This paper provides some key facts about Lithuania, its people and lots more. The country is one of three Baltic States and lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. It shares land borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) to the southwest. It has a maritime border with Sweden to the west on the Baltic Sea. Lithuania covers an area of 65,300 km2 (25,200 sq mi), with a population of 2.8 million. Its capital and largest city is Vilnius – other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipėda. Lithuanians belong to the ethno-linguistic group of the Balts and speak Lithuanian, one of only a few living Baltic languages.
Lithuania, a relatively small country, is dynamic with a rich cultural and historical heritage and a strong economy that continues to grow and develop.
Picture Credit: Official Portrait of Gitanas Nausėda [Cropped]
Attribution: Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gitanas_Naus%C4%97da_official_portrait.jpg
- Lithuania is known for its beautiful natural landscapes, including forests, lakes, and rivers. The country has a diverse cultural heritage, with influences from its pagan past, the Catholic Church, and its history as a former Soviet republic.
- Lithuania has a parliamentary democracy with a President (as the head of state) and a Prime Minister (as the head of government). The current President of Lithuania is Gitanas Nausėda, who took office in July 2019. The President was previously director of monetary policy at the Bank of Lithuania from 1996 until 2000 and chief economist to the chairman of SEB bankas from 2008 until 2018.
- The country’s economy is primarily based on services and industry, with key sectors including IT, biotechnology, and manufacturing.
- Lithuanian is the official language of the country, and it is spoken by the majority of the population. It has a rich literary tradition, with notable writers including Jonas Mekas, Czeslaw Milosz, and Antanas Baranauskas.
- Famous Lithuanians include basketball player Arvydas Sabonis, singer Andrius Mamontovas, and actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite.
- The majority of the population of Lithuania is Roman Catholic, although there is also a significant Protestant minority.
- Lithuania has a diversified economy, with industries such as manufacturing, services, and agriculture contributing to its GDP. The country’s main industries include electronics, machinery, textiles, and food processing. The currency used in Lithuania is the euro.
- Basketball is the most popular sport in Lithuania, and the country has a strong tradition in that sport. Other popular sports in Lithuania include football (soccer), volleyball, and athletics.
The cuisine of Lithuania is heavily influenced by its agricultural history and the local climate. Some of the traditional Lithuanian dishes include:
- Cepelinai – boiled potato dumplings filled with meat, curd cheese, or mushrooms, often served with sour cream and bacon bits.
- Kugelis – a potato dish made with grated potatoes, eggs, milk, onions, and sometimes bacon, usually served with sour cream.
- Koldūnai – small boiled or fried dumplings filled with meat, curd cheese, or mushrooms, often served with sour cream and bacon bits.
- Šaltibarščiai – cold beetroot soup made with boiled beets, cucumbers, dill, and sour cream.
- Bulviniai blynai – potato pancakes made with grated potatoes, eggs, and onions, often served with sour cream or applesauce.
- Skilandis – a smoked meat sausage made from ground pork and spices.
- Vėdarai – a sausage made from pig intestines filled with potatoes, onions, and meat.
- Saltibarsciai – cold beet soup made with beets and kefir, often served with boiled potatoes, dill, and hard-boiled eggs.
- Šakotis – a cake made from layers of batter dripped onto a rotating spit over an open fire, resulting in a tree-like shape.
- Ruginė duona – a dark rye bread often served with butter and cheese.
Lithuanian cuisine also includes a variety of dairy products, such as curd cheese (varškė), sour cream (grietinė), and kefir (kefyras), as well as locally sourced meats like pork, beef, and chicken.
Lithuanian cuisine is hearty and filling, with an emphasis on meat, potatoes, and other staples. The country is also known for its beer, which is brewed according to traditional methods.
Lithuania has many beautiful natural landscapes, including dense forests, sparkling lakes, and winding rivers. Some of the most famous natural attractions in Lithuania include:
- Curonian Spit: This long, narrow sand dune peninsula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination. It separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea and is known for its sandy beaches, picturesque fishing villages, and unique flora and fauna.
- Aukštaitija National Park: Located in northeastern Lithuania, this park is known for its pristine lakes, forests, and wetlands. It is a popular destination for hiking, fishing, and camping.
- Žemaitija National Park: This park is located in western Lithuania and is known for its rolling hills, dense forests, and pristine rivers. It is home to several historic sites and traditional villages.
- Dzukija National Park: This park is located in southern Lithuania and is known for its dense forests, sparkling lakes, and winding rivers. It is a popular destination for hiking and camping, as well as for spotting wildlife such as bison, wolves, and lynx.
These are just a few examples of the many beautiful natural landscapes that Lithuania has to offer. The country’s rich natural heritage is an important part of its identity and a source of pride for its people.
Lakes and Rivers
Lithuania is home to numerous lakes and rivers, many of which are located in its national parks and other protected areas.
There are about 6,000 lakes in Lithuania, covering 950 km², or 1.5% of the country. The lakes are not evenly distributed; most are situated in the Baltic Highlands, which begin near the border with Poland on the southeast and extend northward along the border with Belarus to Latvia. Some of the most famous lakes in Lithuania include:
- Lake Galve: This lake is located near the city of Trakai and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Lithuania. It is known for its clear waters and picturesque castle, which sits on an island in the middle of the lake.
- Lake Plateliai: This is the largest lake in western Lithuania and is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and swimming. It is located in Žemaitija National Park and is surrounded by rolling hills and dense forests.
