Theme Week Lithuania

Monday, 20 June 2022 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  8 minutes

Vilnius © Diliff/cc-by-sa-3.0

Vilnius © Diliff/cc-by-sa-3.0

Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. It is one of three Baltic states and lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. Lithuania shares land borders with Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia to the southwest. It has a maritime border with Sweden to the west on the Baltic Sea. Lithuania covers an area of 65,300 km² (25,200 sq mi), with a population of 2.8 million. Its capital and largest city is Vilnius; other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipėda. Lithuanians belong to the ethno-linguistic group of the Balts and speak Lithuanian, one of only a few living Baltic languages.

For millennia the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, becoming king and founding the Kingdom of Lithuania on 6 July 1253. In 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 all lands of the Grand Duchy. The Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were in a de facto personal union from 1386 with the marriage of the Polish queen Hedwig and Lithuania’s Grand Duke Jogaila, who was crowned King jure uxoris Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland. The Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania was established by the Union of Lublin in July 1569. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighbouring countries dismantled it in 1772–1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania’s territory. As World War I ended, Lithuania’s Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, founding the modern Republic of Lithuania. In World War II, Lithuania was occupied first by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. Towards the end of the war in 1944, when the Germans were retreating, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. Lithuanian armed resistance to the Soviet occupation lasted until the early 1950s. On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania passed the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, becoming the first Soviet republic to proclaim its independence.

Seimas Palace in Vilinius, the parliament of Lithuania © Marcin Białek/cc-by-sa-3.0 Palanga Amber Museum © Thomas Pusch/cc-by-sa-3.0 Pažaislis Monastery in Kaunas © Diliff/cc-by-sa-3.0 Trakai Island Castle © flickr.com - dalbera/cc-by-2.0 Vilnius © Diliff/cc-by-sa-3.0 Hill of Crosses near Šiauliai © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Seimas Palace in Vilinius, the parliament of Lithuania © Marcin Białek/cc-by-sa-3.0
Several famous Lithuania-related architects are notable for their achievements in the field of architecture. Johann Christoph Glaubitz, Marcin Knackfus, Laurynas Gucevičius and Karol Podczaszyński were instrumental in introducing Baroque and neoclassical architectural movements to the Lithuanian architecture during the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. Vilnius 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 is also known for numerous castles. About twenty castles exist in Lithuania. Some castles had to be rebuilt or survive partially. Many Lithuanian nobles‘ historic palaces and manor houses have remained till the nowadays and were reconstructed. Lithuanian village life has existed since the days of Vytautas the Great. Zervynos and Kapiniškės are two of many ethnographic villages in Lithuania. Rumšiškės is an open space museum where old ethnographic architecture is preserved. During the interwar period, Art Deco, Lithuanian National Romanticism architectural style buildings were constructed in the Lithuania’s temporary capital Kaunas. Its architecture is regarded as one of the finest examples of the European Art Deco and has received the European Heritage Label.

Lithuanian cuisine features the products suited to the cool and moist northern climate of Lithuania: barley, potatoes, rye, beets, greens, berries, and mushrooms are locally grown, and dairy products are one of its specialties. Fish dishes are very popular in the coastal region. Since it shares its climate and agricultural practices with Northern Europe, Lithuanian cuisine has some similarities to Scandinavian cuisine. Nevertheless, it has its own distinguishing features, which were formed by a variety of influences during the country’s long and difficult history. Dairy products are an important part of traditional Lithuanian cuisine. These include white cottage cheese (varškės sūris), curd (varškė), soured milk (rūgpienis), sour cream (grietinė), butter (sviestas), and sour cream butter kastinis. Traditional meat products are usually seasoned, matured and smoked – smoked sausages (dešros), lard (lašiniai), skilandis, smoked ham (kumpis). Soups (sriubos) – boletus soup (baravykų sriuba), cabbage soup (kopūstų sriuba), beer soup (alaus sriuba), milk soup (pieniška sriuba), cold-beet soup (šaltibarščiai) and various kinds of porridges (košės) are part of tradition and daily diet. Freshwater fish, herring, wild berries and mushrooms, honey are highly popular diet to this day. One of the oldest and most fundamental Lithuanian food products was and is rye bread. Rye bread is eaten every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bread played an important role in family rituals and agrarian ceremonies. Lithuanians and other nations that once formed part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania share many dishes and beverages. German traditions also influenced Lithuanian cuisine, introducing pork and potato dishes, such as potato pudding (kugelis or kugel) and potato sausages (vėdarai), as well as the baroque tree cake known as Šakotis. The most exotic of all the influences is Eastern (Karaite) cuisine – the kibinai are popular in Lithuania. Lithuanian noblemen usually hired French chefs, so French cuisine influence came to Lithuania in this way. Balts were using mead (midus) for thousands of years. Beer (alus) is the most common alcoholic beverage. Lithuania has a long farmhouse beer tradition, first mentioned in 11th century chronicles. Beer was brewed for ancient Baltic festivities and rituals. Farmhouse brewing survived to a greater extent in Lithuania than anywhere else, and through accidents of history the Lithuanians then developed a commercial brewing culture from their unique farmhouse traditions. Lithuania is top 5 by consumption of beer per capita in Europe in 2015, counting 75 active breweries, 32 of them are microbreweries. The microbrewery scene in Lithuania has been growing in later years, with a number of bars focusing on these beers popping up in Vilnius and also in other parts of the country. Eight Lithuanian restaurants are listed in the White Guide Baltic Top 30.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Lithuania Tourism, History of Lithuania, History of the Jews in Lithuania, The Holocaust in Lithuania, Culture of Lithuania, Culture of Lithuania, World Heritage Sites in Lithuania, Gothic architecture in Lithuania, Politics of Lithuania, Foreign relations of Lithuania, Economy of Lithuania, Tourism in Lithuania, Lithuanian cuisine, Wikivoyage Lithuania and Wikipedia Lithuania. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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