundable"). Press the "View Deal" ("Book Now") button. Make your booking on a hotel booking website and get the hotel reservation voucher by email. That's it, a perfect hotel in Lithuania is waiting for you!

Hotels of Lithuania

A hotel in Lithuania is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Lithuania hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Lithuania are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Lithuania hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Lithuania hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Lithuania have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Lithuania
An upscale full service hotel facility in Lithuania that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Lithuania hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Lithuania
Full service Lithuania hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Lithuania
Boutique hotels of Lithuania are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Lithuania boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Lithuania may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Lithuania
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Lithuania travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Lithuania focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Lithuania
Small to medium-sized Lithuania hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Lithuania traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Lithuania hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Lithuania
A bed and breakfast in Lithuania is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Lithuania bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Lithuania B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Lithuania
Lithuania hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Lithuania hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Lithuania
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Lithuania hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Lithuania lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Lithuania
Lithuania timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Lithuania often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Lithuania on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Lithuania
A Lithuania motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Lithuania for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Lithuania motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Lithuania

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This article is about the Northern European country. For other uses, see Lithuania (disambiguation).
Republic of Lithuania
Lietuvos Respublika (Lithuanian)
Flag of Lithuania
Coat of Arms of Lithuania
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Tautiška giesmė
National Hymn
Locator map of Lithuania
Location of Lithuania (dark green)

– in Europe (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union (green) – [Legend]

Capital
and largest city
Vilnius
 / 54.683; 25.317
Official languages Lithuanian
Ethnic groups (2015)
  • 86.7% Lithuanians
  • 5.6% Poles
  • 4.8% Russians
  • 1.3% Belarusians
  • 0.7% Ukrainians
  • 0.1% Jews
  • 0.1% Tatars
  • 0.1% Germans
  • 0.1% Romani
  • 0.1% Latvians
  • 0.5% others / unspecified
Demonym Lithuanian
Government Unitary semi-presidential republic
• President
Dalia Grybauskaitė
• Prime Minister
Saulius Skvernelis
• Seimas Speaker
Viktoras Pranckietis
Legislature Seimas
Independence from Russia / Germany (1918)
First mention of Lithuania
9 March 1009
• Coronation of Mindaugas
6 July 1253
• Union with Poland
2 February 1386
• Polish–Lithuanian
Commonwealth created
1 July 1569
• Partitions of the Commonwealth
24 October 1795
Independence declared
16 February 1918
• 1st Soviet occupation
15 June 1940
Nazi German occupation
22 June 1941
• 2nd Soviet occupation
July 1944
• Independence restored
11 March 1990
• Independence recognized by the Soviet Union
6 September 1991
Joined the European Union
1 May 2004
Area
• Total
65,300 km (25,200 sq mi) (123rd)
• Water (%)
1.35
Population
• 2017 estimate
2,842,412 (137th)
• Density
43/km (111.4/sq mi) (173rd)
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
• Total
$86 billion
• Per capita
$29,900 (41st)
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
• Total
$43 billion
• Per capita
$14,900 (49th)
Gini (2015) Negative increase 37.9
medium
HDI (2014) Increase 0.839
very high · 37th
Currency Euro (€) (EUR)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
• Summer (DST)
EEST (UTC+3)
Date format yyyy-mm-dd (CE)
Drives on the right
Calling code +370
ISO 3166 code LT
Internet TLD .lt
  1. Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.

 / 55; 24

Lithuania (UK and US: Listen/ˌlɪθˈniə/, Lithuanian: Lietuva [lʲɪɛtʊˈvɐ]), officially the Republic of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublika), is a country in Northern Europe. One of the three Baltic states, it is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave) to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.9 million people as of 2015, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Lithuanians are a Baltic people. The official language, Lithuanian, along with Latvian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family.

For centuries, the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania, and the first unified Lithuanian state, the Kingdom of Lithuania, was created on 6 July 1253. During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe; present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were the territories of the Grand Duchy. With the Lublin Union of 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772–95, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory.

As World War I neared its end, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, declaring the founding of the modern Republic of Lithuania. In the midst of the Second World War, Lithuania was first occupied by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end and the Germans retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare itself independent, resulting in the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania.

Lithuania is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, a full member of the Eurozone, Schengen Agreement and NATO. It is also a member of the Nordic Investment Bank, and part of Nordic-Baltic cooperation of Northern European countries. The United Nations Human Development Index lists Lithuania as a "very high human development" country. Lithuania has been among the fastest growing economies in the European Union and is ranked 21st in the world in the Ease of Doing Business Index.

Lithuania: History

Map showing changes in the territory of Lithuania from the 13th century to the present day.
Main article: History of Lithuania

Lithuania: Prehistoric

The first people settled in the territory of Lithuania after the last glacial period in the 10th millennium BC. Over a millennium, the Indo-Europeans, who arrived in the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC, mixed with the local population and formed various Baltic tribes. The first written mention of Lithuania is found in a medieval German manuscript, the Annals of Quedlinburg, in an entry dated 9 March 1009.

Lithuania: Medieval

Main article: Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Initially inhabited by fragmented Baltic tribes, in the 1230s the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, who was crowned as King of Lithuania on 6 July 1253. After his assassination in 1263, pagan Lithuania was a target of the Christian crusades of the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order. Despite the devastating century-long struggle with the Orders, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania expanded rapidly, overtaking former Slavic principalities of Kievan Rus'.

By the end of the 14th century, Lithuania was one of the largest countries in Europe and included present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia. The geopolitical situation between the west and the east determined the multicultural and multi-confessional character of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The ruling elite practised religious tolerance and Chancery Slavonic language was used as an auxiliary language to the Latin for official documents.

Trakai Island Castle
Battle of Grunwald and Vytautas the Great in the centre

In 1385, the Grand Duke Jogaila accepted Poland's offer to become its king. Jogaila embarked on gradual Christianization of Lithuania and established a personal union between Poland and Lithuania. It implied that Lithuania, the fiercely independent land, was one of the last pagan areas of Europe to adopt Christianity.

After two civil wars, Vytautas the Great became the Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1392. During his reign, Lithuania reached the peak of its territorial expansion, centralization of the state began, and the Lithuanian nobility became increasingly prominent in state politics. In the great Battle of the Vorskla River in 1399, the combined forces of Tokhtamysh and Vytautas were defeated by the Mongols. Thanks to close cooperation, the armies of Lithuania and Poland achieved a great victory over the Teutonic Knights in 1410 at the Battle of Grunwald, one of the largest battles of medieval Europe.

