(Lietuvos Respublika). State of northeastern Europe (65,300 km²). Capital: Vilnius. Administrative division: counties (10). Population: 3,350,079 (2009 estimate). Language: Lithuanian (official), Russian. Religion: Catholics 79%, Orthodox 4.1%, others 16.9%. Monetary unit: litas, in the pl. litai (100 cents). Human Development Index: 0.869 (43rd place). Borders: Latvia (N), Belorussia (E and SE), Poland and Russia (SW), Baltic Sea (NW). Member of: Council of Europe, EBRD, NATO, UN, OSCE, EU and WTO. Visit petwithsupplies for Brief Information About Lithuania.
Overlooking the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, Lithuania is part, together with Latvia and Estonia, of the so-called Baltic Republics with which it shared, starting from the 18th century, a long past of domination by the Tsarist Empire, ending with the proclamation of independence in 1918. Annexed, in 1940, to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Lithuania obtained independence in 1991, following strenuous demands, a few months before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The collapse of the latter also marked the end of the privileged economic relations with the other Soviet republics, causing a serious crisis in the country forced to undergo a difficult phase of restructuring and transition towards a more modern market economy. But the economic efforts of the Lithuanian government which, despite a certain political instability, managed to reduce inflation and keep the unemployment rate stable, were rewarded by the decision of both NATO and the European Union to accept the candidacy of the Baltic country..
Lithuania has maintained a rich folkloric heritage, which is alive both in large cities and in isolated countryside. The culture of the Lithuanian people, particularly proud of their national tradition, is linked to pre-Christian pagan elements and has its roots in the oral tradition, made up of tales, legends, proverbs and ancient folk songs. The heritage of the latter is considerable, most of which date back to the feudal age and inspired by the various moments of life: work, hunting, fishing, emigration, family and domestic work. In Lithuania, many festivals of folk songs and dances are organized which are also successful internationally and which, for this reason, together with the festivals that take place in the other two Baltic countries, are inscribed in the heritage of oral and non-material masterpieces of the UNESCO. Among the most widespread Lithuanian traditions it is worth mentioning the woodworking with a rich production of large crosses, weathervanes and figures of saints that are placed on long poles and placed at road crossings, in village squares or in places where particular events have occurred. historical events. During the Soviet regime, which prevented the population from professing religion and possessing sacred icons, the craftsmanship was inspired by more secular themes but still today, in the streets and gardens of Lithuania, you can admire these finely carved works in wood. Local craftsmanship also stands out in the fields of graphic arts, glass decoration and the production of traditional objects in amber and linen. Lithuania, together with Latvia, during the first decades of the 20th century, it was the seat of the main production plants of the famous Zeppelin airships. The unusual shape must have become familiar to the population, to the point of conditioning the shape and name of the Lithuanian national dish (cepelinai), made from potato paste and garnished with meat or mushrooms along with a sauce made from onions, butter, sour cream and bits of bacon.
The first representations date back to the second half of the century. XVI, a time when the Jesuits arrived in the country, who founded about thirty school theaters, soon imitated by other religious orders. Hagiographic plays were performed there in Latin and Polish. There was also a court theater in which Italian, English, French and German companies performed. Only in 1785 the first public theater was built in Vilnius, where performances in Lithuanian were also given, which was closed in 1863. The period of independence saw the rise of many theaters in Lithuania, especially in Kaunas: prose, opera and ballet reached remarkable levels of professional efficiency. After the Second World War there was the exodus of many men of the theater, active above all in western Germany, while in the country numerous theaters were opened, not only in Vilnius and Kaunas, but also in the most important provincial cities. Significant changes took place with the achievement of independence in 1991. Lithuania has begun to participate in international theater life, presenting its productions at numerous theater festivals around the world. The two main representatives of the new expansion of the Lithuanian theater are Eimuntas Nekrosius and Oskaras Korsunovas.