Lithuania is mainly known for being a 1/3 of the Baltic States and for fantastic basketball players. Yet there’s so much more to this seemingly quiet little country. This is our list of unique, interesting and fun facts about Lithuania. For a tiny country way off at the edge of Europe, Lithuania has some pretty impressive claims to fame. You’ve probably even seen a few of their athletes on TV, with those long names full of endless consonant strings and funny accent marks. Here are top 20 interesting facts about Lithuania that will amaze you.
1. The football star Romualdas Marcinkus was the single Lithuanian pilot to serve in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.
2. The name of Lithuania was mentioned for the first time in the Annals of Quedlinburg in 1009. Thats old.
3. According to a study made by a French scientist in 1989, Lithuania is in the geographical center of Europe.
4. Lithuanians were the last nation in Europe to convert to Christianity.
5. The Lithuanian language is more ancient than Greek, Latin, German, Celtic, or the Slav tongues. It belongs to the Indo-European group and is nearest to Sanscrit.
6. Some philologists generally agree that Lithuanian is the most ancient of all the living languages.
7. Lithuania is known as the land of storks, the national bird for the country, with about 13,000 pairs. Interesting Facts about Lithuania
8. From a ranking in 2011, Lithuania ranked first worldwide for internet upload and download speed. I can attest to that.
9. By the end of the fourteenth century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe.
10. Making vodka from corn was first discovered by the Lithuanians.
11. Easter granny brings the Easter eggs, the bunny just helps paint them.
12. Lithuania was the first to declare independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.
13. Lithuania is the only country in the world with its own official scent, called the Scent of Lithuania.
14. Forest covers 1/3 of the country, including many protected regions and national parks.
15. Basketball is the most popular sport. Several Lithuanians have become NBA players, maybe most famous being Arvydas Sabonis.
16. By the end of the XIV century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe, and included Belarus and parts of Ukraine.
17. Vilnius University was the first University in the Eastern Europe.
18. Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs was born in Lithuania.
19. The mother of Pope John Paul II was of Lithuanian descent.
20. Interesting Lithuanian Superstitions
- Don’t whistle indoors. It’s bad luck to whistle inside, since it’s believed to call evil little devils.
- Want to get married? Don’t sit at a corner. Apparently only true for unwed ladies, sitting at the corner of a table makes you unmarriageable.
- Black Bread & Salt. Combined, they’re considered good luck. Visiting guests might receive a small token, or newlyweds as well wishes for their future together.
History of Lithuania:
Lithuania used to be huge. Back in the 1400s it was one of the biggest countries in Europe, whose territory included most of modern-day Belarus and western Ukraine. It even teamed up with Poland to form the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for a few hundred years, until it was carved up by surrounding European powers. The first school dates back to 1387, at Vilnius Cathedral.
Lithuania had a brief history of independence after WWI, but was soon incorporated into the Soviet Union, followed by Nazi conquest, and Soviet conquest again. This tiny country was the first to declare independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, leading the way for other countries to break free from the USSR soon after.
Lithuania’s economy was the fastest growing in Europe throughout much of the 2000s, though the global economic crisis of 2008 did some damage. Lithuania only ever had a single king: Mindaugas, who united the tribes and established a monarchy, but was assassinated a few decades later.
We love Lithuania:
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Folk music, Zemaitis guitars and Easter Grannies. Dive into Lithuania's history in this Top 10 video; Top 10 Unique Facts About Lithuania! Do you know of any other interesting facts about Lithuania? Have an idea for a future Top 10? Let us know in the comment section below!
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H/T: Wikipedia.com & truenomads.com