- Lake Druksiai: This lake is located in northeastern Lithuania and is the largest lake in the country. It is known for its clear waters and is a popular destination for fishing and water sports.
Picture Credit: Drūkšiai Lake near Tilžė village, Zarasai district, Lithuania
Attribution: Hugo.arg, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dr%C5%ABk%C5%A1iai001.JPG
- Moraine-dammed lakes (Lithuanian: užtvenktiniai ežerai) formed when glacial moraines blocked glacier meltwater drainage. These lakes include Dysnai, Plateliai, and Vištytis.
- Kettle lakes (Lithuanian: guoliniai or termokarstiniai ežerai) formed when a large block of ice broke away from the edge of a retreating glacier and was buried under its sediments. After the block melted, a small depression was left in the landscape that filled with water. These lakes tend to be small, round, and quite deep. Due to their small size, most are unnamed.
- Residual lakes (Lithuanian: liekaniniai ežerai) are the remains of large lakes that formed immediately adjacent to melting ice caps. These lakes are large, shallow, and surrounded by wetlands and peat bogs. Examples include Rėkyva, Žuvintas, and Amalvas.
- Some lakes are of mixed origins, created when a dam was constructed, and the resulting reservoir flooded one or more lakes of glacial origin. Examples include Drūkšiai, Didžiulis or Daugai, and Galvė.
The lakes of non-glacial origins include:
- Oxbow lakes (Lithuanian: senvaginiai, salpiniai, or upiniai ežerai) are abundant. There are over 1,300 of them. The largest ones are located in the Neman River delta.
- Sinkhole lakes (Lithuanian: karstiniai ežerai) are prevalent in the Biržai district municipality. There are about 300 such lakes, although their surface area covers only 10 hectares. It has been suggested that most of them are interconnected.
- Underground lakes (Lithuanian: požeminiai ežerai) are also found in the Biržai district municipality. The largest one is in Cow’s Cave (Lithuanian: Karvės ola); its water temperature is a constant +4.5 degrees Celsius.
- A marine lake (Lithuanian: lagūniniai or jūriniai ežerai), Krokų Lanka, was formed when various drifts from the Neman River separated a part of the Curonian Lagoon. It is the only such lake in Lithuania.
- Reservoirs (Lithuanian: tvenkiniai or kūdros) were created when a river was dammed, or was excavated as a local project. There are about 3,400 such lakes, but only 340 are larger than 5 hectares. Most dams were built during the second part of the 20th century when the Soviet government authorities organised massive land use changes.
In addition to its lakes, Lithuania is also home to several important rivers. The longest river in Lithuania is the Nemunas, which flows for over 900 kilometres through the country and empties into the Baltic Sea. Other important rivers in Lithuania include the Neris, the Šventoji, and the Minija.
Many of Lithuania’s lakes and rivers are an important part of its cultural heritage and are celebrated in traditional songs, stories, and legends. They also play an important role in the country’s economy, providing water for agriculture and industry.
Lithuania has become an increasingly popular holiday destination in recent years, particularly among travellers interested in exploring the country’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty. The country offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors, including historic cities and castles, beautiful national parks and nature reserves, and a thriving arts and cultural scene.
Picture Credit: Trakai Island Castle, the former residence of the Grand Dukes and capital city of the medieval state
Attribution: BigHead, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Traku_pilis_by_Augustas_Didzgalvis.jpg
Some of the most popular tourist destinations in Lithuania include:
- Vilnius: The capital city of Lithuania is known for its beautiful Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also home to numerous museums, art galleries, and cultural festivals throughout the year.
- Trakai Castle: Located just outside of Vilnius, Trakai Castle is a 14th century fortress on an island in the middle of a picturesque lake. The castle is a popular destination for tourists interested in Lithuania’s medieval history and architecture.
- Curonian Spit: This narrow strip of land along the Baltic Sea is home to some of Lithuania’s most beautiful beaches and scenic landscapes. The area is also known for its traditional wooden architecture and fishing villages.
- Hill of Crosses: This unique pilgrimage site is located near Siauliai and is covered in thousands of crosses visitors have placed there over the years. The hill is a powerful symbol of Lithuania’s enduring faith and resilience.
Picture Credit: Hill of Crosses near Šiauliai [Cropped]
Attribution: Mannobult, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hill-of-crosses-siauliai.jpg
- Aukstaitija National Park: This beautiful nature reserve is home to forests, lakes, and rivers and is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the country’s cities and castles, hiking in its national parks, or simply relaxing on its beaches, there is something for everyone in this beautiful and welcoming country.
Lithuania’s Cultural Heritage
Lithuania has a rich and diverse cultural heritage shaped by its pagan past, its Christian history, and its experiences under foreign rule. Some of the key features of Lithuanian culture include:
- Folklore and mythology: Lithuania has a rich tradition of folklore and mythology, much of which is rooted in its pagan past. Many of the country’s traditional songs, stories, and legends celebrate the natural world and are full of references to forest spirits, witches, and other supernatural beings.
- Music and dance: Music and dance are an important part of Lithuanian culture and are often featured in traditional festivals and celebrations. The country is known for its distinctive folk music, which features complex vocal harmonies and a wide range of traditional instruments.
- Crafts and textiles: Lithuania has a long tradition of weaving and other textile arts, with many traditional patterns and techniques still in use today. The country is also known for its woodcarving, pottery, and other handicrafts.