After the deaths of Jogaila and Vytautas, the Lithuanian nobility attempted to break the union between Poland and Lithuania, independently selecting Grand Dukes from the Jagiellon dynasty. But, at the end of the 15th century, Lithuania was forced to seek a closer alliance with Poland when the growing power of the Grand Duchy of Moscow threatened Lithuania's Russian principalities and sparked the Muscovite–Lithuanian Wars and the Livonian War.

Lithuania: Modern

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was created in 1569. As a member of the Commonwealth, Lithuania retained its institutions, including a separate army, currency, and statutory laws. Eventually Polonization affected all aspects of Lithuanian life: politics, language, culture, and national identity. From the mid-16th to the mid-17th centuries, culture, arts, and education flourished, fueled by the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. From 1573, the Kings of Poland and Grand Dukes of Lithuania were elected by the nobility, who were granted ever increasing Golden Liberties. These liberties, especially the liberum veto, led to anarchy and the eventual dissolution of the state.

During the Northern Wars (1655–1661), the Lithuanian territory and economy were devastated by the Swedish army. Before it could fully recover, Lithuania was ravaged during the Great Northern War (1700–1721). The war, a plague, and a famine caused the deaths of approximately 40% of the country's population. Foreign powers, especially Russia, became dominant in the domestic politics of the Commonwealth. Numerous factions among the nobility used the Golden Liberties to prevent any reforms. Eventually, the Commonwealth was partitioned in 1772, 1792, and 1795 by the Russian Empire, Prussia, and Habsburg Austria.

The largest area of Lithuanian territory became part of the Russian Empire. After unsuccessful uprisings in 1831 and 1863, the Tsarist authorities implemented a number of Russification policies. They banned the Lithuanian press, closed cultural and educational institutions, and made Lithuania part of a new administrative region called Northwestern Krai. The Russification failed owing to an extensive network of book smugglers and secret Lithuanian home schooling.

After the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), when German diplomats assigned what were seen as Russian spoils of war to Turkey, the relationship between Russia and the German Empire became complicated. The Russian Empire resumed the construction of fortresses at its western borders for defence against a potential invasion from Germany in the West. On 7 July 1879 the Russian Emperor Alexander II approved of a proposal from the Russian military leadership to build the largest "first-class" defensive structure in the entire state – the 65 km (25 sq mi) Kaunas Fortress. Large numbers of Lithuanians went to the United States in 1867–1868 after a famine. A Lithuanian National Revival laid the foundations of the modern Lithuanian nation and independent Lithuania.

Lithuania: 20th and 21st centuries

The original 20 members of the Council of Lithuania after signing the Act of Independence of Lithuania, 16 February 1918.

During World War I, the Council of Lithuania (Lietuvos Taryba) declared the independence of Lithuania and the re-establishment of the Lithuanian State on 16 February 1918. Lithuania's foreign policy was dominated by territorial disputes with Poland and Germany. The Vilnius Region and Vilnius, the historical capital of Lithuania (and so designated in the Constitution of Lithuania), were seized by the Polish army during Żeligowski's Mutiny in October 1920 and incorporated two years later into Poland. For 19 years, Kaunas became the temporary capital of Lithuania. The Polish control over Vilnius was greatly resented by Lithuania; there were no diplomatic relations between the two states for most of the period between the two World Wars.

Acquired during the Klaipėda Revolt of 1923, the Klaipėda Region (German: Memelland) was ceded to Nazi Germany after a German ultimatum of March 1939. During the interwar period, the domestic affairs of Lithuania were controlled by the authoritarian President Antanas Smetona and his party, the Lithuanian Nationalist Union, which came to power after the Lithuanian coup d'état of 1926.

Lithuania: 1939–1941

Main article: Occupation of the Baltic states

The Soviet Union returned Vilnius to Lithuania after the Soviet invasion of Eastern Poland in September 1939. In June 1940, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed Lithuania in accordance to the secret protocols of Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The occupation was followed by mass arrests and deportations with Lithuania having 34,000 citizens removed. According to a Lithuanian government official, this was the start of a planned removal of 700,000 from Lithuania.

Lithuania: 1941–1944

Main article: German occupation of Lithuania during World War II
Further information: The Holocaust in Lithuania

A year later, the Soviet Union was attacked by Nazi Germany, leading to the Nazi occupation of Lithuania. The Germans and their collaborators immediately began to round up and murder civilians, including intellectuals, army officers, Romani people and Jews. By 1 December 1941, over 120,000 Lithuanian Jews, or 91–95% of Lithuania's pre-war Jewish community, had been killed.

10 of the 25 Lithuanian police battalions, working with the Nazi Einsatzkommando, were involved in the mass killings and are thought to have executed 78,000 people.

Lithuanian partisans did exist, but few supported the communists. Lithuanian army soldiers, who had been assigned to the 29th Rifle Corps of the Red Army, deserted or surrendered to the Germans in June 1941, resulting in the unit being disbanded in August 1941.

Lithuania: 1944–1991

Main article: Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic
Monument in Naujoji Vilnia in memory of the Soviet deportations from Lithuania.

After the retreat of the German armed forces, the Soviets reestablished the annexation of Lithuania in 1944. Under border changes promulgated at the Potsdam Conference of 1945, the former German Memelland, with its Baltic port Memel (Lithuanian: Klaipėda), was again transferred to Lithuania, which was now referred to as the Lithuanian SSR. Most of Memelland's German residents had fled the area in the final months of World War II.

As part of their program of nationalisation, collectivization and general sovietization of everyday life, the Soviets deported large numbers of Lithuanians to Siberia. From 1944 to 1952, approximately 100,000 Lithuanian partisans fought a guerrilla war against the Soviet system. An estimated 30,000 partisans and their supporters were killed; many more were arrested and deported to Siberian gulags. It is estimated that during World War II and the subsequent Soviet annexation, Lithuania lost 780,000 people.

The advent of perestroika and glasnost in the late 1980s allowed the establishment of Sąjūdis, an anti-Communist independence movement. After a landslide victory in elections to the Supreme Soviet, members of Sąjūdis proclaimed Lithuania's independence on 11 March 1990, making Lithuania the first Soviet republic to do so. The Soviet Union attempted to suppress the secession by imposing an economic blockade. On the night of 13 January 1991, Soviet troops attacked the Vilnius TV Tower, killing 14 Lithuanian civilians and wounding 600 others. On 31 July 1991, Soviet paramilitaries killed seven Lithuanian border guards on the Belarusian border in what became known as the Medininkai Massacre.

On 4 February 1991, Iceland became the first country to recognise Lithuania's independence. After the Soviet August Coup, independent Lithuania received wide official recognition, and joined the United Nations on 17 September 1991.

