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Welcome to Lithuania with Travel Time!
Welcome to Lithuania!
Lithuania today offers a pleasant relaxed stay or holiday in a mild climate zone, where the traveller is soothed by quiet, picturesque landscapes, enjoys the local people hospitality and still reasonable price level, as well as various and entertaining night life. Here you have a brief introduction, but be sure – you will find mutch more in Lithuania. And it turns a nice surprise.
Lithuania lies in North-Eastern Europe on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea and has a 90 km long coast line. As the National Geographic Institute of France confirmed in 1989, the geographic centre of Europe lies just 24 kilometres northwest of Vilnius. That is also a statement, included in the World Guinness Record Book’97.
- Total area: 65,300 sq. km. Lithuania territory it is larger than Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands or Switzerland. Nearly one third of the territory is covered by forests, 4.5% – by inland waters. There are over 2,800 lakes larger than 0.5 hectares in size, and 18 rivers longer than 100 kilometres in Lithuania.
- Climate: maritime/continental. Average temperature in July is +17°C, in January – -4.9°C.
- Landscape: Lithuania is a flat country, lowland plains make up 75% of its territory.
- Local Time: Central European Time zone. GMT + 2 hours, or same as, for Helsinki, Riga, and Tallinn.
- Population: 3.4 million
- Ethnic Composition: Lithuanians – 83.5%, Polish – 6.7%, Russians – 6.3%, Byelorussians – 1.2%, others – 2.3%.
- Religion: Roman Catholic approximately 80% of the total population. Other confessions include Orthodox, Old Believers, Lutherans, Reformat, Judaist, Sunni, Karaites and other communities.
- State structure: democratic parliamentary republic. Head of state: President, the executive branch: Government (appointed by the President), the legislative branch: Seimas (unicameral parliament, direct election).
- National day: 16th of February (Independence Day)
- State language: Lithuanian.
- Currency: Litas (LTL), 1 litas= 100 centas
- Capital: Vilnius – population of 555,6 thousand.
- Other Largest Cities: Kaunas – 364,1 thousand; Klaipėda – 188,8 thousand; Šiauliai – 130,0 thousand; Panevėžys – 116,3 thousand.
- Distances: to Helsinki 720 km, to Berlin 850 km, to Moscow 830 km.
Lithuania was admitted to European Union and NATO in 2004. In 2009 Lithuania has celebrated its Millennium anniversary and nowadays Lithuania demonstrated itself as a country that has preserved a unique and rich cultural heritage.
Some amazing facts to portrait Lithuania:
In the fifteen century the Grand Lithuanian Dukedom was the largest commonwealth in Europe, stretching its borders from the Baltic to the Black sea.
By the end of the twentieth century small country Lithuania proclaimed itself an independent state, separated from the huge Soviet Union and was blamed for its collapse!
Lithuanian language is acknowledged by linguists as the oldest living Indo-European language, congener to Sanskrit...
How many capital cities are there in Lithuania? Historical sources mention Kernavė, Trakai and Vilnius...Kaunas was the temporary capital of Lithuania in the 20th cent. Nowadays they all are places of major interest to tourists.
Lithuania faces a deserved international focus on its cultural heritage: the old town of Vilnius, the unique nature of the Curonian Isthmus, the old capital Kernavė, cross craft and also spiritual and cultural events such as Song Festival – everything was acclaimed to be UNESCO world heritage. The cultural heritage is closely connected with the nature and reflects the spirit of the nation and fateful historical twists with the creation of state being one of its crucial points. Lithuania has enormous number of clean, unpolluted lakes and beautiful forests. It is a country of untouched nature, relaxed life rhythm and charming architecture.
Capital of Lithuania Vilnius
Today Vilnius is one of the most visiting Eastern European towns which attracts not only because of unique architectural heritage, but also because of different cultural events and entertainment. Various business political and cultural meetings take place here. Lithuanian capital actively is presented in international tourism fairs and collaborating with most of European capitals. The Old Town of Vilnius is one of the biggest in Eastern Europe and in 2009 Vilnius was the first town of new EU members’ countries towns which became European capital of Culture.
Vilnius was first referred to as a capital in 1323, in letters from Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania addressed to foreign traders and tradesmen. German, Russian and Jewish streets remain to date in Old Town. Vilnius Old Town with green hills surrounding the confluence of the Neris and the Vilnia, castle towers, churches, and old architecture squeezed in between its narrow, little streets, is included within the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.
The cradle of town is Cathedral, that still containing pre-Christian altars and holly relics of St. Casimir. The earliest footprints lead us to the Cathedral basements. In the basements, 2.6 meters below the present Cathedral floor the remains of a pagan sanctuary were found and the first Cathedral of the only Lithuanian king Mindaugas.
Cathedral square is associated in people's consciousness with medieval Gediminas Castle as a symbol of the town. The castle sits on the hill the country landmark and it recalls to the Grand Lithuanian Dukedom resistance to German knights’ invasion, which lasted for two centuries. The rulers’ royal residence, the Lower Castle, damaged badly during the Russians invasion in the 17th century, is currently under reconstruction.
