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About Lithuania

Lithuania (Fact sheet)
Lithuania is a small country located on the Eastern shore of the Baltic sea. It emerged as a state in the early 13th century and became one of the most powerful states in Eastern Europe. A long history of expansion was followed by shrinkage and even disappearance from the world map. After being incorporated in the Soviet Union during the World War II Lithuania was the first republic to break away in the early 90'es. Today, recovering from the past Lithuanians are building a modern and democratic society based on their historic traditions. Nature has been generous to Lithuania. Although there are no mountains or great forests, the country's beauty lies in the diversity of its landscape. This is a place of rolling hills and gentle plains, of quietly flowing rivers and of lakes which reflect the blueness of the sky. The largest river, the Nemunas carries the waters to the Baltic Sea , wherein lies Lithuania's famous "amber coast".
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Vilnius - a world heritage city
Lithuanians capital city is built at the confluence of the Neris and Vilnia rivers and surrounded by picturesque wooden hills. The city has an enormous architectural diversity with many churches and towers, fortifications, secluded medieval courtyards and narrow and curved streets. It is a city with a rich history, it is a place where Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical styles stand side by side and compliment each other. Vilnius has managed to retain its unique character as a northerly cultural meeting point at the crossroads of the Roman and Byzantine and the European and Eurasian worlds. Don't miss the symbols of Vilnius - the Gediminas Castle, the Gothic masterpiece of Saint Ann's church, the old Vilnius University, the gem of Baroque - the St. Peter and Paul's Church and the classical St. Stanislav's Cathedral.
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Only a short trip west of Vilnius and you explore the former medieval capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the majestic countryside. The red brick Gothic castle situated on a tiny island in the middle of the Galve Lake and rising straight out of the water will leave for you unforgettable memory. Ever since the 15th century Trakai has been the home of a small Karaite community which has succeeded in preserving its own religion, customs and culture.
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Country's second largest city is the geographical centre of Lithuania. The city's Old Town is a fascinating combination of archeology, architecture and history. Here one finds the remains of the Medieval Kaunas castle, the Old Town Hall, the reconstructed Cathedral Basilica. Who can say what best represents Kaunas? Is it M.K. Ciurlionis Art Museum, celebrating the prominent Lithuanian composer, painter and writer, the Baroque Pazaislis Cloister with its amazing summer classical music Festival, the exciting Museum of Devils, or the Rumsiskes Ethnographical Open Air Museum in the Open just in the environs of the city?. In any case Kaunas has some of the most interesting museums in Lithuania.
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Klaipeda - Lithuania's gate way to the sea
The privileged position of the most northerly ice-free port on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea has not only given Klaipeda a rich history. It has also made it a modern 21st century city. The city which was the German city of Memel until it became a part of Lithuania only in 1923 is known for the characteristic quays and warehouses of the busy port and for the Old Town with clusters of old German Fachwerk buildings. Around the city you will find sandy beaches as well as the city is only 25 km from Palanga, Lithuania premier health and beach resort.
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The Curonian Spit
The unique sand spit which encloses the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic and stretches down to the Kaliningrad Region features some of the most beautiful nature around the Baltic Sea. The peninsula is unique phenomenon with its sand dunes formed by wind and water, beach coastline and fragrant pine forests. The German writer Thomas Mann, who spend his summers in his house in Nida wrote in his Life Sketches: "We were very much fascinated by uniqueness of the nature, its beauty, the world of fantastic, moving dunes, beyond any description" The main fishermen's settlements of the Curonian Peninsula, Nida, Preila, Pervalka and Juodkrante, are built in an architectural style unique to this coast and the legacy left by the ethnic Curonian balts. Nida is a favorite summer resort and bring in people from all over the world. In Kopgalis, on the top of the spit, a restored fortress houses the Marine Museum, an aquarium and a dolphinarium.
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Siauliai and the Hill of Crosses
Siauliai is the fourth biggest city in Lithuania. Although primarily an industrial and commercial centre the city is firmly on the tourist trail as the name of the city has become almost synonymous with one of the most moving and potent symbols of Lithuanian Nationhood the Hills of Crosses. The Hill of Crosses, located north of the city borders along the highway to Riga, features an ever growing forest of crosses on all sizes, shapes and materials and looking like nothing else in the world. In Siauliai itself it is worth visiting the 17th century white Peter and Paul Cathedral.
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The oldest year-round health resort located in the very south of Lithuania is known for its natural charm. The town Druskininkai grew up around the mineral springs, which have drawn health seekers there for several centuries. The surrounding pine forests, the picturesque valleys of the Nemunas, lake Druskonis located right in the centre of the town, and a small lake called Mergeles Akys (or the maiden's eyes) in a nearby forest, all contribute to what makes the town special.
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The National Parks - Aukstaitija, Dzukija, Zemaitija
Lithuania is also known for its many national parks. Except for the Curonian Spit the most famous national parks are:
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