Lowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil. The fertile central plains are separated by hilly uplands that are ancient glacial deposits. 30% is covered in forest. The highest point is Aukštojas Hill at only 294m 967 ft, about 24km southeast of Vilnius and lying just off the main highway to Minsk and within sight of the Belarus border.


Modern Lithuania gained its independence from Russia in 1918 following World War I and the dissolution of the Czarist monarchy. However, in 1940 Lithuania was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence, but this proclamation was not generally recognized until September 1991, following the abortive coup in Moscow. The Soviet Union recognized Lithuania's independence on 6 September 1991. A constitution was adopted on 25 October 1992. The last Russian troops withdrew in 1993. Lithuania subsequently has restructured its economy for integration into Western European institutions.


Lithuania has been an active member of the European Union since 1 May 2004) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO since 29 March in that same year.

Lithuania is the only Baltic country with more than eight hundred years of statehood tradition and its name was first mentioned one thousand years ago, in 1009. Wedged at the dividing line of Western and Eastern civilizations, Lithuania battled dramatically for its independence and survival. Once in the Middle Ages 15th century, Lithuania was the largest state in the entire continent of Europe, where crafts and overseas trade prospered.

In 1579, Vilnius University, an important scientific and education centre of the European scale, was opened. In the 16th century, Lithuania adopted its First, Second and Third Statutes. The Statutes were not only the backbone of the legislative system, they also had a major impact on the legislation of other European states of the time. Despite losing its independence, Lithuania managed to retain its Third Statute in force for as many as 250 years, which was instrumental in the preservation of national and civic self-awareness. The Constitution of Poland-Lithuania together with the French Constitution, both adopted in 1791, were the first constitutions in Europe The Polish-Lithuanian constitution was adopted a few months earlier than the French.


Lithuania, first formed in the middle of the 13th century, was a huge feudal country stretching from the Baltic to the Black sea in the middle ages and in 1569 entered into a union with Poland to form a commonwealth.

Lithuania was part of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth until the Polish Partitions in the 18th century when it became part of the Russian Empire.


Transitional, between maritime and continental with wet, moderate winters and summers.

National holidays

National holidays
Assumption Day

15 Aug — superposed and virtually merged with the Pagan holiday called Žolinė Flower Time. It is harvest time when medical herbs, flowers, vegetables and cereals used to be processed through the special rituals during Pagan times, and later they used to be sanctified in churches by Catholic priests. Various Christian and Pagan events are organized in tradicional locations.

National holidays

There are State Holidays which all are days off by law, and there are red letter days which usually are regular weekdays honored or celebrated in different ways.

National holidays
Independence Day

16 Feb - independence from Russian Empire in 1918 following World War I. Officially celebrated with all the ceremonies.

National holidays
Restitution of Independence

11 Mar - restoration of independence from the Soviet Union. Focus on national consciousness and both national and universal values emphasis. Usually various political and cultural debate are organized at various levels and broadcast live across the country. Some official ceremonies take place as well.

National holidays

Sunday and Monday in March or April — Catholic religious holiday.

National holidays
International Labor Day

1 May — political holiday, mostly spent like a regular weekend. Some minor political rallies usually are expected but they not always take place.

National holidays
Mother's Day

1st Sunday of May — main holiday when various events for families are organized and attended.

National holidays
Father's Day

1st Sunday of June — another holiday when various events for families are organized and attended.

National holidays
St. John's Day

Joninės 24 Jun - the most favorite national holiday, celebrated by all and everywhere. Despite its Christian name, celebrated mostly according to Pagan traditions Midsummer's Day, thus often is called by its ancient name Rasos Dew Time.

National holidays
Statehood Day

6 Jul - commemorates the coronation in 1253 of Mindaugas as the first and only King of Lithuania later rulers of Lithuania were called Grand Dukes. Officially celebrated with all the ceremonies. Additionally, various events with the historical trend are organized and enthusiastically attended: reenactments, jousting, live archaeology events, various concerts. If weather is good there may be traffic jams on all highways closer to the coast.

National holidays
New Year's Day

1 Jan — typically starts in the evening of previous day the last day of a year like a private party; then, closer to a midnight, people go to the street or square to "meet the New Year" in a crowd. Depending on whether the winter is cold or mild, celebration is either enthusiastic or rather formal. The rest of day is spent like a regular weekend.

National holidays
All Saints' Day

1 Nov — time to remember loved ones. Although it is a Christian holiday, traditionally it is perceived as an Eve of All Souls' Day and superposed with customs of ancestor veneration, often in Pagan manner. May be traffic jams everywhere near any cemetery.

National holidays
Christmas Eve

24 Dec — considered main holiday of a year. Celebrated at home, families and close friends exchange gifts; Pagan-style observances. Almost everything business and offices is closed.

National holidays

25, 26 Dec — smooth continuation of the Christmas Eve. Almost everything business and offices is still closed. Religious people attend churches.

National holidays
Day of Freedom Defenders

13 Jan — commemoration of January Events in 1991.

National holidays

46 days before Easter, usually in February - celebrated the closest weekend before the actual Shrovetide Tuesday, then the Tuesday is commemorated by eating pancakes.

National holidays
(Staint) Valentine's Day

14 Feb — a popular commercial holiday of romance and love. Most restaurants are crowded; advance reservations usually are required.

National holidays
Saint Casimir's Day

4 Mar — anniversary of the death of Saint Casimir, the patron saint of Lithuania. Time for the biggest fairs all over country and especially in Vilnius. Central streets of city are closed for all kinds of transport, everything alloted for vendors.

National holidays
Mourning and Hope Day

14 Jun - for remembrance of whose who were exiled to Siberia by Soviet authorities. Remarks the anniversary of the first June deportation in 1941. Some official events and ceremonies usually take place.

National holidays
Black Ribbon Day

23 Aug - commemoration of the victims of totalitarian regimes. Political events and debates often are organized in a manner that attract public interest.

National holidays
Balts Unity Day

22 Sep - commemorates 22 Sep 1236 when the Samogitians and the Semigallians defeated the Knights Of Sword. Various events are organized, especially in Semigallia and eastern Samogitia. Most of events take place near and on the hill forts which are common places alloted for such kind of events all over the country.