Christianity, adopted in the country in late 14th century, is represented predominantly by Catholic churches. Vilnius became known for charm of its baroque churches, such as St. John Church or the so called Pearl of Baroque, Church of Sts’ Peter & Paul, where one can count about 2000 human statues. Russian Orthodox Church of Holy Spirit stands a witness of Vilnius as multicultural town since the middle ages. Among all the churches the masterpiece of gothic architecture St. Ann Church can be admired.
Just near by lies the funky Republic of Uzupis. It is a very young state, situated not very far from Europe's centre, on the bank of the Vilnia. It might be compared to Montmartre, Christiania or the Vatican, though on its border the symbolic signs of the Mona Lisa and the round smile show that here carefree, artistic people live. Also Mayor of Vilnius does. Just come any time, sit on the terrace of the border cafe, and relax, listening to the Vilnia murmur and feasting your eyes on the Old Town.
Vilnius attractive lanes and enclosed backyards of the old town and buildings in various architectural styles may be seen along the main axis of the old town, as Vilnius was the easternmost centre of the Western culture. During your stroll you will pass the Town Hall Square, the Dawn Gate, famous among pilgrims for miraculous image of Merciful Mary. Presidential Palace and Parliament by the end of the main street Gediminas avenue, as well as further located Cemetery of Heroes highlight the recent events and struggle for independence in 1990.
Not to be missed is a visit to Old Vilnius University, one of the liveliest parts of the historical city. Founded by the Jesuits (1579) it was the first and for a long time, the only university in North-Eastern Europe. Student festivities, city summer festivals take place in the courtyards of the university.
Nowadays Vilnius is the biggest town of Lithuanian town, capital of Republic of Lithuania, administrative cultural political and business center. Presidency Parliament Government Highest Court as well as most important diplomatic cultural educational science health institutions, banks are located in Vilnius. Who ever you are – businessman, tourist or experienced traveler looking for new impressions – it would be enough for you to stay in Vilnius for few days in order to fell in love with the town. It is really worth to stay in Vilnius longer, but even in case you come just for weekend you’ll get great impressions.
- The Gate of Dawn, chapel of St. Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy.
- St. Teresa church
- Russian orthodox church of Holly Spirit and relicts of three saints
- City wall and defensive bastion construction
- St. Casimir church. In Soviet period museum of atheism was established in baroque style church
- Baroque style church of Holly Ghost. Town Hall
- Jewish ghetto
- Old town’s market
- Pilies street
- Presidential palace (former bishop’s palace), former working place of Mickiewicz as estate governor, temporary residence of Napoleon, Kutuzov and Pilsudski. (no entrance)
- Vilnius University. Lots of famous people studied here: Mickiewizc, Millosz, Daukantas etc.
- Museum of Adam Mickiewizc
- “Gothic corner” – a nice St. Ann’s church that Napoleon I wanted to bring to Paris on a palm, Bernadine’s church, Mickiewizc monument
- St Michael’s church (museum of church heritage)
- Neo Classical style Vilnius Cathedral. There is a chapel where is buried St Casimir patron saint of Lithuania. In the underground of Cathedral were buried Alexander Jagellonian, Elisabeth from Habsburg, Barbara of Radvila (wives of Sigmund Augustus) and a heart of Ladislaus Vaza IV.
- Church of St. Peter’s and Paul’s - treasury of Vilnius Baroque
- Upper castle’s Gediminas tower is symbol of Vilnius. Tower is located on 48 m. height hill and is called by name of founder of the town Grand Duke Gediminas. Gediminas castle.
- Vilnius TV tower (326m). There is a restaurant and observation platform with marvelous view created on a height of 165 m. On the first floor of TV tower there is an exhibition dedicated to fighters of freedom which died 13 of January, 1991.
- Hill of three crosses (monument of Three Crosses)
- Rasos cemetery. Grave of mother of Pilsudski, Pilsudski’s heart and graves of Zeligowski troop’s soldiers.
- Uzupis living quarters, independent Republic of Uzupis.
- The museum of genocide victims is the only one in the Baltic states.
- Amber museum. One can find piece of his taste.
- Lithuanian bank museum. Exposition presents Lithuanian bank history, currency changes.
- Lithuanian National museum. It presents renewed archaeological exhibition “Prehistory of Lithuania”.
- Paneriai memorial museum which is established in Jewish execution place. During the World War II there were killed 100000 people of different nationalities in Paneriai.
- Pavilniai Regional Park with its heart – Vilnia valley. There is a unique geological monument in the park – Puckoriai escarpment. In XVII century a gun producing factory was opened in front of escarpment. Next to it one can visit territory of watermill with center of good meal and entertainment “Belmontas”.
- Radvila palace. There is a museum created in former palace which tells about history of Radvila family and presents portraits of Radvila family’s members. Temporary exhibitions take place in the museum as well.
- Verkiai palace attracts lots of visitors. There is neo classical style palace surrounded by park. An ornithological road is created in the park.