Lithuania’s cultural heritage is a source of pride for its people and is celebrated in festivals and events throughout the year. Some of the most famous cultural events in Lithuania include the Song and Dance Celebration, which takes place every four years and showcases the country’s rich musical traditions, and the Kaziuko Mugė, a traditional fair that celebrates St. Casimir’s Day and features music, food, and handicrafts.
Lithuania is relatively poor in natural resources but has some notable reserves of certain minerals and other resources. Here are a few examples:
Picture Credit: Baltic amber was once a valuable trade resource. It was transported from the region of modern-day Lithuania to the Roman Empire and Egypt through the Amber Road.
Attribution: PrinWest Handelsagentur J. Kossowski, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Baltic-amber-colours.JPG
- Amber: Lithuania is known for its high-quality amber, a type of fossilised tree resin used for jewellery and other decorative purposes for thousands of years. The country’s amber reserves are among the largest in the world, and the gemstone is an important part of Lithuania’s cultural heritage.
- Peat: Lithuania has significant reserves of peat, which is a type of organic material that can be used as a fuel source. Peat is an important energy source in Lithuania, particularly in rural areas, and is also used for gardening and horticulture.
- Clay and sand: Lithuania has abundant reserves of clay and sand, which are used for various purposes, including construction, ceramics, and glass production.
- Timber: Lithuania has a significant forestry industry, with large areas of forested land covering much of the country. The country’s timber reserves are used for various purposes, including construction, furniture production, and paper manufacturing.
While Lithuania does not have vast reserves of natural resources, it has developed a diverse and dynamic economy based on its human capital, strategic location, and highly educated workforce. The country has also made significant investments in renewable energy and other sustainable technologies, helping to position it as a leader in the emerging green economy.
Before Lithuania’s Christianisation in the late 14th century, the country was home to a pagan religion worshipping a pantheon of gods and goddesses. Some of the key features of this religion included a reverence for nature and the natural world, as well as a belief in the power of ancestors and other supernatural beings.
Romuva is a neo-pagan movement derived from the traditional mythology of Lithuanians, attempting to reconstruct the religious rituals of the Lithuanians before their Christianisation in 1387. Practitioners of Romuva claim to continue Baltic pagan traditions, which survived in folklore, customs and superstition. Romuva is a polytheistic pagan faith which asserts the sanctity of nature and ancestor worship. Practising the Romuva faith is seen by many adherents as a form of cultural pride, along with celebrating traditional forms of art, retelling Baltic folklore, practising traditional holidays, playing traditional Baltic music, singing traditional dainos (songs), as well as ecological activism and stewarding sacred places.
Romuva primarily exists in Lithuania, but there are also congregations of adherents in Australia, Canada, Russia, the United States, and England. There are believers of Baltic pagan faiths in other nations, including Dievturība in Latvia. According to the 2001 census, there were approximately 1,200 people in Lithuania identifying with Romuva, but a decade later, that number jumped to around 5,100.
Many traditions and beliefs of Lithuania’s pagan past continue to influence its culture today, including its folklore, music, and art.
Catholicism took hold in Lithuania in the late 14th century when Grand Duke Jogaila converted to Christianity and brought the country into the fold of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church played an important role in the country’s cultural and political development, and many of Lithuania’s most famous historical figures, such as Grand Duke Vytautas and the poet Maironis, were devout Catholics.
Religiosity remains an important part of Lithuanian culture today, with over 75% of the population identifying as Catholic. The country is home to many beautiful churches, monasteries, and other religious sites, including the famous Hill of Crosses, a symbol of Lithuania’s enduring Catholic faith.
Other Religions in Lithuania
One of the largest non-Catholic religious groups in Lithuania is the Orthodox Church. Orthodoxy has a long history in Lithuania, and is particularly prominent in the eastern regions of the country. According to the Lithuanian census of 2011, around 4% of the population identified as Orthodox.
There are also smaller religious communities in Lithuania, including various Protestant denominations such as Lutherans, Evangelicals, and Baptists. Other religions represented in Lithuania include Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism, though these communities are relatively small. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of people in Lithuania who identify as having no religion, and this trend is particularly strong among younger generations. According to a survey conducted in 2019, nearly one-third of Lithuanians aged 15-29 identified as having no religion.
Despite the diversity of religious beliefs in Lithuania, the country remains predominantly Catholic, and the Catholic Church plays an important role in the country’s social and cultural life.
Viking Influence on the Culture of Lithuania
Lithuania has some Viking influences in its culture, particularly in its early history. The Vikings, known for their seafaring and trading prowess, are believed to have established trading routes and settlements in the Baltic region as early as the 8th century.
One of the most notable Viking influences in Lithuania is the famous “hill forts” or “castles” that can be found throughout the country. These structures were built in the early medieval period and were used for defensive purposes, as well as for trade and other economic activities. Many of these hill forts were located near important trade routes and waterways, reflecting the Vikings’ navigation and maritime trade expertise.
In addition to these physical structures, there are also cultural and linguistic influences that can be traced back to the Vikings. For example, some scholars believe that the Lithuanian word for “guest,” “svecias,” may have been borrowed from the Old Norse language spoken by the Vikings. Similarly, some elements of Lithuanian folklore and mythology, such as tales of sea monsters and other mythical creatures, may have been influenced by Viking culture and beliefs.
The Viking influence on Lithuanian culture may be relatively small compared to other influences, but it highlights the country’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and underscores its position as a crossroads of European history and culture.
