Lithuania lies in between latitudes 53° and 57° N, longitudes 21° and 27° E. It is largest and is the southernmost of 3 Baltic States with an area of 65,200 square kilometers, situated in northern Europe. It shares its borders with Latvia in north, Belarus in east, Poland in south, and Kaliningrad Oblast in southwest.
The total population of this country is 3.2 million making it most populated of 3 Baltic nations. The capital is Vilnius located in the south eastern part of the country. The national currency is litas.
Lithuania has a 99 km coastline on the Baltic Sea while rest of coast is covered by curonian sand peninsula which is also a UNESCO world heritage site. Lithuania is exactly located on the edges of the North European plains and its landscape is characterized by mild low lying areas and medium height highlands. Maximum elevation above sea level is at 294 meters (Aukstojas Hill) which is in eastern territory of the country. The terrain s dotted with numerous rivers (758) and lakes (2800). Forest cover is around 33% of the total area.
The climate of this east European country is relatively regarded as mild and varies between maritime and continental. In recent past though temperatures as high as 37 degrees Celsius has been recorded in various parts of Lithuania, in uniformity with the rest of Europe facing the unprecedented heat wave in mid summers. Winters in some parts of country can be as low as -43 degrees Celsius (in eastern sector). Generally coastline experiences relatively lower fluctuations in temperatures from -2.5 degrees in January to 16 degrees in June. Average annual rainfall can be around 800 mm.
Local Lithuanians constitute upto an 80% of total population, other ethnic groups are Polish 6.6% Russian 5.4% and Belarusian's 1.3%. The population constituent of the country is primarily aged between 15 years to 64 years making over 70% of total population.
Lithuanian is the official language of the country and is spoken by a sizeable majority of 84% people. 60% of Lithuanians are fluent in Russian and about 32% have a fair command over English.
The dominant religion of Lithuania is Roman Catholic which counts upto almost 80 percent of the total inhabitant of this former eastern bloc nation, followed by orthodox, rest of the communists have little representations in the country.
The power center of the country lies in the capital of the country. The administration of the country is organized in 10 counties and further administered in 60 districts.
After cessation from the erstwhile USSR in 1990 (a year before the collapse of Soviet Union) and subsequent declaration of independence on March 11 1990, the country has adopted a democratic set-up and is currently governed as a parliamentary system which has incorporated features of partial presidential administration. Presidential elections are held every 5 years, although national security and foreign affairs are main policy functions within the purview of the president, but this position is largely nominal. Prime minister is appointed by the president on advice of Semias (parliamentary advisors panel) who in turn nominates rest of operational cabinet.
The unicarmel parliament is constituted by 141 members elected for 4 years. 70 of these are single nomination constituents while rest of 71 are elected through nationwide voting using proportional representing.
Lithuania after breakaway from the eastern European pact countries witnessed a dramatic shift in its foreign relationships. It became a member of UNO on September 18 1991. Its is also a member of following groupings:
- North Atlantic coordinating council
- European Union
- Schengen Treaty
- Council of Europe
- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
- World trade organization
- The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)
- Nordic Investment Bank (NIB)
This former Eastern bloc nation today is an activist member of many regional Nordic and Baltic development initiatives, aiming to bring about a close cooperation between the Nordic and Baltic nations in perspective of economic development and pursual of numerous joint objectives. Besides these organizations Lithuania has its diplomatic missions in 149 countries around the globe.
Most prominent and notable event for this country is going to be in 2013 when it is slated to take over reigns of presidency of European Union.
On the economic front this former Warsaw pact country is often termed as Baltic tiger, owing to its breakneck economic progress in the pre meltdown period and even after the crisis, the walk back has been speeding up aided by several measures adopted by the government to boost the economic rehabilitation of the crisis hit economy. Pre 2008 estimates and figures depict Lithuanian PPS GDP per capita at 61 per cent of EU averages in 2008. According to the latest estimates in April 2012 the unemployment rate is hovering around 11.8%
There is a flat tax system being followed in the country instead of the progressive tax slabing to simplify the taxation.
Litas is currently pegged against Euro at 1 EURO = 3.458 LTL. It is expected to be integrated into the Euro on 12 January 2014.
Lithuania has a well developed and modernized infrastructure which is characterized by four lane highways, expansive rail road network and world class airports. Villius is the biggest airport of the country serving millions of passengers annually. Other international airports are Kaunas International Airport and Palanga International Airport. The Port of Klaipeda is the lone port catering Lithuania.
According to the World Bank reports Lithuania has an enviable literacy rate of 100% for inhabitants 15 years and older. People between 24 to 64 years in age are professionally trained in various vocations and training level of the people is slated to be better than EU-15 countries. 90% of population speaks atleast 1 foreign language.
As far as the educational infrastructure of the country goes it is well defined and established with simultaneous government run universities private establishments.There are several government and private funded colleges.