Introduction: Lithuania

Introduction:  Lithuania




Flag Description  three equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), green, and red; yellow symbolizes golden fields, as well as the sun, light, and goodness; green represents the forests of the countryside, in addition to nature, freedom, and hope; red stands for courage and the blood spilled in defense of the homeland.





Lithuanian lands were united under MINDAUGAS in 1236; over the next century, through alliances and conquest, Lithuania extended its territory to include most of present-day Belarus and Ukraine.


By the end of the 14th century Lithuania was the largest state in Europe. An alliance with Poland in 1386 led the two countries into a union through the person of a common ruler.


In 1569, Lithuania and Poland formally united into a single dual state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This entity survived until 1795 when its remnants were partitioned by surrounding countries. Lithuania regained its independence following World War I but was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries.

On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence, but Moscow did not recognize this proclamation until September of 1991 (following the abortive coup in Moscow). The last Russian troops withdrew in 1993. Lithuania subsequently restructured its economy for integration into Western European institutions; it joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.





Geography ::LITHUANIA


Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Latvia and Russia


Geographic coordinates:

  56 00 N, 24 00 E


Map references:




total: 65,300 sq km

land: 62,680 sq km

water: 2,620 sq k

Area - comparative:

Land boundaries:


slightly larger than West Virginia

total: 1,574 km

border countries: Belarus 680 km, Latvia 576 km, Poland 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad) 227 km



transitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers


lowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil


Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m

highest point: Aukstojas 294 m

Natural resources:

peat, arable land, amber

Land use:


arable land: 44.81%

permanent crops: 0.9%

other: 54.29% (2005)

Environment - current issues:


contamination of soil and groundwater with petroleum products and chemicals at military bases


Environment - international agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

fertile central plains are separated by hilly uplands that are ancient glacial deposits




People and Society ::LITHUANIA



noun: Lithuanian(s)

adjective: Lithuanian


Ethnic groups:


Lithuanian 84%, Polish 6.1%, Russian 4.9%, Belarusian 1.1%, other or unspecified 3.9% (2009)


Roman Catholic 79%, Russian Orthodox 4.1%, Protestant (including Lutheran and Evangelical Christian Baptist) 1.9%, other or unspecified 5.5%, none 9.5% (2001 census).




Government type: parliamentary democracy




geographic coordinates: 54 41 N, 25 19 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October


Administrative divisions:

10 counties (apskritys, singular - apskritis); Alytaus, Kauno, Klaipedos, Marijampoles, Panevezio, Siauliu, Taurages, Telsiu, Utenos, Vilniaus




11 March 1990 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union); notable earlier dates: 6 July 1253 (coronation of Mindaugas, traditional founding date), 1 July 1569 (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth created)





National holiday:

Independence Day, 16 February (1918); note - 16 February 1918 was the date Lithuania declared its independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 11 March 1990 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union


Constitution: adopted 25 October 1992; last amended 13 July 2004


Legal system: civil law system; legislative acts can be appealed to the constitutional court


International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal


Executive branch: chief of state: President Dalia GRYBAUSKAITE (since 12 July 2009)



Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the nomination of the prime minister



 president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 May 2009 (next to be held in May 2014); prime minister appointed by the president on the approval of the Parliament

election results: Dalia GRYBAUSKAITE elected president; percent of vote - Dalia GRYBAUSKAITE 69.1%, Algirdas BUTKEVICIUS 11.8%, Valentinas MAZURONIS 6.2%, others 12.9%; Andrius KUBILIUS' government approved by Parliament 83-40 with 5 abstentions

Legislative branch:


unicameral Parliament or Seimas (141 seats; 71 members elected by popular vote, 70 elected by proportional representation; members to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held on 12 and 26 October 2008 (next to be held in October 2012)

election results: percent of vote by party - TS-LKD 19.7%, TPP 15.1%, TT 12.7%, LSDP 11.7%, DP+J 9%, LRLS 5.7%, LCS 5.3%, LLRA 4.8%, LVLS 3.7%, NS 3.6%, other 8.7%; seats by faction - TS-LKD 44, LSDP 26, TPP 16, TT 15, LRLS 11, DP+J 10, LCS 8, LLRA 3, LVLS 3, NS 1, independent 4; note - seats by faction as of 25 January 2011 - TS-LKD 45, LSDP 24, TT 18, LCS and TPP 13, LRLS 13, Christian Party 10, DP 10, unaffiliated 7, vacant 1; note - TS-LKD, LRLS, LCS and TPP form the ruling coalition


Judicial branch:


Constitutional Court; Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; judges for all courts appointed by the president

International organization participation:



National anthem:

name: "Tautiska giesme" (The National Song)

lyrics/music: Vincas KUDIRKA

note: adopted 1918, restored 1990; the anthem was written in 1898 while Lithuania was a part of Russia; it was banned from 1940 to 1990

