Information

About Lithuania

COLOURS OF THE FLAG
Yellow, green and red.

 

 

 

COAT OF ARMS

White Vytis (Knight) in the field gules.

 

 

 

 

CONVENTIONAL LONG FORM

Republic of Lithuania.

CONVENTIONAL SHORT FORM

Lithuania.

LOCAL LONG FORM

Lietuvos Respublika.

LOCAL SHORT FORM

Lietuva.

CAPITAL

Vilnius.

LOCATION

The country is located on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. In 1989, the National Geographic Institute of France identified the geographical centre of Europe 24 km northwest of Vilnius.

NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES

Latvia, Belarus, Poland, Russia (the Kaliningrad Region).

AREA

65.300 sq. km.

POPULATION

2.900.000.

ETHNIC COMPOSITION

83,1% Lithuanian, 6,0% Polish, 4,8% Russian, 1,1% Belarusian and 5% other.
People of 115 different ethnic backgrounds live in Lithuania.

RELIGIONS

The religion in Lithuania is predominantly Roman Catholic. In addition to Roman Catholics, you will find Russian Orthodox, Evangelical Lutherans, Evangelical Reformers, Old Believers, Jews, Sunni Muslims and Karaims.

NATIONAL CURRENCY

Euro (EUR) = 100 cents (ct).

TIME

GMT + 2 hours.
When it is 12 p.m. in Vilnius, it is 11 a.m. in Stockholm and Frankfurt, 10 a.m. in London.

LANGUAGE

The Lithuanian language and the kindred Latvian language belong to the Baltic group of Indo-European languages. Out of all the living Indo-European languages, Lithuanian has best retained its ancient system of phonetics and most of its morphological features. Since the 19th century, when similarity between Lithuanian and Sanskrit was discovered, Lithuanians take a particular pride in their mother tongue as the oldest living Indo-European language. To this day, some people base their own understanding of ethnic identity on linguistic identity. Lithuanians proudly quote the French linguist Antoine Meillet, who said that ‘anyone wishing to hear how Indo-Europeans spoke should come and listen to a Lithuanian peasant’. One can also safely say that Lithuanian is the language that cannot be understood by a foreign speaker if he has not learnt it.

VILNIUS
Vilnius, as the capital of Lithuania, was first mentioned by Grand Duke Gediminas in his letter of 1323 to European towns, inviting merchants and craftsmen, promising them religious freedom and every kind of assistance. Since then Vilnius has been known as a cosmopolitan city, friendly to people of different nations and religions. The old street names (German, Jewish, Tartar and Russian) speak about the multiculturalism of the city, the houses of worship of nine different religions stand together close to one another.

Despite wars, occupations and destruction, the architecture of Vilnius remains unique. It is the largest Baroque city north of the Alps, and one of the farthest to the east. Nearly all the styles of European architecture from Gothic to Classicism are found in Vilnius.

The Old Town of Vilnius is one of the largest old towns in Central and Eastern Europe, covering almost 360 hectares and over 1 500 buildings. As one of the most authentic and best-preserved cities in Europe, Vilnius was included into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994.

Vilnius is not only a city with a rich history and wonderful architecture in a beautiful natural setting, where the Neris River and the Vilnia River meet. The capital of Lithuania is a modern city, a political, administrative and economic centre of the country and the heart of its education and culture. It is also the largest city of the country.