The about 3.800.000 Lithuanians live in an area of about 66.000 square kilometers. Languages spoken are Lithuanian, Russian and Polish. Only a few speak some German or Russian.
It may not be the centre of the universe, or the centre of culture, but you might be surprised to learn that Lithuania is in fact the smack dab centre of Europe. Some French geographers argue that quite near to Vilnius is the precise “geographical centre” of Europe, one of several categorically distinct European centres.
One would think, in terms of geographic positioning, determinations of this precision should be an easy enough task with the evolution of satellite positioning technology. But one might also be proven a fool.
This historically accurate account of Lithuania becoming the centre of Europe started back in 1989 when the French Geographical Institute placed the exact centre of Europe (after a re-estimation) at 54 54′ N latitude, 25 19′ E longitude. Previous accounts and estimations have pinpointed the centre to be in Poland, the Ukraine and even as far west as Germany.
But when those finicky French dubbed Lithuania as the actual centre, the country reacted in kind and in 1992 set aside land for the creation of a national park. Some astute capitalist artists even capitalised on the label and built Europas Parkas, an open air museum featuring all sorts of abstract and modern sculptures expressing a unique vision of the centre of Europe, including one noted as the largest sculpture in the world constructed from televisions by the Guinness Book of World Records. While Europos Parkas is not at the actual centre, its creation embodies the Lithuanian take on this honour.
Suffice it to say, Lithuanians are proud not only to be part of Europe, but to be the exact centre of Europe. To make that point even clearer, they commissioned the construction of a sizeable monument by the famed Lithuanian artist Gediminas Jokūbonis and recently developed the national reserve area to even include an amphitheatre. Set atop a modest hill, soaring high above a floor-tiled compass, the statue is emblematic topped with European stars. The dazzling monument, created for tour groups to revel in the centrality of the location, is a mere 26 kilometres from Vilnius and was an undeveloped burial ground in a previous life.
In case you do not have a GPS satellite handy, head on your way to Molėtai on route A11 and watch for the signs to Europos Centras to experience this Lithuanian tribute to the location. While you are there, consider what they must have invested while you gaze at the stars
but save time before nightfall, because this story is not yet over.
Just months after the park’s completion, it seems that those diligent French geographers are waffling on their earlier precision and it just might happen that the very centre is not actually under the column with the stars, but some six to seven kilometres closer to Vilnius, on the side of the road. So if you do have a GPS and are truly interested in this kind of stuff, why not be safe and try navigating to 54 50′ N latitude and 25 18′ E longitude.
While future plans to develop this location are still under wrap, some locals, having used their own astute sense of geography, have dubbed the French Geographic Institute as the European Centre of indecision and miscalculations.
The capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, is becoming increasingly popular for tourists. Its historic old town is a UNESCO world heritage site. A shining example of Eastern European heritage, Vilnius is the base for Lithuanian exploration. Gediminas Castle and Old Town’s Cathedral Square constitute the city’s key cultural elements, among many museums, churches, and baroque gems. For a bit of fun, visit the city’s monument to Frank Zappa.
Beyound Vilnius, Lithuania offers rural sightseeing and holidays to enjoy nature and the history of the country. One of the most famous natural sites is the Curonian Spit, 98 kilometres of sand dunes stretching across the mouth of the Curonian Lagoon, separating it from the Baltic Sea.
Places to Visit in Lithuania
Things to do in Lithuania
Destinations In Lithuania
Map Of Lithuania
Lithuania Hotels and Resorts
Tips for Visiting Lithuania
- What is the geography of Lithuania?
- What are the ethnic groups in Lithuania?
- What language is spoken in Lithuania?
- What is the main religion in Lithuania?
- What is the culture of Lithuania?
- What is the history of Lithuania?
- How is the climate in Lithuania?
- When is the best time to visit Lithuania?
- Do I need a visa to go to Lithuania?
- How to get to Lithuania?
- How can I get around Lithuania?
- What things I need to know before visiting Lithuania?
- What are some good books and movies on Lithuania?
- What will I eat in Lithuania?
- How is healthcare in Lithuania?
- What to buy in Lithuania?
- How to handle money in Lithuania?
- What is nightlife like in Lithuania?
- Is Lithuania a safe place to travel?
- What to wear in Lithuania?
- What is the etiquette in Lithuania?
- What are the Do’s and Don’ts in Lithuania?
- What is illegal in Lithuania?
- What are the major ceremonies and festivals of Lithuania?
- What are the public holidays in Lithuania?
- Why should I go to Lithuania at least once?
What is the geography of Lithuania?
What are the ethnic groups in Lithuania?
What language is spoken in Lithuania?
Helpful words to get you started:
- Hello: Sabaii dee
- How much: Tao dai
- Two: Song
What is the main religion in Lithuania?
What is the culture of Lithuania?
What is the history of Lithuania?
How is the climate in Lithuania?
When is the best time to visit Lithuania?
Do I need a visa to go to Lithuania? How much is the visa fee for Lithuania?
How to get to Lithuania?
How can I get around Lithuania?
What things I need to know before visiting Lithuania?
What are some good books and movies on Lithuania?
What will I eat in Lithuania?
How is healthcare in Lithuania?
What to buy in Lithuania?
How to handle money in Lithuania?
What is nightlife like in Lithuania?
Is Lithuaniaa safe place to travel?
What to wear in Lithuania?
What are the etiquette & customs in Lithuania?
What are the Traveler’s Do’s and Don’ts in Lithuania?
What is illegal in Lithuania?
What are the major ceremonies and festivals of Lithuania?
What are the public holidays in Lithuania?
Why should I go to Lithuaniaat least once?
Last updated on July 2, 2017 at 2:23 pm. Word Count: 1422