Throughout its history, Lithuania has experienced periods of foreign rule and domination. In the 18th century, Lithuania was partitioned between Prussia, Russia, and Austria and remained under foreign control until the end of World War I. During World War II, Lithuania was occupied first by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. The country suffered greatly during this period, with many citizens being killed or deported to concentration camps. After the war, Lithuania became part of the Soviet Union and remained under communist rule until 1990, when it declared its independence and became a democratic republic.
Lithuania’s experiences under foreign rule have had a profound impact on its culture and identity and continue to shape the country’s relationship with the rest of Europe and the world.
Lithuania’s history as a former Soviet republic and its transition to democracy
Lithuania became part of the Soviet Union in 1940 after being occupied by Soviet forces following the signing of a secret pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Under Soviet rule, Lithuania experienced significant repression and political control, with dissent and opposition to the regime often met with harsh punishment.
In the late 1980s, as the Soviet Union began to experience political and economic turmoil, a movement for Lithuanian independence began to gather steam. In 1989, Lithuania’s parliament declared independence from the Soviet Union, but the move was not recognised by Moscow.
In January 1991, Soviet troops attempted to seize control of key government buildings in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, leading to a violent confrontation that resulted in the deaths of 14 people. Despite this setback, Lithuania continued to press for independence, and in September 1991, the Soviet Union officially recognised Lithuania’s independence.
Since then, Lithuania has undergone a significant transformation, transitioning from a one-party communist state to a democracy. The country has held free and fair elections, established a multi-party political system, and implemented economic reforms aimed at modernizing the country’s economy.
Today, Lithuania is a member of the European Union and NATO and has become an important player on the international stage. The country continues to face challenges, including corruption and economic inequality, but remains committed to building a prosperous and democratic future for its citizens.
Past Royalty and Transition from Monarchist Rule to Democracy
Lithuania’s history as a monarchy dates back to the 13th century when the country was ruled by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, initially headed by a Grand Duke. Over the centuries, the Grand Duchy grew in power and influence, eventually becoming one of the largest and most powerful states in Europe.
In the 16th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania entered into a union with the Kingdom of Poland, forming the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Under this system, the country was ruled by a monarch, with the position of king alternating between Polish and Lithuanian nobles.
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth lasted until the late 18th century, when it was partitioned by neighbouring powers and ceased to exist as a political entity. After this period, Lithuania was ruled by various foreign powers, including Russia, Germany, and the Soviet Union.
Lithuania’s transition to democracy began in the late 1980s, as the country started to push for independence from the Soviet Union. In 1990, Lithuania held its first free and democratic elections and adopted a new constitution that established a parliamentary republic. Since then, Lithuania has held multiple free and fair elections and has established a multi-party political system. Lithuania remains a democratic republic, with a president as the head of state and a parliament as the legislative body.
Famous Sportsmen and Women
Lithuania has a rich history in sports, with a particular emphasis on basketball. Here are some of Lithuania’s most famous athletes:
- Arvydas Sabonis: Sabonis is considered one of Lithuanian’s greatest basketball players. He played for the Soviet Union national team in the 1980s and 1990s and later for the Lithuanian national team after the country gained independence. He also had a successful career in the United States, playing for the Portland Trail Blazers and the Spanish Real Madrid basketball team during the 1990s.
- Sarunas Marciulionis: Marciulionis was a key member of the Lithuanian national basketball team that won bronze medals at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. He also had a successful career in the NBA, playing for the Golden State Warriors and other teams.
- Ruta Meilutyte: Meilutyte is a Lithuanian swimmer who won gold in the 100-metre breaststroke at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She also holds multiple world records in breaststroke events.
- Virgilijus Alekna: Alekna is a retired Lithuanian discus thrower who won gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest discus throwers in history.
- Kristina Saltanovic: Saltanovic is a Lithuanian racewalker who has won multiple European and world championships. She holds the world record in the 20-kilometre race walk.
These are just a few examples of the many talented athletes representing Lithuania. The country continues to produce world-class athletes in various sports and is particularly known for its success in basketball and other team sports.
- Ignacy Łukasiewicz: Although Łukasiewicz was born in what is now Belarus, he spent most of his life in Lithuania and is often regarded as a Lithuanian inventor. He is best known for inventing the kerosene lamp, which revolutionised lighting in the 19th century.
- Juozas Kazickas: Kazickas was a Lithuanian-American businessman and philanthropist credited with inventing the first automated sheet-fed offset printing press. He also helped to develop early computer technology and founded the Kazickas Family Foundation to support education and cultural projects in Lithuania.
- Antanas Gustaitis: Gustaitis was a Lithuanian aviation engineer who designed and built several experimental aeroplanes in the 1920s and 1930s. He also invented the first Lithuanian-built aeroplane, the ANBO VIII, used for military purposes in the 1930s.
- Marius Jakulis Jason: Jason is a Lithuanian-born inventor best known for his work on 3D printing technology. He has developed several innovative 3D printing techniques, including a method for printing metal objects using a laser.
- Aleksandras Bielinis: Bielinis was a Lithuanian inventor credited with inventing the world’s first wristwatch with an alarm function in 1929. He also developed several other innovative timekeeping devices, including a pocket watch that could display time in multiple time zones.
These are just a few examples of the many talented inventors from Lithuania. The country has a long history of innovation and creativity and continues to produce new technologies and ideas in a wide range of fields.
