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Lithuania Geography


Lithuania is located in eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Latvia and Poland. Comparatively, it is slightly larger than the state of West Virginia (larger than Belgium, Denmark, Latvia, the Netherlands, or Switzerland), with a total area of 65,200 km² (25,174 mi²). Lithuania shares boundaries with Latvia on the north and northeast, Belarus on the south and southeast, Poland on the southwest, Russia-Kaliningrad Oblast on the west, and the Baltic Sea on the northwest. Lithuania's land boundary length totals 1,273 km (791 mi). Its coastline is 99 km (62 mi).

Lithuania's capital city, Vilnius, is located in the southeastern part of the country.

Lithuania lies at the edge of the Northern European Plain. Its landscape was shaped by the glaciers of the last Ice Age, which retreated about 25,000-22,000 years ago. Lithuania's terrain is an alternation of moderate lowlands and highlands. The highest elevation is 297.84 m above sea level, found in the eastern part of the republic and separated from the uplands of the western region of Samogitia by the fertile plains of the southwestern and central regions.

The landscape is punctuated by 2,833 lakes larger than 10,000 m² and 1,600 smaller ponds. The majority of the lakes are found in the eastern part of the country. Lithuania also has 758 rivers longer than 10 km. The largest river is the Nemunas (total length 917 km), which originates in Belarus. The other larger waterways are the Neris (510 km), Venta (346 km), and Šešupė (298 km) rivers. However, only 600 km of Lithuania's rivers are navigable.

The country's climate, which ranges between maritime and continental, is relatively mild. Average temperatures on the coast are -2.5°C in January and 16°C in July. In Vilnius the average temperatures are -6°C in January and 16°C in July. Simply speaking, 20°C is frequent at summer day and 14 °C at night. Temperatures can reach 30 or 35°C in summer. Some winters can be very cold; -20°C occur almost every winter. Winter extremes are -34°C in the seaside and -43°C in the east of Lithuania. The average annual precipitation is 800 mm on the coast, 900 mm in Samogitia highlands and 600 mm in the eastern part of the country. Snow occur every year, it can be snowing since October to April. In some years sleet can fall in September or May. The growing season lasts 202 days in the western part of the country and 169 days in the eastern part. Severe storms are rare in the eastern part of Lithuania and common in the seaside.

The longest measured temperature records from the Baltic area cover about 250 years. The data show that there were warm periods during the latter half of the 18th century, and that the 19th century was a relatively cool period. An early 20th century warming culminated in the 1930s, followed by a smaller cooling that lasted until the 1960s. A warming trend has persisted since then.

Lithuania experienced a drought in 2002, causing forest and peat bog fires. The country suffered along with the rest of Northwestern Europe during a heat wave in the summer of 2006.


Location :
Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Latvia and Russia

Geographic coordinates :
56 00 N, 24 00 E

Map references :

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