Lithuania: 1991–present

The last Russian troops left Lithuania on 31 August 1993, even earlier than they departed from East Germany. Lithuania, seeking closer ties with the West, applied for NATO membership in 1994. After a transition from a planned economy to a free market, Lithuania became a full member of NATO and the European Union in the spring of 2004 and a member of the Schengen Agreement on 21 December 2007.

Lithuania: Geography

Main article: Geography of Lithuania
The Geographic Centre of Europe is in Lithuania

Lithuania is located in Northern Europe and covers an area of 65,200 km (25,200 sq mi). It lies between latitudes 53° and 57° N, and mostly between longitudes 21° and 27° E (part of the Curonian Spit lies west of 21°). It has around 99 kilometres (61.5 mi) of sandy coastline, only about 38 kilometres (24 mi) of which face the open Baltic Sea, less than the other two Baltic Sea countries. The rest of the coast is sheltered by the Curonian sand peninsula. Lithuania's major warm-water port, Klaipėda, lies at the narrow mouth of the Curonian Lagoon (Lithuanian: Kuršių marios), a shallow lagoon extending south to Kaliningrad. The country's main and largest river, the Nemunas River, and some of its tributaries carry international shipping.

The Nemunas (Nieman) River between Lithuania and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast.

Lithuania lies at the edge of the North European Plain. Its landscape was smoothed by the glaciers of the last ice age, and is a combination of moderate lowlands and highlands. Its highest point is Aukštojas Hill at 294 metres (965 ft) in the eastern part of the country. The terrain features numerous lakes (Lake Vištytis, for example) and wetlands, and a mixed forest zone covers over 33% of the country.

After a re-estimation of the boundaries of the continent of Europe in 1989, Jean-George Affholder, a scientist at the Institut Géographique National (French National Geographic Institute), determined that the geographic centre of Europe was in Lithuania, at  / 54.900; 25.317 (Purnuškės (centre of gravity)), 26 kilometres (16 mi) north of Lithuania's capital city of Vilnius. Affholder accomplished this by calculating the centre of gravity of the geometrical figure of Europe.

Lithuania: Climate

Main article: Geography of Lithuania § Climate
Aukštaitija National Park
Sand dunes of Curonian Spit (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Lithuania's climate, which ranges between maritime and continental, is relatively mild. Average temperatures on the coast are −2.5 °C (27.5 °F) in January and 16 °C (61 °F) in July. In Vilnius the average temperatures are −6 °C (21 °F) in January and 17 °C (63 °F) in July. During the summer, 20 °C (68 °F) is common during the day while 14 °C (57 °F) is common at night; in the past, temperatures have reached as high as 30 or 35 °C (86 or 95 °F). Some winters can be very cold. −20 °C (−4 °F) occurs almost every winter. Winter extremes are −34 °C (−29 °F) in coastal areas and −43 °C (−45 °F) in the east of Lithuania.

The average annual precipitation is 800 mm (31.5 in) on the coast, 900 mm (35.4 in) in the Samogitia highlands and 600 mm (23.6 in) in the eastern part of the country. Snow occurs every year, it can snow from October to April. In some years sleet can fall in September or May. The growing season lasts 202 days in the western part of the country and 169 days in the eastern part. Severe storms are rare in the eastern part of Lithuania but common in the coastal areas.

The longest records of measured temperature in the Baltic area cover about 250 years. The data show warm periods during the latter half of the 18th century, and that the 19th century was a relatively cool period. An early 20th century warming culminated in the 1930s, followed by a smaller cooling that lasted until the 1960s. A warming trend has persisted since then.

Lithuania experienced a drought in 2002, causing forest and peat bog fires. The country suffered along with the rest of Northwestern Europe during a heat wave in the summer of 2006.

Climate data for Lithuania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.6
(54.7)
16.5
(61.7)
21.8
(71.2)
31.0
(87.8)
34.0
(93.2)
35.0
(95)
37.5
(99.5)
37.1
(98.8)
35.1
(95.2)
26.0
(78.8)
18.5
(65.3)
15.6
(60.1)
37.5
(99.5)
Average high °C (°F) −1.7
(28.9)
−1.3
(29.7)
2.3
(36.1)
9.4
(48.9)
16.5
(61.7)
19.9
(67.8)
20.9
(69.6)
20.6
(69.1)
15.8
(60.4)
9.9
(49.8)
3.5
(38.3)
−0.1
(31.8)
9.5
(49.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.9
(25)
−3.5
(25.7)
−0.1
(31.8)
5.5
(41.9)
11.6
(52.9)
15.2
(59.4)
16.7
(62.1)
16.1
(61)
12.2
(54)
7.0
(44.6)
1.8
(35.2)
−1.7
(28.9)
6.2
(43.2)
Average low °C (°F) −6.3
(20.7)
−6.6
(20.1)
−2.8
(27)
1.5
(34.7)
7.0
(44.6)
10.5
(50.9)
12.2
(54)
11.9
(53.4)
8.3
(46.9)
4.0
(39.2)
0.1
(32.2)
−3.7
(25.3)
2.7
(36.9)
Record low °C (°F) −40.5
(−40.9)
−42.9
(−45.2)
−37.5
(−35.5)
−23.0
(−9.4)
−6.8
(19.8)
−2.8
(27)
0.9
(33.6)
−2.9
(26.8)
−6.3
(20.7)
−19.5
(−3.1)
−23.0
(−9.4)
−34.0
(−29.2)
−42.9
(−45.2)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 36.2
(1.425)
30.1
(1.185)
33.9
(1.335)
42.9
(1.689)
52.0
(2.047)
69.0
(2.717)
76.9
(3.028)
77.0
(3.031)
60.3
(2.374)
49.9
(1.965)
50.4
(1.984)
47.0
(1.85)
625.5
(24.626)
Source #1: Records of Lithuanian climate
Source #2: Weatherbase

Lithuania: Politics

Main articles: Politics of Lithuania and Elections in Lithuania
Dalia Grybauskaitė, has been the president of Lithuania since 12 July 2009.

Since Lithuania declared the restoration of its independence on 11 March 1990, it has maintained strong democratic traditions. It held its first independent general elections on 25 October 1992, in which 56.75% of voters supported the new constitution. There were intense debates concerning the constitution, particularly the role of the president. A separate referendum was held on 23 May 1992 to gauge public opinion on the matter, and 41% of voters supported the restoration of the President of Lithuania. Through compromise, a semi-presidential system was agreed on.

The Lithuanian head of state is the president, directly elected for a five-year term and serving a maximum of two terms. The president oversees foreign affairs and national security, and is the commander-in-chief of the military. The president also appoints the prime minister and, on the latter's nomination, the rest of the cabinet, as well as a number of other top civil servants and the judges for all courts.