Ports and terminals:


oil terminals: Butinge oil terminal







List of official holidays in Lithuania:


English Name

Local Name


January 1

New Year's Day

Naujieji metai


February 16

Day of Re-establishment of the State of Lithuania (1918)

Lietuvos valstybės atkūrimo diena


March 11

Day of Restitution of Independence of Lithuania (from the Soviet Union, 1990)

Lietuvos nepriklausomybės atkūrimo diena


First Sunday and Monday of spring with full moon



Commemorates resurrection of Jesus

May 1

International Labor Day

Tarptautinė darbo diena


First Sunday in May

Mother's Day

Motinos diena


First Sunday in June

Father's Day

Tėvo diena


June 24

St. John's Day [Christian name], Day of Dew [original pagan name]

Joninės, Rasos

Celebrated according to mostly pagan traditions. (aka: Midsummer DaySaint Jonas Day)

July 6

Statehood Day

Valstybės (Lietuvos karaliaus Mindaugo karūnavimo) diena

Commemorates coronation of the first king, Mindaugas

August 15

Assumption Day

Žolinė (Švč. Mergelės Marijos ėmimo į dangų diena)


November 1

All Saints' Day

Visų šventųjų diena


December 25 and December 26


Šv. Kalėdos

Commemorates birth of Jesus

Other observances:

  • January 13 - Day of Freedom Defenders: a memory day for victims of January Events
  • March 4: Saint Casimir's Day, on the anniversary of the death of Saint Casimir, the patron saint of Lithuania
  • June 14: Mourning and Hope day, for remembrance of whose who were exiled to Siberia as part of Soviet genocide in Lithuania. The June 14th remarks the first operation Priboi in 1941.
  • August 23: Black Ribbon day - a memory day for the victims of totalitarian regimes.

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Cultural life

Lively cultural events, concerts and festivals take place all year round, all over the country. Lithuanians are big fans of music of all kinds - this was, after all, the scene of the Singing Revolution - and the country is full of choirs, symphonic and chamber orchestras, theatre companies, contemporary dance troupes and opera and ballet artists. Annual festivals of classical music such as the Vilnius Festival, the St. Christopher's Festival and the Pažaislis Festival are internationally acclaimed.

Jazz enjoys widespread popularity and every year jazz fans and musicians take part in international jazz festivals in Klaipėda(, Kaunas (, Vilnius (, Nida ( which attract internationally known names.

Lithuanian performers are also known beyond the borders, for example the lovely soprano Violeta Urmana and the conductor Gintaras Rinkevičius. Plays with the characteristic direction of Rimas Tuminas, Oskaras Koršunovas and Eimuntas Nekrošius keep delighting audiences at international theatre festivals around the world.

Lithuanians have managed to retain authentic customs and traditions which often have clear connections with paganism. The Shrovetide tradition of chasing away the winter, marked by crowds of people wearing grotesque masks of devils, witches and other characters is merry and noisy both in the cities and in the countryside.

Magical Midsummer night urges everyone to take part in the old pagan ritual of singing and dancing around bonfires, make spells using herbs and play games that have been played at this time of year for many centuries. Both this and Statehood Day, which marks Mindaugas' coronation on 6 July 1253, is at its liveliest in Kernavė, Lithuania's first capital. The Days of Living Archaeology in Kernavė are also extremely popular, when you can watch how foods were prepared centuries ago, how fur, skins and amber were processed, how ironstone was melted. Sword-fights are also spectacular.

In Vilnius one of the loveliest traditions is the Kaziukas Fair and street market, attracting craftsmen and artisans from all over Lithuania and turning the whole of Pilies Street and beyond into an old-fashioned bazaar. This colourful evet is a great chance to buy special souvenirs and watch the skillful wood, metal and textile craftspeople at work. Lively musicians play merry folk melodies and taverns treat their guests to tasty local beer.

Folk songs are a very important part of Lithuania's culture and heritage. Song and dance festivals are hugely popular and have been internationally acclaimed, the biggest of which is the Lithuanian Song and Dance Festival, which has been put on the UNESCO list of verbal heritage masterpieces. It takes place every 4 years and attracts thousands of participants and audiences from all over the country and abroad.

Check out the detailed calendar of events taking place in Lithuania at or Vilnius at

For opera and ballet, classical music and theater schedules, go to




Colleges and Universities of Lithuania



  1. ISM University of Management and Economics
  2. Kaunas Medical University
  3. Kaunas University of Technology
  4. Klaipeda University
  5. LCC International University
  6. Lithunian Academy of Music
  7. Lithunian Institute of Physical Education
  8. Lithunian Police Academy
  9. Lithunian University of Agriculture
  10. Lithunian Veterinary Academy
  11. Military academy of Lithuania
  12. Siauliai University
  13. Vilnius Academy of Arts
  14. Vilnius Pedagogical University
  15. Vilnius Technical University
  16. Vilnius University
  17. Vytautas Magnus University