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Emporis Buildings Siauliai Kaunas Panevežys Vilnius Klaipeda

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65.200 km²
(25.174 mi²)
Vilnius (555.553 Einw.)

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The name "Lithuania" was first time used in written texts back in 1010. In the middle ages Lithuania was one of the biggest countries in Europe stretching from Baltic Sea to Black Sea. Many great churches were built in those times to counter the effects of Lithuania being the last remaining pagan citadel in Europe. Later, Lithuania merged with Poland to form "Rzeczpospolita" -- Lithuanian and Polish Republic. After some time, it was conquered by Russian Empire. Lithuanian Language, which is the oldest remaining indo-european language, became forbidden to use. Lithuania regained independence for the first time shortly after WW1. It was a bit smaller than now, because Vilnius along with all eastern Lithuania was still occupied by Poland. Signs of this era can still be seen in Vilnius as the number of Polish people living in the city is considerably high. Kaunas, Lithuanian capital at that time, prospered. Lithuania was very rich country at the time. WW2 broke out and Lithuania was occupied first by Germans and later by Soviet Union. The occupation lasted for 50 years. During that time a few high-rise buildings were built including several hotels and other structures like TV Tower and wired masts. Lithuania declared independence in 1990, but it was not recognised by USSR. In January 13th of 1991 Soviet troops invaded Lithuania again. Several high buildings including TV Tower and Palace of Press became primary targets of the Soviet army. Many Lithuanians came to streets to defend the country. 14 people were killed and many were injured, but the only building Soviets managed to occupy was the TV Tower. Soviet Union collapsed and they had to leave the building some half a year later, when Russia recognised Lithuania's independence. Since then, Lithuania has headed to western Europe and didn't join the commonwealth of independent states like most of ex-Soviet countries did. The growing Lithuanian Economy were hit seriously again in 1998 by the Russian economic crisis. After that Lithuania's economy has reoriented even more towards the EU. Although slower than Estonias or Latvias, Lithuanias economy is growing again. Lithuania has plans to join NATO in 2002 and EU in 2003. Lithuania also happens to be the Geographical center of Europe.

Staaten von Litauen