Apart from Lithuanian, several other languages are spoken in Lithuania. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Russian: Russian is the second most widely spoken language in Lithuania, particularly in urban areas and among older generations. Russian was the language of the Soviet Union, which occupied Lithuania from 1940 until 1990, and many Russians moved to Lithuania during this period.
- Polish: Polish is another commonly spoken language in Lithuania, particularly in the southeast region of the country. This is due to the country’s historical ties with Poland, which ruled Lithuania for several centuries.
- Belarusian: Belarusian is spoken by a small minority of people in Lithuania, particularly in the southeastern regions near the border with Belarus. This is due to the country’s historical ties with Belarus, also part of the Soviet Union.
- Ukrainian: Ukrainian is spoken by a small minority of people in Lithuania, particularly in the southwestern regions near the border with Ukraine, due to the country’s historical ties with Ukraine, which was also part of the Soviet Union.
- English is widely spoken in Lithuania, particularly among younger generations and in urban areas. This is partly due to the country’s growing tourism industry and strong ties with Western Europe and the United States.
The different languages spoken in Lithuania reflect the country’s complex history and position at the crossroads of Eastern and Western Europe. While Lithuanian remains the official language of the country, the presence of other languages underscores the country’s diversity and cultural richness.
Economy and Housing
The Lithuanian economy is much smaller than the British economy, both in terms of total GDP and per capita income. According to the World Bank, Lithuania’s GDP in 2020 was $58.4 billion, while the UK’s GDP was $2.62 trillion. Similarly, Lithuania’s per capita income in 2020 was $19,211, while the UK’s per capita income was $36,215.
In terms of home ownership, Lithuania has a relatively high rate of home ownership compared to some other European countries. According to Eurostat, around 80% of Lithuanian households owned their homes in 2020. However, the proportion of rented homes has increased recently, particularly in urban areas.
As for the cost of a three-bedroom semi-detached house with a garage in Lithuania, this would depend on the location, condition of the property, and other factors. According to real estate website Ober-Haus, the average price of a 3-bedroom apartment in the capital city of Vilnius was around €140,000 (approximately £120,000) in 2020. However, prices vary widely depending on the location, with properties in more desirable neighbourhoods commanding higher prices.
The monthly rent for a three-bedroom apartment in Lithuania would also depend on a variety of factors, including location, size, and condition of the property. According to Numbeo, a website that tracks cost of living data, the average monthly rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre of Vilnius was around €800 (approximately £690) in 2021. However, again, prices can vary widely depending on the location and other factors.
The cost of living and property prices in Lithuania may be lower than in the UK, but it’s important to remember that the two countries have very different economic profiles, and direct comparisons between them can be challenging.
The education system in Lithuania is primarily provided by the state and is free and compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 16. The country has a well-developed education system that offers a wide range of opportunities for students at all levels. The education system in Lithuania is divided into several stages, including:
- Preschool education: This stage is not compulsory but is available for children between the ages of 1 and 6. A combination of state-run and private institutions provides preschool education.
- Primary education: This stage is compulsory and lasts for four years, from the ages of 6 to 10. Primary education is provided by state-run schools and is free of charge.
- Basic education: This stage is also compulsory and lasts for six years, from the ages of 10 to 16. Basic education is provided by state-run schools and is free of charge.
- Secondary education: This stage is optional and lasts two to three years, depending on the program. Secondary education is provided by a combination of state-run and private schools and can include general education, vocational training, or specialised training in areas such as art or music.
In addition to the formal education system, Lithuania also has a well-developed higher education system, with several universities and other institutions of higher learning. Higher education is also primarily provided by the state and is available to all qualified students free of charge.
The education system in Lithuania is highly regarded for its quality and accessibility and is a key priority for the government. While some fees may be associated with certain aspects of the education system, such as books or materials, most of Lithuania’s education is free to citizens.
The top seven universities in Lithuania are:
- Vilnius University: Vilnius University is the oldest and largest university in Lithuania, dating back to the 16th century. It is located in Vilnius and is known for its strong humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences programs.
- Kaunas University of Technology: Kaunas University of Technology is a public research university in Kaunas. It is one of the largest technical universities in the Baltics and is known for its strong programs in engineering, technology, and natural sciences.
- Vilnius Gediminas Technical University: Vilnius Gediminas Technical University is a public research university in Vilnius. It is known for its strong programs in engineering, architecture, and design.
- Vytautas Magnus University: Vytautas Magnus University is a public university in Kaunas. It is known for its strong programs in social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences.
- Lithuanian University of Health Sciences: Lithuanian University of Health Sciences is a public university in Kaunas. It is known for its strong programs in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.
- Mykolas Romeris University: Mykolas Romeris University is a public university in Vilnius. It is known for its strong programs in law, business, and social sciences.
- Šiauliai University: Šiauliai University is a public university located in Šiauliai. It is known for its strong programs in education, humanities, and social sciences.
These are just a few examples of the many universities and other institutions of higher learning in Lithuania. The country has a strong tradition of higher education and is home to a wide range of institutions offering programs in various fields.
The top seven museums in Lithuania are:
- National Museum of Lithuania: The National Museum of Lithuania is located in the capital city of Vilnius and is the largest museum in the country. It houses many artefacts and exhibits related to Lithuanian history and culture, including archaeological artefacts, ethnographic objects, and works of art.
- KGB Museum: The KGB Museum is located in Vilnius and is dedicated to documenting the history of Soviet repression and resistance in Lithuania. The museum is housed in the former headquarters of the KGB in Vilnius and includes exhibits on the activities of the KGB and the resistance movements that opposed it.
