Lithuania’s history, which dates back to the 10th millennium BC, when the first people settled in its territory, reveals the richness and sophistication of the country. Also known as the country of gently rolling hills, forests, rivers, streams and lakes, Lithuania became popular as a tourist destination some time back. The legends, battles, wars and the political events entangled with the songs and folk music; all played their part well in bestowing Lithuania with a unique identity. Lithuanian literature too, with a mix of classicism, sentimentalism and romanticism, promoted it on a global scale. With its individuality, and impression on neighbouring countries and in a large number of events, Lithuania’s soft power far exceeds its size. However, there’s more to Lithuania than meets the eye, and every time you will fall back, thinking you’ve known it all, the country, in all its richness will surprise you yet again. Read to know more interesting and fun facts about Lithuania.
Official Language: Lithuanian
National Language: Lithuanian
Other Languages: Russian, Polish, and Others
Religion: Roman Catholic (predominant), Lutheran, Russian Orthodox, Protestant
Legislature: Unicameral Parliament or Seimas
Independence: 11th March 1990
Constitution – 25th October 1992
Area: 65,300 sq km
Population 3.3 million (UN, 2011)
Currency: Lithuanian Litas
National Bird: White Stork
Interesting And Fun Facts About Lithuania
- The Lithuanian language is one of the oldest and existing languages of the Indo-European category.
- Lithuania is known for its homogenous population in the Baltic States.
- The very first written depiction of Lithuania is in a medieval German manuscript known as the Annals of Quedlinburg, in a record, dated 9th March, 1009.
- Lithuania was the last European country to adopt Christianity.
- In 1387, the first recognized school in Lithuania was set up at Vilnius Cathedral.
- Vilnius University, founded in 1579, is amongst the oldest universities in Northern Europe and is also the largest university in Lithuania. On the other hand, Kaunas University of Technology is the leading technical university in the Baltic States and the second largest university in the country.
- Lithuania’s first publishing house was set up in 1522.
- The edicts of Lithuanian King Mindaugas and Letters of Gediminas form an important legacy of the Lithuanian Latin writings.
- The most popular sport in Lithuania is Basketball.
- Lithuanian Song and Dance Festival along with the Latvian and Estonian versions were emblazoned as UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2008.
- Folk music of Lithuania comes from the Baltic music section which is linked with Neolithic corded ware culture. Undoubtedly, the folk music is very ancient and is mainly used for the ritual purposes, comprising basics of paganism and trust.
- Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, a composer and the legendary musician was the most prominent personality in Lithuania’s art community.
- It was in 1933 that the Lithuanian Art Museum was established. It is the largest museum of art conservation and display in the country.
- Cepelinai is one of the most popular dishes of Lithuania; it is an oval shaped dish made from potato and ground meat. The most interesting thing about this dish is that, it got its name from the zeppelin or dirigible, the aircraft invented by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin.
- The other famous dishes of Lithuania are vėdarai, which are intestines filled with potatoes and are also known as potato pancakes.
- 6th July is celebrated as the Lithuania’s Day of Nationhood in the memory of Lithuania’s monarch Mindaugas’ coronation in 1253.
- Lithuania was one of the biggest countries in Europe during the middle ages.
- In 1795, Lithuania was captured by the Russian Empire and in 1918, got its independence but was again seized by the Soviet Union in 1940 and by Germany from 1941 to 1944. After Second World War it again came under the Soviet occupation.
- On March 11, 1990, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to announce its independence and hence became an independent nation.
- In Lithuania, beer is very popular and is listed in the category of beverages which are easy on the pocket. Also, Lithuanian brewers have won many prizes at the international level.
- The method of making vodka from corn was first discovered by the Lithuanians.
- Lithuania is at the first position in the world in terms of number of hot air balloons per citizen. Vilnius is one of the few European capital cities where a person can fly with hot air balloons.
- On 17th September 1991, Lithuania became a member of the United Nations (UN) and on 31st May, 2001, got the membership in the World Trade Organization. Besides this, it became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on 29th March, 2004.
- Lithuania is also a part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and it got the opportunity of leading in 2011.
- In Lithuania, there is only one port, known as the Port of Klaipeda; Vilnius International Airport is the largest airport in Lithuania.
- There are 816 rivers and more than 2,800 lakes in Lithuania.
- Mother of Pope John II belonged to the Lithuanian ancestry.
- Lithuania is the only country in the world which has the national perfume that depicts about the cultural heritage of Lithuania.
- Lithuania is also known as the land of storks, which is the national bird of the country.
- Lithuania, till date, has kept the long lost European myth that birds bring babies. Little children still claim that they were brought by a stork.