Seimas - (Parliament of Lithuania)

The current Lithuanian head of state, Dalia Grybauskaitė was elected on 17 May 2009, becoming the first female president in the country's history, and the second female head of state in the Baltic States after Latvia elected their first female political leader in 1999. Dalia Grybauskaitė was re-elected for a second term in 2014.

The judges of the Constitutional Court (Konstitucinis Teismas) serve nine-year terms. They are appointed by the President, the Chairman of the Seimas, and the Chairman of the Supreme Court, each of whom appoint three judges. The unicameral Lithuanian parliament, the Seimas, has 141 members who are elected to four-year terms. 71 of the members of its members are elected in single member constituencies, and the others in a nationwide vote by proportional representation. A party must receive at least 5% of the national vote to be eligible for any of the 70 national seats in the Seimas.

Lithuania: Administrative divisions

Main article: Administrative divisions of Lithuania
See also: Counties of Lithuania, Municipalities of Lithuania, and Elderships of Lithuania

The current system of administrative division was established in 1994 and modified in 2000 to meet the requirements of the European Union. The country's 10 counties (Lithuanian: singular – apskritis, plural – apskritys) are subdivided into 60 municipalities (Lithuanian: singular – savivaldybė, plural – savivaldybės), and further divided into 500 elderships (Lithuanian: singular – seniūnija, plural – seniūnijos).

Municipalities have been the most important unit of administration in Lithuania since the system of county governorship (apskrities viršininkas) was dissolved in 2010. Some municipalities are historically called "district municipalities" (often shortened to "district"), while others are called "city municipalities" (sometimes shortened to "city"). Each has its own elected government. The election of municipality councils originally occurred every three years, but now takes place every four years. The council appoints elders to govern the elderships. Mayors have been directly elected since 2015; prior to that, they were appointed by the council.

Elderships, numbering over 500, are the smallest administrative units and do not play a role in national politics. They provide necessary local public services-for example, registering births and deaths in rural areas. They are most active in the social sector, identifying needy individuals or families and organizing and distributing welfare and other forms of relief. Some citizens feel that elderships have no real power and receive too little attention, and that they could otherwise become a source of local initiative for addressing rural problems.

County Area (km) Population(thousands) in 2015 Nominal GDP billions EUR in 2015 Nominal GDP billions USD in 2015 Nominal GDP per capita EUR in 2015 Nominal GDP per capita USD in 2015
Alytus County 5,425 149 1.2 1.3 8,300 9,100
Kaunas County 8,089 585 7.4 8.1 12,700 14,000
Klaipėda County 5,209 328 4.3 4.7 13,200 14,500
Marijampolė County 4,463 153 1.2 1.3 7,900 8,700
Panevėžys County 7,881 237 2.3 2.5 9,700 10,700
Šiauliai County 8,540 284 2.7 3.0 9,600 10,600
Tauragė County 4,411 104 0.7 0.8 7,200 8,000
Telšiai County 4,350 145 1.3 1.5 9,300 10,200
Utena County 7,201 141 1.2 1.3 8,300 9,100
Vilnius County 9,729 807 15.1 16.6 18,700 20,600
Lithuania 65,300 2907 37.2 41.0 12,900 14,200

Lithuania: Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of Lithuania
Lithuania is a member of the European Union

Lithuania became a member of the United Nations on 18 September 1991, and is a signatory to a number of its organizations and other international agreements. It is also a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as NATO and its adjunct North Atlantic Coordinating Council. Lithuania gained membership in the World Trade Organization on 31 May 2001, and currently seeks membership in the OECD and other Western organizations.

Lithuania has established diplomatic relations with 149 countries.

In 2011, Lithuania hosted the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Ministerial Council Meeting. During the second half of 2013, Lithuania assumed the role of the presidency of the European Union.

The stamp is dedicated to Lithuania's presidency of the European Union. Post of Lithuania, 2013.

Lithuania is also active in developing cooperation among northern European countries. It has been a member of the Baltic Council since its establishment in 1993. The Baltic Council, located in Tallinn, is a permanent organisation of international cooperation that operates through the Baltic Assembly and the Baltic Council of Ministers.

Lithuania also cooperates with Nordic and the two other Baltic countries through the NB8 format. A similar format, NB6, unites Nordic and Baltic members of EU. NB6's focus is to discuss and agree on positions before presenting them to the Council of the European Union and at the meetings of EU foreign affairs ministers.

The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) was established in Copenhagen in 1992 as an informal regional political forum. Its main aim is to promote integration and to close contacts between the region's countries. The members of CBSS are Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Russia, and the European Commission. Its observer states are Belarus, France, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine.

Lithuania was recently a member of the United Nations Security Council

The Nordic Council of Ministers and Lithuania engage in political cooperation to attain mutual goals and to determine new trends and possibilities for joint cooperation. The Council's information office aims to disseminate Nordic concepts and to demonstrate and promote Nordic cooperation.

Lithuania, together with the five Nordic countries and the two other Baltic countries, is a member of the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and cooperates in its NORDPLUS programme, which is committed to education.

The Baltic Development Forum (BDF) is an independent nonprofit organization that unites large companies, cities, business associations and institutions in the Baltic Sea region. In 2010 the BDF's 12th summit was held in Vilnius.

In 2013, Lithuania was elected to the United Nations Security Council for a two-year term, becoming the first Baltic country elected to this post.

Lithuania: Military

Main article: Lithuanian Armed Forces
Soldier of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces

The Lithuanian Armed Forces is the name for the unified armed forces of Lithuanian Land Force, Lithuanian Air Force, Lithuanian Naval Force, Lithuanian Special Operations Force and other units: Logistics Command, Training and Doctrine Command, Headquarters Battalion, Military Police. Directly subordinated to the Chief of Defence are the Special Operations Forces and Military Police. The Reserve Forces are under command of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces.

The Lithuanian Armed Forces consist of some 15,000 active personnel, which may be supported by reserve forces. Compulsory conscription ended in 2008 but was reintroduced in 2015. The Lithuanian Armed Forces currently have deployed personnel on international missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Mali and Somalia.

Lithuanian soldiers on the international NATO mission in Afghanistan

In March 2004, Lithuania became a full member of the NATO. Since then, fighter jets of NATO members are deployed in Zokniai airport and provide safety for the Baltic airspace.

Since the summer of 2005 Lithuania has been part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF), leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the town of Chaghcharan in the province of Ghor. The PRT includes personnel from Denmark, Iceland and USA. There are also special operation forces units in Afghanistan, placed in Kandahar Province. Since joining international operations in 1994, Lithuania has lost two soldiers: 1st Lt. Normundas Valteris fell in Bosnia, as his patrol vehicle drove over a mine. Sgt. Arūnas Jarmalavičius was fatally wounded during an attack on the camp of his Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan.

