“Labas” [lah-bahs] (Hi),
Our journey, this month, has brought us to Lithuania, a country in the Baltic region of northern-eastern Europe. One of the three Baltic states (the other two being Estonia and Latvia), Lithuania is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. The capital and largest city of Lithuania is Vilnius, while other major cities include Kaunas and Klaipėda.
The Lithuanian language is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they are not mutually intelligible. It is written in an adapted version of the Roman script. Lithuanian is believed to be the linguistically most conservative living Indo-European tongue, retaining many features of Proto Indo-European.
Lithuanian cuisine features the products suited to the cool and moist northern climate of Lithuania: barley, potatoes, rye, beets, greens, berries, and mushrooms are locally grown, and dairy products are one of its specialties. Fish dishes are very popular in the coastal region. One of the oldest and most fundamental Lithuanian food products was and is rye bread. Rye bread is eaten every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Lithuania is home to many famous artists. Pranciškus Smuglevičius, Jan Rustem, Juozapas Oleškevičius and Kanutas Ruseckas were prominent Lithuanian painters of the 18th and 19th centuries. A famous figure in Lithuania's art community was the composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875–1911), an internationally renowned musician. Among other notable artists include Jonas Mekas, a Lithuanian American filmmaker, poet, and artist who has often been called "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema or experimental cinema".
Fun Fact #1: During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe; present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia
Fun Fact #2: Lithuania has had only one king, King Mindaugas (1251-1263).
Fun Fact #3: There is an oak in Lithuania that has survived The Crusades - The Stelmuze Oak, which is the oldest tree in Europe.