- Museum of Genocide Victims: The Museum of Genocide Victims is also located in Vilnius and is dedicated to documenting the crimes of the Soviet and Nazi regimes in Lithuania. The museum is housed in the former headquarters of the KGB in Vilnius and includes exhibits on the experiences of Lithuanians under these regimes.
- Amber Museum: The Amber Museum is located in Palanga and is dedicated to the history and culture of amber, which is an important natural resource in Lithuania. The museum includes exhibits on the history of amber production in Lithuania and around the world, as well as displays of amber jewellery and other objects.
- Devil’s Museum: The Devil’s Museum is located in Kaunas and is dedicated to the folklore and mythology of Lithuania and other cultures. The museum includes exhibits on the history and legends of devils and demons in Lithuanian culture and displays of devil-themed art and artefacts.
- MO Museum: The MO Museum is located in the capital city of Vilnius and is dedicated to contemporary art and culture in Lithuania and beyond. The museum includes exhibits of various contemporary art forms, including painting, sculpture, video, and performance art.
- Rumsiskes Open-Air Museum: The Rumsiskes Open-Air Museum is located near Kaunas and is dedicated to documenting the rural life and culture of Lithuania. The museum includes exhibits on traditional Lithuanian crafts and agriculture, as well as displays of traditional clothing, music, and dance.
These are just a few examples of Lithuania’s many museums and cultural institutions. The country has a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and its museums and other cultural institutions reflect this richness and diversity.
Airlines and Flight Destinations
Lithuania has one major international airport, several smaller regional airports, and several domestic and international airlines:
- Vilnius International Airport: Vilnius International Airport is the largest airport in Lithuania and serves as the main hub for the country’s national airline, airBaltic. The airport offers flights to a wide range of destinations throughout Europe and beyond, including major cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Moscow. There are direct flights available from London Gatwick Airport (LGW) to Vilnius International Airport (VNO) in Lithuania. The flight time is approximately 2.5 hours, and there are several airlines that offer direct flights between the two airports, including Ryanair and Wizz Air.
- Kaunas International Airport: Kaunas International Airport is the second largest airport in Lithuania and is located near Kaunas. It offers flights to destinations throughout Europe, including cities such as Dublin, Eindhoven, and Frankfurt.
- Palanga International Airport: Palanga International Airport is a regional airport located near the popular seaside resort town of Palanga. It offers flights to several destinations throughout Europe, including cities such as Copenhagen and Oslo.
- airBaltic: airBaltic is the national airline of Lithuania and offers flights to a wide range of destinations throughout Europe and beyond. The airline operates a fleet of modern Airbus aircraft and is known for its high standards of service and reliability.
- Ryanair: Ryanair is a low-cost airline that operates flights throughout Europe, including several destinations in Lithuania. The airline offers affordable fares and is known for its no-frills approach to air travel.
- Wizz Air: Wizz Air is another low-cost airline that operates flights throughout Europe, including several destinations in Lithuania. The airline offers affordable fares and is known for its modern fleet of aircraft and efficient operations.
Overall, while Lithuania’s airline industry may be relatively small compared to some other countries, the country’s strategic location and well-developed infrastructure make it an important hub for air travel in the region. Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, several options are available for getting to and from Lithuania by air.
In Lithuania, the cost of cars can vary depending on several factors, such as brand, model, age, and condition. Generally speaking, new vehicles in Lithuania are more expensive than in some other European countries due partly to the country’s relatively high car taxes.
As of March 2023, the average price of a new car in Lithuania ranges from around €20,000 (for a small, basic car) to over €60,000 (for a high-end luxury model). Lithuania’s most popular car brands include Volkswagen, Toyota, and Skoda.
The fuel cost in Lithuania is relatively low compared to other European countries due in part to the country’s proximity to major oil producers such as Russia. As of March 2023, the petrol price in Lithuania was around €1.30 per litre, while diesel is around €1.20 per litre.
Battery-powered cars are becoming more popular in Lithuania, as in other parts of Europe, due in part to government incentives and growing environmental awareness. However, they still represent a relatively small percentage of the overall car market. Some of the most popular battery-powered car models available in Lithuania include the Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf, and Volkswagen ID3.
There are no major car manufacturers based in Lithuania, although the country does have a small automotive industry that includes companies such as Autoliv, which produces automotive safety systems, and Elinta Motors, which makes electric motors and powertrains.
While the cost of cars in Lithuania may be relatively high compared to other European countries, the country’s well-developed road network and affordable fuel prices make car ownership an attractive option for many Lithuanians.
Military Successes and Failures
Lithuania has been invaded and oppressed by several foreign powers throughout its history. These include the Teutonic Knights, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden, and Russia. Here are some of the most important battles in Lithuanian history:
- Battle of Grunwald (1410): This was a decisive victory for the Polish-Lithuanian forces over the Teutonic Knights. The battle is considered one of the largest and most important battles in medieval Europe.
- Battle of Kircholm (1605): This battle saw a decisive victory for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth over Swedish forces. The battle is notable for the success of the Polish-Lithuanian cavalry charge, which is still studied by military historians today.
- Battle of Klushino (1610): This battle saw a defeat for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the hands of the Russian army. The battle was a significant setback for the Commonwealth and contributed to the country’s decline in power in the following years.
- Battle of Poltava (1709): This was a decisive victory for the Russian army over Swedish forces and marked the beginning of Russia’s rise to power in the region.