The Lithuanian National Defence Policy aims to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land, territorial waters and airspace, and its constitutional order. Its main strategic goals are to defend the country's interests, and to maintain and expand the capabilities of its armed forces so they may contribute to and participate in the missions of NATO and European Union member states.

The defense ministry is responsible for combat forces, search and rescue, and intelligence operations. The 5,000 border guards fall under the Interior Ministry's supervision and are responsible for border protection, passport and customs duties, and share responsibility with the navy for smuggling and drug trafficking interdiction. A special security department handles VIP protection and communications security.

Lithuania: Economy

Main article: Economy of Lithuania
GNI per capita(in 2015)
Confirmed state budget revenue projections in EUR per capita for 2016 in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Average monthly gross salaries in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Time period: 2016, 2nd quarter.
Graphical depiction of Lithuania's product exports in 28 color-coded categories.

Lithuanian GDP experienced very high real growth rates in the decade before 2009, peaking at 11.1% in 2007. As a result, the country was often termed as a Baltic Tiger. However, 2009 marked a dramatic decline in GDP at −14.9% attributed to overheating of the economy. The economy resumed growth in the following years at a lower but more sustainable pace, driven by domestic demand and exports rather than housing and financial bubbles. The unemployment rate was 9.1% at the end of 2015, down from 17.8% in 2010.

Swedbank headquarters in Vilnius
Lithuania is part of a monetary union, the eurozone (dark blue), and of the EU single market.

Lithuania has a flat tax rate rather than a progressive scheme. According to Eurostat, the personal income tax (15%) and corporate tax (15%) rates in Lithuania are among the lowest in the EU. The country has the lowest implicit rate of tax on capital (9.8%) in the EU. Lithuania also has the lowest overall taxation as a percentage of GDP (27.2) in the European Union

Lithuanian income levels are somewhat lower than in older EU Member States but higher than in most new EU Member States that have joined in the last decade. According to Eurostat data, Lithuanian GDP per capita(PPP) stood at 75% of the EU average in 2015. Average annual wage (before taxes, for full-time employees) in Lithuania stood at around $10,000, still around 1/5 of that in the richest EU member states in 2015.

Structurally, there is a gradual but consistent shift towards a knowledge-based economy with special emphasis on biotechnology (industrial and diagnostic). The major biotechnology companies and laser manufacturers (Ekspla, Šviesos Konversija) of the Baltics are concentrated in Lithuania. Also mechatronics and information technology (IT) are seen as prospective knowledge-based economy directions.

In 2009, Barclays established Technology Centre Lithuania – one of four strategic engineering centres supporting the Barclays Retail Banking businesses across the globe. In 2011, Western Union officially opened their new European Regional Operating Centre in Vilnius. The stated position of the Lithuanian government is that the focus of Lithuanian economy is high added-value products and services. Among other international companies operating in Lithuania are: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Societe Generale, UniCredit, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Phillip Morris, Kraft Foods, Mars, Marks & Spencer, GlaxoSmithKline, United Colors of Benetton, Deichmann, Statoil, Neste Oil, Lukoil, Tele2, Hesburger and Modern Times Group. TeliaSonera, ICA and Carlsberg respectively own local telecommunications company Omnitel, retailer Rimi and beer breweries (Švyturys, Kalnapilis and Utenos Alus). Lithuanian banking sector is dominated by the Scandinavian banks: Swedbank, SEB, Nordea, Danske Bank, DNB ASA.

Among the biggest private owned Lithuanian companies are: ORLEN Lietuva, Maxima Group, Achema Group, Lukoil Baltija, Linas Agro Group, Indorama Polymers Europe, Palink, Sanitex. Corporate tax rate in Lithuania is 15% and 5% for small businesses. The government offers special incentives for investments into the high-technology sectors and high value-added products. Most of the trade Lithuania conducts is within the European Union and Russia.

The litas was the national currency until 2015, when it was replaced by the euro at the rate of EUR 1.00 = LTL 3.45280. Litas had been pegged to the euro at this rate since 2 February 2002.

Lithuania: Infrastructure

Lithuania: Communication

Main article: Telecommunications in Lithuania

According to the Speedtest.net website, as of 30 October 2011 Lithuania ranks first in the world by the internet upload speed and download speed, schools and corporations ignored. The high speeds are largely due to Lithuania having the EU's and Europe's most available FTTH network. According to a yearly study published by the FTTH Council Europe in 2013, the country has connected 100% of households to the FTTH network. 31% of these households are subscribers to this network at the time of publishing. Lithuania has thus Europe's most available fibre network and also has the highest FTTH penetration. Sweden has the next highest FTTH penetration with 23%.

Lithuania: Transport

Main article: Transport in Lithuania
Major highways in Lithuania
Construction of the dual-gauge railway track in Lithuania (Rail Baltica project)

The country boasts a well-developed modern infrastructure of railways, airports and four-lane highways. Lithuania has an extensive network of motorways. The best known motorways are A1, connecting Vilnius with Klaipėda via Kaunas, as well as A2, connecting Vilnius and Panevėžys. One of the most used is the European route E67 highway running from Warsaw to Tallinn, via Kaunas and Riga.

The Port of Klaipėda is the only commercial port in Lithuania. In a record year for the port, in 2011 45.5 million tons of cargo were handled (including Būtingė oil terminal figures), making it one of the biggest in the Baltic Sea.

Vilnius International Airport is the largest airport. It served 3.8 million passengers in 2016. Other international airports include Kaunas International Airport, Palanga International Airport and Šiauliai International Airport.

Lithuania received its first railway connection in the middle of the 19th century, when the Warsaw – Saint Petersburg Railway was constructed. It included a stretch from Daugavpils via Vilnius and Kaunas to Virbalis. The first and only still operating in the Baltic states Kaunas Railway Tunnel was completed in 1860. Lithuanian Railways' main network consists of 1,762 km (1,095 mi) of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11.8 in) broad gauge railway of which 122 km (76 mi) are electrified. They also operate 115 km (71 mi) of standard gauge lines. The Trans-European standard gauge Rail Baltica railway, linking Helsinki–Tallinn–Riga–Kaunas–Warsaw and continuing on to Berlin is under construction.

