World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Lithuania Travelling Guide
Lithuania Travelling Guide

General background: Independent between the two World Wars, Lithuania was annexed by the USSR in 1940. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence, but this proclamation was not generally recognized until September of 1991 (following the abortive coup in Moscow). The last Russian troops withdrew in 1993. Lithuania subsequently has restructured its economy for eventual integration into Western European institutions.

Area comparative: Slightly larger than West Virginia.

Climate: Transitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers

Terrain: Lowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil

Population: 3,601,138 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Lithuanian 80.6%, Russian 8.7%, Polish 7%, Belarusian 1.6%, other 2.1%

Religions: Roman Catholic (primarily), Lutheran, Russian Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical Christian Baptist, Muslim, Jewish

Language: Lithuanian (official), Polish, Russian

Government type: Parliamentary democracy

Capital: Vilnius

Legal system: Based on civil law system; legislative acts can be appealed to the constitutional court.

Economic overview: Lithuania, the Baltic state that has conducted the most trade with Russia, has been slowly rebounding from the 1998 Russian financial crisis. High unemployment, at 12.5% in 2001, and weak consumption have held back recovery. Trade has been increasingly oriented toward the West. Lithuania has gained membership in the World Trade Organization and has moved ahead with plans to join the EU. Privatisation of the large, state-owned utilities, particularly in the energy sector, is underway.

Communication/Telephone system: Inadequate, but is being modernized to provide an improved international capability and better residential access.

Places of interest: The strange Hill of Crosses to the urban pleasures of Vilnius, the historic, lively capital.

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