Church of St Francis and St Bernard and monument to Adomas, Vilnius

Lithuania, The Land of Storks - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue
Date: 25th March 2006

A (Very Brief) History of Lithuania

  • The south-eastern shores of the Baltic Sea where Lithuania is situated, were initially inhabited by various Baltic tribes.
  • The Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, the first and only King of Lithuania in 1253.
  • Dukedoms followed. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania, at the time, was the largest country in Europe; encompassing present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia.
  • In 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which lasted more than two centuries, eventually disintegrating until the Russian Empire annexed most of Lithuania's territory.
  • After World War I the modern Republic of Lithuania came into being, but in the Second World War, Lithuania was first occupied by the Soviet Union, then by Nazi Germany. And then by the Soviet Union again.
  • On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare itself independent.

Facts and Factoids

  • Lithuanian is one of the oldest languages in the world and the closest to ancient Sanskrit.
  • The national sport of Lithuania is basketball. Their men’s team is currently ranked third in the world, behind the USA and Spain.
  • People of 154 nationalities live in Lithuania.
  • The most famous national dish is cepelinai: potato dumplings stuffed with meat, curd cheese or mushrooms
  •  Lithuania is the only country in the world with its own official scent, called the Scent of Lithuania. 
  • Lithuanian beaches are famous for the amber, found on the shores of the Baltic Sea.
  • Lithuania is home to the highest density of white storks in the world. It's the country's national bird and a lucky symbol.

Is Lithuania in the EU?

  • Lithuania has been a member of the European Union since 2004 and the currency is the Euro.

Vilnius, the Capital of Lithuania

  • Vilnius is ideal for a weekend break. Read about my visit here.
  • Vilnius has an anonymous swing foundation. It’s a group of people who install swings all around the city, often changing their locations.

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