Lithuania: Energy

Main article: Energy in Lithuania

Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant was a Soviet-era nuclear station. Unit No. 1 was closed in December 2004, as a condition of Lithuania's entry into the European Union; the plant is similar to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in its lack of a robust containment structure. The remaining unit, as of 2006, supplied about 70% of Lithuania's electrical demand. Unit No. 2 was closed down on 31 December 2009. Proposals have been made to construct another – Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant in Lithuania. However, a non-binding referendum held in October 2012 clouded the prospects for the Visaginas project, as 63% of voters said no to a new nuclear power plant.

The country's main primary source of electrical power is Elektrėnai Power Plant. Other primary sources of Lithuania's electrical power are Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant and Kaunas Hydroelectric Power Plant. Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant is the only in the Baltic states power plant to be used for regulation of the power system's operation with generating capacity of 900 MW for at least 12 hours. As of 2015, 66% of electrical power was imported.

Lithuania: Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Lithuania
Population of Lithuania (in millions), 1950–2010

Since the Neolithic period the native inhabitants of the Lithuanian territory have not been replaced by any other ethnic group, so there is a high probability that the inhabitants of present-day Lithuania have preserved the genetic composition of their forebears relatively undisturbed by the major demographic movements, although without being actually isolated from them. The Lithuanian population appears to be relatively homogeneous, without apparent genetic differences among ethnic subgroups.

A 2004 analysis of MtDNA in the Lithuanian population revealed that Lithuanians are close to the Slavic and Finno-Ugric speaking populations of Northern and Eastern Europe. Y-chromosome SNP haplogroup analysis showed Lithuanians to be closest to Latvians and Estonians.

According to 2014 estimates, the age structure of the population was as follows: 0–14 years, 13.5% (male 243,001/female 230,674); 15–64 years: 69.5% (male 1,200,196/female 1,235,300); 65 years and over: 16.8% (male 207,222/female 389,345). The median age was 41.2 years (male: 38.5, female: 43.7).

Lithuania has a sub-replacement fertility rate: the total fertility rate (TFR) in Lithuania is 1.59 children born/woman (2015 estimates). As of 2014, 29% of births were to unmarried women. The age at first marriage in 2013 was 27 years for women and 29.3 years for men.

Lithuania: Ethnic groups

Main article: Ethnic minorities in Lithuania
Residents of Lithuania by ethnicity (2015)
Lithuanians
86.7%
Poles
5.6%
Russians
4.8%
Belarusians
1.3%
Ukrainians
0.7%
Others
0.9%

Ethnic Lithuanians make up about five-sixths of the country's population and Lithuania has the most homogenous population in the Baltic States. In 2015, the population of Lithuania stands at 2 921,262, 86.7% of whom are ethnic Lithuanians who speak Lithuanian, which is the official language of the country. Several sizable minorities exist, such as Poles (5.6%), Russians (4.8%), Belarusians (1.3%) and Ukrainians (0.7%).

Poles are the largest minority, concentrated in southeast Lithuania (the Vilnius region). Russians are the second largest minority, concentrated mostly in two cities. They constitute sizeable minorities in Vilnius (12%) and Klaipėda (19.6%), and a majority in the town of Visaginas (52%). About 3,000 Roma live in Lithuania, mostly in Vilnius, Kaunas and Panevėžys; their organizations are supported by the National Minority and Emigration Department. For centuries a small Tatar community has flourished in Lithuania.

The official language is Lithuanian. Other languages, such as Russian, Polish, Belarusian and Ukrainian, are spoken in the larger cities, in the Šalčininkai District Municipality and the Vilnius District Municipality. Yiddish is spoken by members of the tiny remaining Jewish community in Lithuania. According to the Lithuanian population census of 2011, about 85% of the country's population speak Lithuanian as their native language, 7,2% are native speakers of Russian and 5,3% of Polish. According to the Eurobarometer survey conducted in 2012, 80% of Lithuanians can speak Russian and 38% can speak English. Most Lithuanian schools teach English as the first foreign language, but students may also study German, or, in some schools, French or Russian. Schools where Russian or Polish are the primary languages of education exist in the areas populated by these minorities.

Lithuania: Urbanization

See also: List of cities in Lithuania

There has been a steady movement of population to the cities since the 1990s, encouraged by the planning of regional centres, such as Alytus, Marijampolė, Utena, Plungė, and Mažeikiai. By the early 21st century, about two-thirds of the total population lived in urban areas. As of 2015, 66.5% of the total population lives in urban areas. The largest city is Vilnius, followed by Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, and Panevėžys.

Largest cities or towns in Lithuania
Statistics Lithuania (2015)
Rank Name County Pop. Rank Name County Pop.
Vilnius
Vilnius
Kaunas
Kaunas
1 Vilnius Vilnius 542,990 11 Kėdainiai Kaunas 25,107 Klaipėda
Klaipėda
Šiauliai
Šiauliai
2 Kaunas Kaunas 299,466 12 Telšiai Telšiai 24,855
3 Klaipėda Klaipėda 155,032 13 Tauragė Tauragė 24,681
4 Šiauliai Šiauliai 103,676 14 Ukmergė Vilnius 21,981
5 Panevėžys Panevėžys 94,399 15 Visaginas Utena 20,028
6 Alytus Alytus 55,012 16 Kretinga Klaipėda 19,999
7 Mažeikiai Telšiai 38,120 17 Radviliškis Šiauliai 18,882
8 Marijampolė Marijampolė 37,914 18 Plungė Telšiai 18,717
9 Jonava Kaunas 28,719 19 Vilkaviškis Marijampolė 16,707
10 Utena Utena 27,120 20 Šilutė Klaipėda 16,686
Map of the 20 largest cities or towns in Lithuania

Lithuania: Functional urban areas

Functional urban areas Population(thousands)
2014
Vilnius 693
Kaunas 391

Lithuania: Health

Main article: Health in Lithuania

As of 2015 Lithuanian life expectancy at birth was 73.4 (67.4 years for males and 78.8 for females) and the infant mortality rate was 6.2 per 1,000 births. The annual population growth rate increased by 0.3% in 2007. At 33.5 people per 100,000 in 2012, Lithuania has seen a dramatic rise in suicides in the post-Soviet years, and now records the fourth highest age-standardized suicide rate in the world, according to WHO. Lithuania also has the highest homicide rate in the EU.

Lithuania: Religion

Main article: Religion in Lithuania
Hill of Crosses near Šiauliai

As per the 2011 census, 77.2% of Lithuanians belonged to the Roman Catholic Church. The Church has been the majority denomination since the Christianisation of Lithuania at the end of the 14th century. The Reformation did not impact Lithuania to a great extent as seen in Estonia or Latvia as generally only local Germans in the Klaipėda area turned Protestant, while Lithuanians and Poles remained Catholic, and Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians-Eastern Orthodox. Some priests actively led the resistance against the Communist regime (symbolised by the Hill of Crosses).