- Battle of Tannenberg (1914): This battle saw a defeat for Russian forces at the hands of German troops. The battle was significant because it allowed Germany to gain control of a large portion of Lithuania and contributed to the country’s struggles in the early years of World War I.
- Battle of Kaunas (1919): This battle saw a decisive victory for Lithuanian forces over German forces, and marked the country’s successful struggle for independence from foreign powers.
- Battle of Raseiniai (1941): This battle saw a defeat for Lithuanian forces at the hands of German troops during World War II. The battle was significant in allowing Germany to gain control of Lithuania and contributed to the country’s struggles during the war.
- Battle of Hill 881 (1967): This battle saw a victory for Lithuanian and US forces over North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War. While the battle did not take place in Lithuania, it is notable because it involved Lithuanian soldiers fighting alongside US forces in a major international conflict.
- Battle of Vilnius (1991): This battle saw a successful struggle for independence by Lithuanian forces against Soviet forces. The battle marked the beginning of Lithuania’s transition to a democratic state.
- War in Donbas (2014-ongoing): This ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine has had significant implications for Lithuania, as it has supported Ukraine in its struggles against Russian aggression.
While Lithuania has faced many military successes and failures throughout its history, the country has also significantly contributed to developing military tactics and strategies. Lithuanian soldiers have fought in conflicts around the world, and the country’s military continues to be an important part of its national identity and culture.
Health and Welfare
Lithuania has a universal healthcare system that provides comprehensive medical care to all residents, regardless of their income or social status. The system is funded by a combination of taxes, employer contributions, and patient fees.
Key facts about healthcare and welfare in Lithuania are:
- Doctors and Patient Care: Lithuania has a well-trained and highly skilled medical workforce, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Generally, patients can choose their doctor and access a wide range of medical services, including primary care, speciality care, and hospital-based services.
- Payment for Healthcare: Most medical care in Lithuania is free to patients, although some services may require a small co-payment. Prescription drugs are also subsidised by the government, making them more affordable for patients.
Picture Credit and Acknowledgement: Lithuania Google map
- Care of the Elderly: Lithuania has a range of programs and services to support the health and welfare of its elderly population. These include home-based care services, residential care facilities, and programs to help seniors maintain their independence and quality of life.
- Hospital System: Lithuania has a modern and well-equipped hospital system that provides high-quality medical care to patients. The system is decentralised, with hospitals and clinics located throughout the country. The government is investing in modernising and upgrading the hospital system to ensure patients can access the best possible care.
The healthcare and welfare system ensures that all residents can access high-quality medical care and support services. While there are challenges facing the system, particularly in rural areas and the care of the elderly, the Lithuanian government is committed to addressing these issues and ensuring that all Lithuanians can live healthy and fulfilling lives.
Lithuania has made remarkable progress in reshaping its health system since the 1990s. The institutional and legal framework for providing health services is solid and well-functioning. An important component is the social health insurance system, partly funded by general budget resources to cover the non-active population, which has proven resilient in the face of the financial crisis and provides broadly adequate and equitable access to health services. Despite spending only 6.5% of GDP on health, admission rates and physician visits are well above OECD averages, and unmet needs are just below the OECD average. Lithuania has also developed a primary care system with many features which deserve recognition as examples for other OECD countries.
Sources and Further Reading
- European Union Lithuania Country Page: https://ec.europa.eu/info/country/lithuania_en
- Invest Lithuania: https://investlithuania.com/
- Kaunas University of Technology: https://ktu.edu/en
- Lithuania – Lonely Planet: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/lithuania
- Lithuania Business News: https://www.lithuaniatribune.com/business/
- Lithuania Country Profile – BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17511959
- Lithuania Today: https://lithuania.today/en/
- Lithuania Tourism: https://www.lithuania.travel/en/
- Lithuania Travel: https://www.lithuania.travel/en/
- Lithuania Tribune: https://www.lithuaniatribune.com/
- Lithuanian Art Museum: https://www.lnm.lt/en/
- Lithuanian Association of Travel Organizers and Agents: https://www.lsto.lt/
- Lithuanian Central Bank: https://www.lb.lt/en
- Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts: https://www.chamber.lt/
- Lithuanian Energy Institute: https://www.lei.lt/en/
- Lithuanian Free Market Institute:
- Lithuanian Institute of History: http://www.istorija.lt/en/
- Lithuanian Jewish Community: https://www.lzb.lt/en/
- Lithuanian Ministry of Economy and Innovation: https://ukmin.lrv.lt/en/
- Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://www.urm.lt/default/en/
- Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://www.urm.lt/default/en/
- Lithuanian National Museum: https://www.lnm.lt/en/
- Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre: https://www.opera.lt/en/
- Lithuanian National Statistics Office: https://osp.stat.gov.lt/
- Lithuanian National Tourism Office: https://www.lithuania.travel/en/
- Lithuanian Radio and Television: https://www.lrt.lt/en/
- Lithuanian Railways: https://www.litrail.lt/en/
- Lithuanian University of Health Sciences: https://lsmuni.lt/en/
- Lithuanian War Museum: https://kariuomene.kam.lt/en/war_museum/about_us.html
- Lithuanian World Community: https://www.plt.lt/en/
- Mykolas Romeris University: https://www.mruni.eu/en/
- Official website of the Republic of Lithuania: https://www.lrv.lt/en/
