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The Republic of Lithuania is located in northeastern
Europe on the Baltic States and borders on Latvia in the
north , Belarus in the east and southeast , Poland and
the Russian enclave Kaliningrad (Königsberg) as well as
the Baltic Sea in the west. With an area of 65 200
km², Lithuania is the largest of the three Baltic
The country lies in the Eastern European lowlands,
hilly landscapes, wide plains and lowlands determine the
landscape. The mountain ranges were created by ice age
deposits, the lowlands are leftovers from glacial
valleys or were created by the silting up of lakes. The
approximately 3,000 lakes in the country, which take up
around 1% of the country's area, were formed after the
ice masses melted. Most of the lakes are located in the
hilly areas in the east and northwest of Lithuania.
The eastern part of the country is occupied by the
Baltic Ridge, which extends from Poland to Estonia. This
is the highest point in Lithuania, the Juozapines at 294
m. In the northwest is the Shamaite range, this final
moraine range reaches heights of up to 234 m. The
Central Lithuanian depression lies between the Shamaites
and the Baltic ridges with a dense network of bodies of
water, swamps and bogs.
The approximately 100 km long Baltic Sea coast is
only slightly structured. In the southern part is the
Curonian Spit in front of it, a narrow promontory that
consists of migratory sand dunes and which delimits the
Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. The southern part
of the Curonian Spit and the Lagoon belong to the
Russian Kaliningrad (Königsberg).
The longest river in Lithuania is the [Memel
(Nemunas), which originates in Belarus and flows into
the Curonian Lagoon. The capital Vilnius is in the
The climate in Lithuania is cool and temperate. In
the area of the coast, maritime influences ensure that
the temperature contrasts between summer and winter are
not as pronounced as in the interior, where the climate
is more continental. The Shamaite ridge acts as a
climate divide here. To the west of the Shamaites, the
mean January temperatures are around -4 °„ C (July: 16 °„
C), in the eastern parts of the country around -6 °„ C
(July: 18 °„ C). The annual rainfall in Vilnius is given
as 700 mm, in the Shamaites fall up to 900 mm.
Flora and fauna
Around a quarter of the country's area is forested,
predominantly pine, spruce and birch, oak, beech and ash
are also found. Alluvial forests with willows and
poplars grow in the damp lowlands.
The forests offer ideal retreat areas for wolves,
foxes, lynxes, elk, fallow deer and bears. The wisent
was naturalized again in Lithuania. In the lakes and
swamps, otters, beavers, pond turtles, as well as adder,
grass snakes and lizards live. The bird life is rich in
species, including cranes, storks, sea eagles and snake
eagles, black grouse and grouse and herons.
According to COUNTRYAAH, 3.44 million people live in Lithuania, around
69% of them in cities. The largest city is the capital
Vilna (Vilnius) with 541,000 residents, followed by Kaunas (365,000) and Memel (Klaip®¶da, 190,000).
Almost 84% of the population are Lithuanians, the
largest minority with 6.7% are Poles, followed by
Russians (6%), Belarusians, Ukrainians and Latvians. The
official language is Lithuanian, Russian is widely
spoken in everyday life. Lithuanians and Poles are
predominantly committed to the Catholic Church (80% of
the population), but there are also followers of the
Russian Orthodox Church, Protestants and Jews.
Population growth is still negative, but population
decline due to low birth rates and migration has
decreased to -0.3%. Life expectancy is 79 for women and
69 for men. The education system is well developed, over
two thirds of the adults in Lithuania have completed
middle to high school education, literacy is practically
Lithuania is a multi-party parliamentary republic
under the November 1992 constitution. The head of state
is the directly elected president for five years (since
2009 President Dalia Grybauskait®¶). He appoints the
cabinet on the proposal of the prime minister. The head
of government is the Prime Minister (since 2012 Algirdas
Butkevičius), who heads the Council of Ministers. The
legislature lies with the parliament (Seimas), which
consists of one chamber. The 140 MPs are directly
elected for a term of four years, 71 of them directly,
the rest by proportional representation. The main
parties are the Social Democrats, the conservative
"Fatherland Union and Christian Democrats" and the Labor
Lithuania is divided into ten regions. The highest
court of justice is the Supreme Court in Vilnius.
After overcoming the economic crisis in 2009, the
economy is back on a growth path. Gross domestic product
(GDP) grew by 3.6% in 2012. Unemployment was reduced,
but was still a relatively high 13.3% in 2012.
Around 9% of the workforce is employed in
agriculture, but due to the poor soil quality and the
low degree of mechanization, only around 3% of the gross
domestic product is generated in this area. The most
important area of agriculture is livestock farming
(dairy farming, cattle fattening, pig and horse
breeding). The main crops are animal feed, as well as
cereals and potatoes.
27% of GDP is generated in the industrial sector and
a quarter of the workforce is employed here. The most
important areas are mechanical engineering, the
electronics, food and textile industries. Lithuania is
poor in mineral resources, there is gravel, clay, lime
and gypsum from which building materials are produced.
The energy policy situation remains difficult. Gas and
electricity are currently heavily dependent on Russia.
Nevertheless, the Ignalina nuclear power plant was shut
down due to a joint decision with the EU.
The main exports are fuels and lubricants,
electricity, food and chemical products. Russia, Latvia
and Germany are the most important trading partners for
exports. The main import goods are also fuels and
lubricants, electricity, food and chemical products. A
third of the imports are covered by Russian deliveries,
followed by Germany and Poland.
The road network covers around 77,000 km, 2,000 km by
rail and 600 km on inland waterways (eg Memel, Neris).
At Memel (Klaip®¶da) there is an ocean-going port. There
are international airports in Vilnius, Kaunas, Palanga
The currency is the litas (= 100 centas).