The Republic of Lithuania
Amber workshops, rock festivals and potato dishes have brought fame to Lithuania, a small European country on the Baltic coast. Lithuanian mild climate, green forests, medicinal pine air, mineral springs, medieval castles and churches make the country attractive to tourists. Once it was called the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and now it's the Republic of Lithuania.
One of the most beautiful cities in the country is Vilnius. It is not only the official capital of Lithuania, but also the city of talented musicians. Vilnius has its own sophisticated European style, a perfect combination of ancient and modern tendencies. The capital is often referred to as the city of Baroque due to a great number of churches, houses and towers built in this medieval style. The Old Town of Vilnius is famous for being included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Kaunas, a former capital of Lithuania, is the second most beautiful and important city of the country. Its ancient towers are impressive. Laisvės Alėja, a pedestrian street, and Pažaislis Monastery are the most popular tourist destinations in Kaunas. The city is recognized as a festival centre of Lithuania. Every year, it hosts Kaunas Jazz, Napoleon in Kaunas and other festivals.
In Lithuania, there are many castles and palaces, most of which belong to the medieval period of the state. Trakai, the only island castle in Eastern Europe, is a real gem of Lithuania. It is located in Lake Galvė. Many centuries ago, there was one of the most powerful fortified residences of Lithuanian princes.
Along with its historical structures, Lithuania will amaze you with unusual museums. Lithuanian museums deserve special attention, as many of them are out-and-outer. For example, the city of Šiauliai offers you to visit the museums of bicycles, cats, history of water supply and sanitation, and many others.
Picturesque scenery, the warm Baltic Sea and mild climate are other reasons Lithuania to be visited by travellers. Palanga and Neringa are the most famous country’s sea resorts. Palanga has gained its fame due to sandy beaches and dunes, as well as amber, extracted and processed there. You are also advised to visit Neringa – a journey by ferry, the only way to get there, will make your time pleasant and romantic. This marine centre is located on the Curonian Spit, known for its unique nature. The southern part of the spit is occupied by Kuršių Nerija National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Dense green forests, lowland meadows, hills, dunes, the sea, rivers and lake lands, as well as national parks and natural mineral water with healing properties have favoured the development of health resorts in Lithuania. Druskininkai, located among pine forests and lakes in the south of the country, was one of the first spa resorts in Europe. The resort is known for its healing spring, the properties of which have been celebrated in legends. Another well-known spa resort of Lithuania is Birštonas.
Sauna has always been of particular importance in Lithuanian medicine. Originally, sauna came from Finland and became very popular in Lithuania. Ancient traditions of sauna have been kept in villages – using special technologies to improve your health. The feature of Lithuanian sauna is in its temperature – up to 90°C with humidity of 40%. Water, tea, kvass or honey is thrown on hot stones thus producing steam. Birch branches are used to reinforce the effect of sauna. And the final procedure is cooling off – people usually pour cold water over each other or dip in a cool lake.
Lithuania is also known as the land of various festivals. Music festivals are in favour there. Jazz Music Festival is held in every city of Lithuania in different seasons. The city of Zarasai hosts Galapagai (Rock Nights), an annual national rock festival. The second popular festival of music and arts is Be2gether. This open air festival takes place in the village of Norviliškės, next to the castle of the same name, and lasts for a few days. Its visitors enjoy contemporary music, learn local crafts at workshops located nearby, visit meditation tents, learn dancing etc.
Lithuanian potato dishes are popular among locals and tourists. Creating their own unique recipes, Lithuanians have learned something from the Scandinavian, something from the Eastern European nations. In the culinary arts of Lithuania, two trends – peasant and aristocratic – had developed, which later were united, thus forming basis of the modern Lithuanian cuisine. Kluski, cepelinai (both are kinds of dumplings), sausages vėdarai, pancakes žemaičių – all made of potato – are their national dishes. Among first courses, you are advised to taste Lithuanian borscht (beetroot soup) with uszka (ravioli-type dumplings) or soup with tomato paste and rice. As for drinks, the Lithuanians drink caraway liqueur with lemon, as well as different liqueurs of local herbs or honey.
A travelling through Lithuania to learn culture of the Baltic people. This country is like no one in the world and at the same time it has something in common with other countries.
Administrative division — Lithuania
Vilnius Population: 538968