(Republic of Lithuania, Lietuvos Respublika)
- Location : Europe (Baltic Region)
- Capital: Vilnius
- Language: Lithuanian
- Population: 3.24 million
- Total Area: 65,200 sq km
- Currency: Litas
- Annual average liquor consumption per capita: 11.2 liters per year
- Annual Beer Consumption Per Capita: 76 liters per year
- The Most Popular Drink: Beer (Utenos, Kalnapilis), midus, gira, kveisas
Date of formation of Lithuania is considered to have been in the 13th century A.D. In the Middle Ages, Lithuania was one of the biggest countries in Europe and in 1569 joined to form a union with Poland. It was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1795, regained its independence in 1918 but was re-occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940 and by Germany from 1941-1944. Lithuania was later the first Soviet republic to declare its independence again as an independent nation on March 11, 1990. Outside of a turbulent history, Lithuania is also the Geographical Centre of Europe. It was marked by The National Institute of Geography of France in 1989, is 26 km to the North of Vilnius (located at 54°54′N 25°19′E). This fact is registered in Guinness Book of World Records.
Lithuanians have the lowest male life expectancy in the EU (66 years old) and one of the highest suicide rates in the world. It is then not surprising that Vilnius is the only city in the world that has a statue honoring a great musician (and a mad scientist according to some), Frank Zappa.
If you are into extreme travel experiences, make sure to check out Social project “1984. Survival drama”. It is possibly the strangest European theme park. It recreates life (3 hour experience) under Soviet rule. It takes place in KGB bunkers (15 miles from Vilnius). These tunnels, 15 feet underground, that were dug in 1983 and used to house emergency TV and radio studios in case of a NATO attack, now has become a tourist attraction.
Lithuanian cuisine offers a great choice of dishes and freshly baked breads. Additionally, any café will offer a large variety of food if potatoes are not your favorite. For those looking for a taste of authentic, cepelinai is worth trying. It is an oval shaped grated potato dumpling filled with ground meat. It’s interesting that this dish got its name from the zeppelin or dirigible, which was manufactured by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. The aircraft was named after the inventor, while the form resembled Lithuanian cepelinai.
In Lithuania, beer is very popular and beer sales represent over half of alcohol sold in the country. Connoisseurs say it is of very high quality and judges agree. Lithuanian brewers have won more than one international prize. I have tried a few of various flavors and strength but could not pin point my favorite as after a few, they all tasted the same.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Simon Arms (Berlin, Germany) for story editing.
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