Residents of Lithuania by religion (2011)
Roman Catholic
77.2%
Orthodox
4.1%
Orthodox (Old Believers)
0.8%
Lutheran
0.6%
Reformed
0.2%
Others
0.9%
No religion
6.1%
Did not specify
10.1%

4.1% are Eastern Orthodox, mainly among the Russian minority.

Protestants are 0.8%, of which 0.6% are Lutheran and 0.2% are Reformed. According to Losch (1932), the Lutherans were 3.3% of the total population; they were mainly Germans in the Memel territory (now Klaipėda). There was also a tiny Reformed community which still persists. Protestantism has declined with the removal of the German population, and today it is mainly represented by ethnic Lithuanians throughout the northern and western parts of the country, as well as large urban areas. Believers and clergy suffered greatly during the Soviet occupation, with many killed, tortured or deported to Siberia. Newly arriving evangelical churches have established missions in Lithuania since 1990.

6.1% have no religion.

Lithuania was historically home to a significant Jewish community and was an important center of Jewish scholarship and culture from the 18th century until the eve of World War II. Prior to the war, the Jewish population, outside of the Vilnius region (which was then in Poland), numbered about 160,000. In September 1939, tens of thousands of Polish Jews became Lithuanian subjects when the Soviets transferred the Vilnius region (of the former Polish state) to Lithuania and additional Jewish refugees arrived in Lithuania during the period prior to June 1941. Of the approximately 220,000 Jews who lived in the Republic of Lithuania in June 1941, almost all were entirely annihilated during the Holocaust. The community numbered about 4,000 at the end of 2009.

Wooden church in Palūšė. Lithuania has strong Roman Catholic traditions.
Cathedral of the Theotokos, Russian Orthodox Church.
Choral Synagogue of Vilnius, the only synagogue in the city to survive the Nazi Holocaust.

According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll in 2010, 47% of Lithuanian citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", 37% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force", and 12% said that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".

Lithuania: Education

Main article: Education in Lithuania
Vilnius University, one of the oldest universities in Eastern and Central Europe

The first documented school in Lithuania was established in 1387 at Vilnius Cathedral. The school network was influenced by the Christianization of Lithuania. Several types of schools were present in medieval Lithuania – cathedral schools, where pupils were prepared for priesthood; parish schools, offering elementary education; and home schools dedicated to educating the children of the Lithuanian nobility. Before Vilnius University was established in 1579, Lithuanians seeking higher education attended universities in foreign cities, including Kraków, Prague, and Leipzig, among others. During the Interbellum a national university – Vytautas Magnus University was founded in Kaunas.

The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania proposes national educational policies and goals. These are sent to the Seimas for ratification. Laws govern long-term educational strategy along with general laws on standards for higher education, vocational training, law and science, adult education, and special education. County administrators, municipal administrators, and school founders (including non-governmental organizations, religious organizations, and individuals) are responsible for implementing these policies. By constitutional mandate, ten years of formal enrollment in an educational institution is mandatory, ending at age 16.

Raudonė Basic School, located in Raudonė Castle

14.7% of the 2014 state budget was allocated to education expenses. Primary and secondary schools receive funding from the state via their municipal or county administrations. The Constitution of Lithuania guarantees tuition-free attendance at public institutions of higher education for students deemed 'good'; the number of such students has varied over the past decade, with 53.5% exempted from tuition fees in 2014.

The World Bank designates the literacy rate of Lithuanian persons aged 15 years and older as 100% and, according to Eurostat Lithuania leads among other countries of EU by people with secondary education (93.3%). As of 2012, 34% of the population aged 25 to 64 had completed tertiary education; 59.1% had completed upper secondary and post-secondary (non-tertiary) education. According to Invest in Lithuania, Lithuania has twice as many people with higher education than the EU-15 average and the proportion is the highest in the Baltic. Also, 90% of Lithuanians speak at least one foreign language and half of the population speaks two foreign languages, mostly Russian and English.

As with other Baltic nations, in particular Latvia, the large volume of higher education graduates within the country, coupled with the high rate of spoken second languages is contributing to an education brain drain. Many Lithuanians are choosing to emigrate seeking higher earning employment and studies throughout Europe. Since their inclusion into the European Union in 2004, Lithuania's population has fallen by approximately 180,000 people.

As of 2008, there were 15 public universities in Lithuania, 6 private institutions, 16 public colleges, and 11 private colleges. Vilnius University is one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe and the largest university in Lithuania. Kaunas University of Technology is the largest technical university in the Baltic States and the 2nd largest university in Lithuania. Other universities include Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Lithuanian University of Educology, Vytautas Magnus University, Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, The General Jonas Zemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, Klaipėda University, Lithuanian Veterinary Academy, Lithuanian University of Agriculture, Šiauliai University, Vilnius Academy of Art, and LCC International University.

Lithuania: Culture

Main article: Culture of Lithuania

Lithuania: Lithuanian language

Main article: Lithuanian language

The Lithuanian language (lietuvių kalba) is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 0.2 million abroad.

Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they are not mutually intelligible. It is written in an adapted version of the Roman script. Lithuanian is believed to be the linguistically most conservative living Indo-European tongue, retaining many features of Proto Indo-European.

Lithuania: Literature

Main article: Lithuanian literature
The first Lithuanian printed book Catechism of Martynas Mažvydas (1547, Königsberg)

There is a great deal of Lithuanian literature written in Latin, the main scholarly language of the Middle Ages. The edicts of the Lithuanian King Mindaugas is the prime example of the literature of this kind. The Letters of Gediminas are another crucial heritage of the Lithuanian Latin writings.

Lithuanian literary works in the Lithuanian language started being first published in the 16th century. In 1547 Martynas Mažvydas compiled and published the first printed Lithuanian book The Simple Words of Catechism, which marks the beginning of printed Lithuanian literature. He was followed by Mikalojus Daukša with Katechizmas. In the 16th and 17th centuries, as in the whole Christian Europe, Lithuanian literature was primarily religious.

The evolution of the old (14th–18th century) Lithuanian literature ends with Kristijonas Donelaitis, one of the most prominent authors of the Age of Enlightenment. Donelaitis' poem The Seasons is a landmark of the Lithuanian fiction literature.

With a mix of Classicism, Sentimentalism and Romanticism, the Lithuanian literature of the first half of the 19th century is represented by Maironis, Antanas Baranauskas, Simonas Daukantas and Simonas Stanevičius. During the Tsarist annexation of Lithuania in the 19th century, the Lithuanian press ban was implemented, which led to the formation of the Knygnešiai (Book smugglers) movement. This movement is thought to be the very reason the Lithuanian language and literature survived until today.

