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Nature

Lithuania is located on the western edge of the Eastern European plain. It is a country of lowland plains broken by hilly uplands. Juozapine hill (292 m) is the highest point in Lithuania. Often one hears Lithuanians referring to their country's kalnai (mountains) although these are really never more than small hills.

Lithuania boasts one of Europe's densest lake districts located in the eastern regions; in all, the country contains over 3000 lakes. The largest (Druksiai, 44.8 sq km), deepest (Tauragnas, 60.5 m), and longest (Asveja, 21.9 km) lakes as well as one of Lithuania's five national parks are also located in this region. Lakes and jûrós marós (seas) are popular in Lithuanian folklore.

A concentrated and complex river system drains the heavy precipitation which falls throughout the year. A major portion of Lithuania lies within the Nemunas river basin. This river is the largest and longest (937 km) in Lithuania. It is often mentioned in folk songs and folklore; in fact Lithuania is often called the land of the Nemunas.

Once all of Lithuania was covered with forests which contained many oak groves which were considered sacred. Today, only 28% of deciduous and mixed forests remain, while cultivated fields occupy the rest of the land. The Labanoras, Dainava and other woodlands are still relatively intact, and are full of mushrooms and berries each year. In some of the larger forests and remote areas, one can still find wolves, foxes, wild boars, deers, elks, and other large mammals as well as rare birds. Bisons, once common in Lithuania, were driven to extinction. Recent attempts to restock the bison from other eastern herds have been successful. The aurochs (Bos primigenius), ancestor of domestic cattle, disappeared in the 17th century.



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Next: Population Previous: The Lithuanian Flag

"LITHUANIAN ROOTS", Edited by Rytis Ambrazevicius


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Copyright ©, 1996 Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre.