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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

24 November 2017
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Winter motive from Aukštaitijos National Park.

May 2012 become just as peaceful as a Lithuanian landscape

Text: Aage Myhre – aage.myhre@VilNews.com
Photos: The Lithuanian State Department of Tourism - http://www.lithuaniatourism.co.uk

It is New Year's Day year 2012. I wish all of you, dear readers of VilNews, a happy, good, warm and successful year. Let us all do our best to show genuine care and concern for our fellow human beings throughout this year that now barely has started.

Both in Lithuania and in other countries there will also in 2012 be huge groups of people who will feel the consequences of the global economic crisis, and I am afraid war and injustice will continue in many areas of our world throughout the year.

Then there is the the Maya's "Long Count" calendar that marks the end of a 5,126-year era on the 21st of December this year. This has led some to forecast widespread catastrophes for the world. Others predict a restoration of a "true balance between Divine Feminine and Masculine, whereas some anticipate a "change in the nature of consciousness," assisted by indigenous insights and psychedelic drug use...

I recommend the Lithuanian nature as medicine for all who seek peace in their souls in the midst of all problems and predictions for 2012.

Peaceful, harmonious and energizing is the landscape here, as it has been for millions of years. This is a landscape that has seen more war and bloodshed than most other places around the globe. But it is a good landscape. Not as dramatic and wild as in many other countries. Rather quietly and unpretentiously beautiful. The forests, the mighty rivers, and the plains that slowly wave from Belarus to the colossal sand dunes out there on the Baltic Sea coast.

About 28 % of the country is covered by forests, 40 % of them are pines. Wild berries and mushrooms grow in abundance and the picking of them is the most popular hobby of local people. About 300 species of birds can be found, and four Nature Reservations are their breeding grounds. White Storks are the most popular birds, returning to their Lithuanian nests every spring from Sub-Saharan areas where they spend their winters. The White Stork is the country’s national bird, and 25 March is the official ‘Stork’s Day’. Notably, Lithuania is a beneficial and important habitat for the White Storks with the highest known nesting density in the world!

There are over 4,000 lakes and 722 rivers in Lithuania. Wetlands and a mixed forest zone cover nearly 33% of the land. The longest river is the Nemunas, which is 937 km (582 mi) long totally, whereas its length through Lithuania is 457 km (284 mi). Nemunas gathers and carries the waters of many tributaries to the Baltic Sea, wherein lies Lithuania's famous "amber coast" at the Curonian Spit, a 100 km-long (60 mi) bank of sand dunes and pine trees which stretches from the southwest to the seaport of Klaipėda and encloses the vast Curonian Lagoon.

For centuries, amber, Lithuania's precious harvest of the sea, has been washed onto these golden sands. Lithuania enjoys almost 100 kilometres (60 mi) of beautiful sandy coastline, white, soft beaches that are a true bathing paradises during the summer months. Probably the best beaches in all Northern Europe!

The Lithuanian landscape has been smoothed by glaciers. The highest areas are the moraines in the western uplands and eastern highlands, none of which are higher than 300 metres (1,000 ft) above sea level, with the maximum elevation being Aukštojas Hill at 294 metres (964 ft). The best of the country's scenery can be seen in its five National Parks.

The climate lies between maritime and continental, with wet, moderate winters and summers. According to one geographical computation method, Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, lies only a few kilometres south of the geographical centre of Europe.

But these are only the hard facts. The Lithuanian countryside is so much more than just facts. It is only when you begin your walk through the woods here, as you slowly float down one of the rivers in a canoe or a raft, when you sit down at one of the many amazing lakes, or when you first put your foot down into the Baltic Sea’s salty water that you really understand that this country is different. And now, in the year of 2012, you will have the great opportunity of exploring and feeling close to Lithuania's highly inspirational nature. A landscape of peace...

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The colours of the Lithuanian flag symbolise:
YELLOW – the sun, light and prosperity;
GREEN – the Lithuanian landscape, hope and joy;
RED – the colour of earth, life and blood.
The state flag was created in 1918.

Description: http://www.dicts.info/img/ud/amber.jpg

Amber (gintaras) is highly treasured and is the only national gem of Lithuania.

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Lake and island formations in Aukštaitijos National Park.

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Autumn in the Aukštaitijos National Park.

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A winter coated Aukštaitijos National Park.

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Mingė, often nicknamed Lithuania’s Venice) is a small fishermen's village in the Šilutė district, on the Minija river, and is part of the Nemunas Delta Regional Park. This village is unique in Lithuania as the main "road" is the river. Houses are situated on both banks and there is no bridge to connect them. The only way to get around is to use a boat. In 1997 it had 48 residents.

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The Curonian Spit (Neringa)

The Curonian Spit (Neringa) is a long and narrow sand peninsula that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. This natural wonder, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, still exists today solely due to human efforts to counter the natural erosion process. The Neringa landscape is truly unique, dominated by picturesque sand dunes and pristine beaches. The area has a distinct ethnographic flavour, characterised by wooden fishermen cottages and the local speciality of smoked fish. Those looking for a quiet seaside vacation in picturesque surroundings will most definitely not be disappointed.

The huge sand dunes of the Curonian Spit are the largest in North Europe. You reach them by ferry from Klaipeda (takes only 10 min).The Curonian Lagoon is separated from the Baltic Sea by the Curonian Spit. Its surface area is 1,619 square kilometres. The Nemunas River supplies about 90% of its inflows; its watershed consists of 100,450 square kilometres in Lithuania, Belarus, and the Kaliningrad Oblast. At the northern end of the Spit, there is a passage to the Baltic Sea, and the place was chosen by the Teutonic Knights in 1252 to found Memelburg castle and the city of Memel (today’s Klaipeda). The Lagoon, formed about 7,000 years BC, is classified as brackish. Water depths average is 3.8 meters.

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Curonian Spit sand dunes.

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Curonian Spit sand formations.

THE NATIONAL PARKS

Source: http://www.lithuaniatourism.co.uk

Five national parks (Aukštaitijos, Dzūkijos, Žemaitijos, Kuršių nerijos and Trakų) and 30 regional parks filled with virgin forests and unspoiled marshland exist in Lithuania, inhabited by protected wild animals and rare birds.

Three parks (Aukštaitijos, Dzūkijos and Žemaitijos) are named after the ethnographic regions they are situated in. Each of the parks is under the government’s protection and all kinds of recreational and agricultural activities are strictly regulated so that these natural wonders can be enjoyed by everyone. Protected areas, including natural and cultural reserves as well as national and regional parks, cover almost 12% of the country’s entire territory.

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Apart from these, there are 386 special natural monuments (old trees, natural springs, standing stones, etc.) and 3,719 cultural monuments (old ethnographic villages, manors, castles, churches, barrows) under the state’s protection. In many parks, particularly in eastern and western Lithuania, old villages that have kept their traditional structures of unsurfaced streets, thatched-roof farmsteads and fields can be found. They have the status of ethnographic reserves.

These national and regional parks offer visitors the opportunity to see Lithuanian customs and traditions as well as try out local foods and have a good time. www.countryside.lt

There are plenty of opportunities for learning more about Lithuania and its lovely, unspoilt countryside. There are routes and paths for walking, horse riding, cycling, birdwatching and water tourism. Viewpoints throughout the country with magnificent views of the surrounding landscape can easily be reached.

Information in English and other languages is available at the parks’ information centres:

Description: Aušktaitija National Park

Aukštaitija National Park is the first national park founded in Lithuania. Aukštaitija National Park covers about 40 000 ha, there are more than 100 objects of architectural and archaeological heritage, more than 100 villages.

Description: Curonian Spit National Park

Curonian Spit National Park is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Situated between the Curonian lagoon and the Baltic sea, Curonian Spit National Park is one the most beautiful places in Lithuania.

Description: Dzūkija National Park

Dzūkija National Park is the largest protected area in Lithuania. Dzūkija National Park covers about 56 000 ha (85% of it covered by forests), there are about 80 villages, 10 forestry districts.

Description: Trakai Historical National Park

Trakai Historical National Park is the smallest national park in Lithuania. Trakai Historical National Park is located very near the capital of Lithuania, it covers about 8 000 ha. It's the only Historical National Park in the Europe.

Description: Žemaitija National Park

Žemaitija National park is located in the north west of Lithuania. Žemaitija National Park covers about 22 000 ha, which are divided into four zones: recreation, protection, farming and conservation.

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Category : Featured blue / Travel Lithuania!



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