20th-century Lithuanian literature is represented by Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas, Antanas Vienuolis, Bernardas Brazdžionis, Vytautas Mačernis and Justinas Marcinkevičius.

Lithuania: Arts and museums

Main article: List of museums in Lithuania
Jonas Mekas is regarded as godfather of American avant-garde cinema

The Lithuanian Art Museum was founded in 1933 and is the largest museum of art conservation and display in Lithuania. Among other important museums is the Palanga Amber Museum, where amber pieces comprise a major part of the collection.

Perhaps the most renowned figure in Lithuania's art community was the composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875–1911), an internationally renowned musician. The 2420 Čiurlionis asteroid, identified in 1975, honors his achievements. The M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum, as well as the only military museum in Lithuania, Vytautas the Great War Museum, are located in Kaunas.

Lithuania: Music

Main article: Music of Lithuania

Lithuanian folk music belongs to Baltic music branch which is connected with neolithic corded ware culture. Two instrument cultures meet in the areas inhabited by Lithuanians: stringed (kanklių) and wind instrument cultures. Lithuanian folk music is archaic, mostly used for ritual purposes, containing elements of paganism faith. There are three ancient styles of singing in Lithuania connected with ethnographical regions: monophony, heterophony and polyphony. Folk song genres: Sutartinės, Wedding Songs, War-Historical Time Songs, Calendar Cycle and Ritual Songs and Work Songs.

Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis is the most renowned Lithuanian painter and composer. During his short life he created about 200 pieces of music. His works have had profound influence on modern Lithuanian culture. His symphonic poems In the Forest (Miške) and The Sea (Jūra) were performed only posthumously.

Vytautas Miškinis (born 1954) is a professor, composer and choir director of the famous Lithuanian boys' choir Ąžuoliukas. He is very popular in Lithuania and abroad. He has written over 400 secular and about 160 religious works.

In Lithuania, choral music is very important. Vilnius is the only city with three choirs laureates (Brevis, Jauna Muzika and Chamber Choir of the Conservatoire) at the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. There is a long-standing tradition of the Lithuanian Song and Dance Festival (Dainų Šventė). The first one took place in Kaunas in 1924. Since 1990, the festival has been organised every four years and summons roughly 30,000 singers and folk dancers of various professional levels and age groups from across the country. In 2008, Lithuanian Song and Dance Festival together with its Latvian and Estonian versions was inscribed as UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Marijonas Mikutavičius is famous for creating unofficial Lithuania sport anthem "Trys milijonai" (English: Three million).

Lithuania: Cuisine

Main article: Lithuanian cuisine
Cepelinai, a potato-based dumpling dish characteristic of Lithuanian cuisine

Lithuanian cuisine features the products suited to the cool and moist northern climate of Lithuania: barley, potatoes, rye, beets, greens, berries, and mushrooms are locally grown, and dairy products are one of its specialties. Since it shares its climate and agricultural practices with Northern Europe, Lithuanian cuisine has some similarities to Scandinavian cuisine. Nevertheless, it has its own distinguishing features, which were formed by a variety of influences during the country's long and difficult history.

Because of their common heritage, Lithuanians, Poles, and Ashkenazi Jews share many dishes and beverages. Namely, similar versions of: dumplings (koldūnai, kreplach or pierogi), doughnuts spurgos or (pączki), and blynai crêpes (blintzes). German traditions also influenced Lithuanian cuisine, introducing pork and potato dishes, such as potato pudding (kugelis or kugel) and potato sausages (vėdarai), as well as the baroque tree cake known as Šakotis. The most exotic of all the influences is Eastern (Karaite) cuisine, and the dishes kibinai and čeburekai are popular in Lithuania. Torte Napoleon was introduced during Napoleon's passage through Lithuania in the 19th century.

Lithuania: Sports

Main article: Sport in Lithuania
Lithuania men's national basketball team is ranked 5th worldwide in FIBA Rankings.
Rūta Meilutytė – Olympic, multiple World and European champion.

Basketball is the national sport of Lithuania. The Lithuania national basketball team has had significant success in international basketball events, having won the EuroBasket on three occasions (1937, 1939 and 2003), as well a total of 8 other medals in the Eurobasket, the World Championships and the Olympic Games. Lithuania hosted the Eurobasket in 1939 and 2011. The historic Lithuanian basketball team BC Žalgiris, from Kaunas, won the European basketball league Euroleague in 1999. Lithuania has produced a number of NBA players, including Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees Arvydas Sabonis and Šarūnas Marčiulionis and current NBA players Donatas Motiejūnas, Jonas Valančiūnas, Domantas Sabonis and Mindaugas Kuzminskas.

Lithuania has won a total of 25 medals at the Olympic Games, including 6 gold medals in athletics, modern pentathlon, shooting, and swimming. Numerous other Lithuanians won Olympic medals representing Soviet Union. Discuss thrower Virgilijus Alekna is the most successful Olympic athlete of independent Lithuania, having won gold medals in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens games, as well as a bronze in 2008 Beijing Olympics and numerous World Championship medals. More recently, the gold medal won by a then 15-year-old swimmer Rūta Meilutytė at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London sparked a rise in popularity for the sport in Lithuania.

Druskininkai Snow Arena

Lithuania has produced prominent athletes in athletics, modern pentathlon, road and track cycling, chess, rowing, aerobatics, strongman, wrestling, boxing, mixed martial arts, Kyokushin Karate and other sports.

Few Lithuanian athletes have found success in winter sports, although facilities are provided by several ice rinks and skiing slopes, including Snow Arena, the first indoor ski slope in the Baltics.

Lithuania: International rankings

The following are links to international rankings of Lithuania from selected research institutes and foundations including economic output and various composite indices.

Lithuania: See also

  • Index of Lithuania-related articles
  • List of Lithuanians
  • Outline of Lithuania

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  • The Lithuanian President – Official site of the President of the Republic of Lithuania
  • The Lithuanian Parliament – Official site of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania
  • The Lithuanian Government – Official site of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania
  • Chief of State and Cabinet Members
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  • Lithuania from UCB Libraries GovPubs
  • Lithuania at DMOZ
  • Lithuania from the BBC News
  • Wikimedia Atlas of Lithuania
  • Geographic data related to Lithuania at OpenStreetMap
  • Lietuva.lt/en – Lithuanian internet gates
  • Key Development Forecasts for Lithuania from International Futures
  • Heraldry of Lithuania
  • Lithuanian State Department of Tourism
  • Travel Channel movie about Lithuanian – "Essential Lithuania 2010"
  • www.travel.lt – The Official Lithuanian Travel Guide
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