Top Ten Lithuanian Attractions

Top Ten Lithuanian Attractions

       Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, and across the Baltic Sea to the west lie Sweden and Denmark. It shares borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and a Russian exclave (Kaliningrad Oblast) to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 3.2 million (2011), and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. The Lithuanians are a Baltic people, and the official language, Lithuanian, is one of only two living languages (together with Latvian) in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. During the 14th century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe: present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. With the Lublin Union of 1569, Poland and Lithuania formed a new state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772 to 1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania’s territory. In the aftermath of WWI, Lithuania’s Act of Independence was signed on February 16, 1918, declaring the re-establishment of a sovereign state. Starting in 1940, Lithuania was occupied first by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. As WWII neared its end in 1944 and the Germans retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On March 11, 1990, the year before the break-up of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence. Prior to the global financial crisis of 2007–2010,Lithuania had one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. In 2009,Vilnius was celebrated as the European Capital of Culture; and Lithuania celebrated the millennium of its name. In 2011, Lithuania hosted Eurobasket 2011, the men’s European Basketball Championship.

  1. Vilnius

    Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 (2010). It is the capital of Vilnius County. The first known written record of Vilnius as the Lithuanian capital is known from Gediminas’ letters in 1323.
    Links: Cities, Museums and Galleries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilnius,
  2. Kaunas

           Kaunas is the 2nd largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading center of Lithuanian economic, academic and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the center of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. During Russian Empire occupation it was the capital of Kovno Governorate from 1843 to 1915. It became the only temporary capital city in Europe during the Interwar period. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kaunas. Kaunas is located at the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers, the Nemunas and the Neris, and near the Kaunas Reservoir, the largest body of water entirely in Lithuania.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaunas,
  3. Klaipėda

           Klaipėda is a city in Lithuania situated at the mouth of the Nemunas River where it flows into the Baltic Sea. It is the 3rd largest city in Lithuania and the capital of Klaipėda County. The city has a complex recorded history, partially due to the combined regional importance of the Port of Klaipėda, a usually ice-free port on the Baltic Sea, and the Akmena – Dange River. It has been controlled by the Teutonic Knights, the Duchy of Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Entente States immediately after WWI, Lithuania as a result of the 1923 Klaipėda Revolt, and the Third Reich following the 1939 German ultimatum to Lithuania. The city was incorporated into Lithuania during its tenure as a Soviet Socialist Republic and has remained within Lithuania following its re-establishment as an independent state. The population shrank from 207,100 in 1992 to 177,823 in 2011. Popular seaside resorts found close to Klaipėda are Nida to the south on the Curonian Spit, and Palanga to the north.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaip%C4%97da,
  4. National Museum of Lithuania

           The National Museum of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos nacionalinis muziejus), established in 1952, is a state-sponsored historical museum that encompasses several significant structures and a wide collection of written materials and artifacts. It also organizes archeological digs in Lithuania.
    Links: Museums and Galleries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithuanian_National_Museum,
  5. Kernavė Archeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė)

           Kernavė was a medieval capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and today is a tourist attraction and an archeological site. It is located in the Širvintos district municipality located in southeast Lithuania. A Lithuanian state cultural reserve was established in Kernavė in 2003.
    Links: Sculptures, Top Ten Helmets, Top Ten Warriors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernav%C4%97,
  6. Europos Parkas

           Europos Parkas, or the “Park of Europe,” is a 50-hectare open-air museum located 17 km from Vilnius, Lithuania. The museum gives an artistic significance to the geographic center of the European continent (as determined by the French National Geographic Institute in 1989) and presents Lithuanian and international modern art.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europos_Parkas,
  7. Trakai Island Castle

           Trakai Island Castle is located in Trakai, Lithuania on an island of Lake Galvė. The castle is sometimes referred to as “Little Marienburg.” The construction of the stone castle was begun in the 14th century by Kęstutis, and around 1409 major works were completed by his son Vytautas the Great, who died in this castle in 1430. Trakai was one of the main centers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the castle held great strategic importance.
    Links: Castles, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trakai_Island_Castle,
  8. The Hill of Crosses

           The Hill of Crosses is a site of pilgrimage about 12 km north of the city of Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania. The precise origin of the practice of leaving crosses on the hill is uncertain, but it is believed that the first crosses were placed on the former Jurgaičiai or Domantai hill fort after the 1831 Uprising. Over the centuries, not only crosses, but giant crucifixes, carvings of Lithuanian patriots, statues of the Virgin Mary and thousands of tiny effigies and rosaries have been brought here by Catholic pilgrims. The exact number of crosses is unknown, but estimates put it at about 55,000 in 1990 and 100,000 in 2006.
    Links: Top Ten Spiritual Destinations on Earth, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hill_of_Crosses,
  9. Center of Europe

    Description:
    Links: Pyramids,
  10. Struve Geodetic Arc
    Struve Geodetic ArcStruve Geodetic Arc1Struve Geodetic Arc2
           The Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, through ten countries and over 2,820 km, which yielded the first accurate measurement of a meridian. The chain was established and used by the German-born Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve in the years 1816 to 1855 to establish the exact size and shape of the earth. At that time, the chain passed merely through two countries: Union of Sweden-Norway and the Russian Empire. The Arc’s first point is located in Tartu Observatory, where Struve conducted much of his research. In 2005, the chain was inscribed on the World Heritage List as a memorable ensemble of the chain made up of 34 commemorative plaques or built obelisks out of the original 265, main station points which are marked by drilled holes in rocks, iron crosses, cairns, others. Measurement of the triangulation chain comprises 258 main triangles and 265 geodetic vertices. The northernmost point is located near Hammerfest in Norway and the southernmost point near the Black Sea in Ukraine.
    Links: Top 100 Scientists, Top Ten Scientific Theories, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struve_Geodetic_Arc,
  11. Curonian Spit

           The Curonian Spit is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. Its southern portion lies within Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia and its northern within southwestern Lithuania.
    Links: Top Ten Beaches, Top Ten European Beaches, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curonian_Spit,
  12. Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithuania,

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