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Lithuania


Lithuania highlights

Lithuania is one of the Baltic states in Europe. Situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the southeast of Sweden and Denmark, Lithuania is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave) to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.8 million people as of 2019. The capital and largest city is Vilnius and other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipėda. Lithuanians are Balts. The official language, Lithuanian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family, the other being Latvian.





Last updated on: 21 December 2020

Lithuania description

Lithuania is one of the Baltic states in Europe. Situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the southeast of Sweden and Denmark, Lithuania is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave) to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.8 million people as of 2019. The capital and largest city is Vilnius and other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipėda. Lithuanians are Balts. The official language, Lithuanian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family, the other being Latvian.

For centuries, the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas and the Kingdom of Lithuania was created on 6 July 1253. During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe; present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were the territories of the Grand Duchy. With the Lublin Union of 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state personal union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighbouring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772 to 1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory.

As World War I neared its end, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, declaring the founding of the modern Republic of Lithuania. During the Second World War, Lithuania was first occupied by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end and the Germans retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Baltic state to proclaim its independence, resulting in the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania.

The first known record of the name of Lithuania is in a 9 March 1009 story of Saint Bruno in the Quedlinburg Chronicle. The Chronicle recorded a Latinized form of the name Lietuva: Litua. Due to the lack of reliable evidence, the true meaning of the name is unknown. Nowadays, scholars still debate the meaning of the word and there are a few plausible versions. Lietava, a small river, the core area of the early Lithuanian state and a possible first capital of the eventual Grand Duchy of Lithuania, is usually credited as the source of the name.

The first people settled in the territory of Lithuania after the last glacial period in the 10th millennium BC: Kunda, Neman and Narva cultures. They were traveling hunters and did not form stable settlements. In the 8th millennium BC, the climate became much warmer, and forests developed. The inhabitants of what is now Lithuania then travelled less and engaged in local hunting, gathering and fresh-water fishing. Agriculture did not emerge until the 3rd millennium BC due to a harsh climate and terrain and a lack of suitable tools to cultivate the land. Crafts and trade also started to form at this time. Over a millennium, the Indo-Europeans, who arrived in the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC, mixed with the local population and formed various Baltic tribes.

The Baltic tribes did not maintain close cultural or political contacts with the Roman Empire, but they did maintain trade contacts. Tacitus, in his study Germania, described the Aesti people, inhabitants of the south-eastern Baltic Sea shores who were probably Balts, around the year 97 AD. The Western Balts differentiated and became known to outside chroniclers first. Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD knew of the Galindians and Yotvingians, and early medieval chroniclers mentioned Old Prussians, Curonians and Semigallians.

The Lithuanian language is considered to be very conservative for its close connection to Indo-European roots. It is believed to have differentiated from the Latvian language, the most closely related existing language, around the 7th century. Traditional Lithuanian pagan customs and mythology, with many archaic elements, were long preserved.

From the 9th to the 11th centuries, coastal Balts were subjected to raids by the Vikings, and the kings of Denmark collected tribute at times. During the 10–11th centuries, Lithuanian territories were among the lands paying tribute to Kievan Rus', and Yaroslav the Wise was among the Ruthenian rulers who invaded Lithuania (from 1040).

Initially inhabited by fragmented Baltic tribes, in the 1230s the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, who was crowned as King of Lithuania on 6 July 1253. After his assassination in 1263, pagan Lithuania was a target of the Christian crusades of the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order. Siege of Pilėnai is noted for the Lithuanians' defense against the intruders. Despite the devastating century-long struggle with the Orders, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania expanded rapidly, overtaking former Ruthenian principalities of Kievan Rus'.

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is considered as a capital of the Eastern Europe Baroque. Vilnius Old Town that is full of astonishing Baroque churches and other buildings is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lithuania related tours

We at Monterrasol Travel welcome you to see Lithuania during multi-day private car tour. Contact us if you would like to customize your tour to Lithuania.

We have developed several tours that visiting this beautiful place. But, if you have a special conditions or any from these tours fit you, please do not hesitate to contact us, we can organize a tour exactly as you would like. And remember, we have no problems to take you from almost any place where you stay, hotel or private accommodation.


All seasons Baltic tour 21 days from Warsaw. UNESCO medieval towns and Teutonic Knights castles. Discovery tour over Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and north of Poland.

tour start in: Warsaw, Poland

tour finish in: Warsaw, Poland

tour duration: 21 days (20 nights)

tour countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland

tour destinations: Augustów, Gdańsk, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Kwidzyn, Liepāja, Malbork, Olsztyn, Ostroda, Pärnu, Reszel, Riga, Sopot, Sztum, Tallinn, Tartu, Trakai, Ventspils, Vilnius, Święta Lipka

Discover Baltic in 21 days all seasons tour from Warsaw. Open to yourself three Baltic countries Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and north of Poland. Visit UNESCO Teutonic Knights castles and medieval European towns. We will start this tour in Warsaw, Poland and visit Augustow on the north of Poland, well known town for relaxing vacations. After that we going to Lithuania, where in Kaunas we need to see a medieval fortress with historical exhibitions and located in old town Kaunas Cathedral Basilica; continue with Lithuania, we will walk in Klaipeda castle. After we move to Latvia to see historical center of two coastal towns Liepaja and Ventspils, and old town of Latvia's capital Riga (UNESCO site). Next we will move to third Baltic country, Estonia, and first place there is historic center of town Parnu and Estonia's capital Tallinn (UNESCO site). We will visit also the cafe-filled Town Hall Square of Tartu, the town famous with 17th century University. On the way back, again in Lithuania, we will meet the country's capital, Vilnius (UNESCO site) and walk the paths of Trakai castle, located on small peninsula in lake. As we return back to Poland, we will visit small village Swieta Lipka, famous church there have unique still active working organ. We will see medieval castles in Reszel, Olsztyn, Ostroda, and finally walk the streets of Malbork castle, the UNESCO site founded in the 13th century by the Knights of the Teutonic Order. Before we return to Warsaw, we will visit also coastal towns Gdansk and Sopot, and take a look on smaller castles in towns Sztum and Kwidzyn.

all seasons tour

21 days

Price from € 3,071

 



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