- The Lithuania Tribune – Business News: https://www.lithuaniatribune.com/business/
- Vilnius Airport: https://www.vilnius-airport.lt/en/
- Vilnius Tourism: https://www.govilnius.lt/
- Vilnius University: https://www.vu.lt/en/
- World Bank Lithuania Overview: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/lithuania/overview
- Lithuania: The Rebel Nation (Westview Series on the Post-Soviet Republics) Paperback, published by Estview Press (14 Nov. 1996) available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lithuania-Nation-Westview-Post-Soviet-Republics/dp/0813318394/
- SS Foreign Divisions & Volunteers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, 1941 1945: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives (Images of War), by Ian Baxter, published by Pen & Sword Military (3 Nov 2021), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Foreign-Divisions-Volunteers-Lithuania-Estonia/dp/1399012983/
- The Jews of Lithuania: A History of a Remarkable Community 1316-1945, by Masha Greenbaum, published by Gefen Publishing House Limited (29 Oct 2018), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jews-Lithuania-Remarkable-Community-1316-1945/dp/9652291323/
- The Food and Cooking of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania: Traditions – Ingredients – Tastes – Techniques: Traditions, Ingredients, Tastes and Techniques, by Silvena Johen Lauta (Silvena Rowe), published by Aquamarine (1 Sept 2009), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Food-Cooking-Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania/dp/1903141664/
- Lithuania: Past Present (Classic Reprint) Paperback, by E. J. Harrison (Author), published by Forgotten Books (16 Nov. 2016), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lithuania-Past-Present-Classic-Reprint/dp/1332507751/
- DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide 2017, by DK Eyewitness (6 Jul 2017), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eyewitness-Travel-Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania/dp/024127544X/
- The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 Paperback – Illustrated, by Timothy Snyder (Author), published by Yale University Press (7 Sept. 2004), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reconstruction-Nations-Ukraine-Lithuania-1569-1999/dp/030010586X/
- We Came, We Saw, God Conquered: The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s military effort in the relief of Vienna, 1683 (Century of the Soldier), by Michał Paradowski, published by Helion and Company (28 Feb 2022), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Came-Saw-Conquered-Polish-Lithuanian-Commonwealths/dp/1914059743/
- The Last Years of the Teutonic Knights: Lithuania, Poland and the Teutonic Order Hardcover, by William Urban (Author), published by Greenhill Books (21 Nov. 2018), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Years-Teutonic-Knights-Lithuania/dp/1784383570/
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End Notes and Explanations
- Source: Compiled from research using information at the sources stated throughout the text, together with information provided by machine-generated artificial intelligence at: bing.com [chat] and https://chat.openai.com ↑
- Explanation: Baltic States is a geopolitical term, which currently is used to group three countries: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. All three countries are members of NATO, the European Union, the Eurozone, and the OECD. The three sovereign states on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea are sometimes referred to as the “Baltic nations”, less often and in historical circumstances also as the “Baltic republics”, the “Baltic lands”, or simply the Baltics. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltic_states ↑
- Explanation: Lithuania borders Kaliningrad Oblast, an exclave of Russia sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Cited at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithuania ↑
- Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gitanas_Nausėda ↑
- Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lakes_of_Lithuania ↑
- Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lakes_of_Lithuania ↑
- Sources: (1) Dundzila, Vilius Rudra (2007). “Baltic Lithuanian Religion and Romuva”. pp. 279, 296-298. Tyr. Vol. 3. Ultra Press. ISBN 978-0-9720292-3-0, (2) Dundzila, Vilius Rudra; Strmiska, Michael F. (2005). “Romuva: Lithuanian Paganism in Lithuania and America”. p. 247. In Strmiska, Michael F. (ed.). Modern Paganism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781851096084, and (3)Ignatow, Gabriel (2007). “Cultural Heritage and the Environment in Lithuania”. p. 104.Transnational Identity Politics and the Environment. Lexington Books. ISBN 978-0739120156. Cited at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romuva_(religion) ↑
- Explanation: Polytheism is the belief in multiple deities, usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their religious sects and rituals. Polytheism is a type of theism. Within theism, it contrasts with monotheism, the belief in a singular God who is, in most cases, transcendent. In religions that accept polytheism, the different gods and goddesses may be representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles. Polytheists do not always worship all the gods equally; they can be henotheists, specialising in the worship of one particular deity, or kathenotheists, worshipping different deities at different times. Polytheism was the typical form of religion before the development and spread of the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all of which enforce monotheism. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytheism ↑
- Source: Dundzila, Vilius Rudra; Strmiska, Michael F. (2005). “Romuva: Lithuanian Paganism in Lithuania and America”. p. 244. Cited at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romuva_(religion) ↑
- Ibid, p. 278. ↑
- Source: Dundzila, Vilius Rudra (2007). “Baltic Lithuanian Religion and Romuva”. p.294. Tyr. Vol. 3. Ultra Press. ISBN 978-0-9720292-3-0. Cited at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romuva_(religion) ↑
- Source: Foreword to OECD Reviews of Health Systems, Lithuania 2018, at: https://www.oecd.org/health/health-systems/OECD-Reviews-of-Health-Systems-Lithuania-2018-Assessment-and-Recommendations.pdfSource: Foreword to OECD Reviews of Health Systems, Lithuania 2018, at: https://www.oecd.org/health/health-systems/OECD-Reviews-of-Health-Systems-Lithuania-2018-Assessment-and-Recommendations.pdf ↑