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Kaunas Castle, Lithuania. Author Creative. No Copyright
Kaunas Castle, Lithuania. Author Creative

Lithuania: the largest of the Baltic States

Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublika) is a parliamentary republic, which lies along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. It borders to the north with Latvia, to the east and southeast with Belarus, to the south-west with Poland and Russia (the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad) and to the north-west you find the Baltic Sea.

The country is a member of the European Union since May 1, 2004. The major cities are the capital Vilnius/Wilna, Kaunas/Kauen, Klaipeda/Memel, Siauliai/Schaulen and Panevezys/Ponewiesch. The Lithuanian territory is flat with numerous lakes that are found particularly in the east of the country About one third of the territory is covered with forests.

To the west the country has a short coastline – low and sandy – overlooking the Baltic Sea, at the center of which is the port of Klaipeda/Memel. Much of the coast is formed by the Curonian spit, a sandy peninsula that extends south of Klaipėda/Memel.

Lithuania map

Lithuania map

The Lithuanian territory has been shaped by the action of glaciers. Thus it is mostly flat and only low hills make its landscape less monotonous. The territory is also formed by wetlands and lake areas. The majority of Lithuanian lakes are of glacial origin and small. The largest Lithuanian lake is Lake Drūkšiai with 44 km², located in the northeast corner on the border with Belarus.

The highest point in Lithuania does not exceed 300 m above sea level. It is the Aukštojas hill with 294 meters, located just to the southeast of the capital Vilnius near the border with Belarus. The most important river of the country is the Nemunas/Memel, which crosses the southern part of the country and flows into the large Curonian lagoon (Kurskij).

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 65,300 sq km
  • Population: 3,450,000: Lithuanians 83.5%, Poles 6.7%, Russians 6.3%, Belarusians 1.2%, others 2.3%.
  • State Capital: Vilnius/Wilna
  • Official Language: Lithuanian. Other languages spoken: Russian, Polish, German, English.
  • Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholics (approximately 80% of the total population). Other confessions include Orthodox, Old Believers of the Orthodox creed, Lutherans, Calvinists, Jews, Sunni, Karaite.
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Time: Standard Time Zone: GMT+2, Daylight Saving Time: from April to October GMT+3.

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