Lithuania is officially known as the Republic of Lithuania and it is country in northern Europe. It is also the largest of the three Baltic State situated on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Latvia is to the north of Lithuania, Belarus is to its southeast, Poland and the Russian exclave Kaliningrad Oblast is towards the southwest.
Lithuania, the largest and most populous of the Baltic States has 99 Kilometers of coastline. Its major port is Klaipeda and Main River is the Neman. The Lithuanian landscape is covered with glaciers. Aukstojas Hill at 964 feet from the sea level is more famous. There are also a number of lakes including the Vistytis. The climate is midway between maritime and continental.
A member of the European Union since May 1, 2004, the origin of Lithuania dates back to 1009. However, the unification took place in 1236 and people all around the world started referring it as the State of Lithuania. Mindaugas, who was instrumental in the unification, was coroneted officially as the King of this state in 1253.
During the first part of the 14th century A.D, Lithuania had occupied Belarus, Ukrine, parts of Poland and Russia. By the end of the 14th century it had become the largest country in Europe having the area from Baltic to Black Sea. Subsequently the Grand Duke Jogaila was crowned the King of Poland and Lithuania and Poland joined in a union. The formal union was however, dissolved in 1401.
Again in 1569, Poland and Lithuania got united to form Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth. Lithuania maintained its sovereignty. However, this joint state was dissolved in 1795 with the partition of the Commonwealth. Around 90% territories of Lithuania were annexed in Russian empire and the remaining portion was annexed in Prussia.
Lithuania re-established its independence on February 16th, 1918. Later the Parliament opted for a republican form of Government, replacing the existing monarchy. But the country was plagued by territorial disputes with Germany and Poland. During 1940, at the beginning of World War II, Soviet Union occupied and annexed Lithuania in accordance with Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Later it came under German occupation and around the year 1900, and the Lithuanian Jews were killed during that period. After the defeat of Germany in the World War II, Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania in 1944. During the soviet occupation around 780,000 people were killed in Siberia from 1944 to 1954.
Led by Sajudis, Lithuania claimed its independence once again on March 11, 1990. Russian attempts to suppress the rebellion failed and the last soviet soldier left Lithuania on August 31, 1993. On February 4, 1991, Iceland was the first country to recognise Lithuania as an independent country. Sweden was the first country to open an Embassy in Lithuania. On 31st May, 2001, Lithuania joined the United Nations on 17th September, 1991 and became its 141st member. It was the first Baltic state that applied for NATO membership in 1994 and became a full fledged NATO member on March 29, 2004. Later, on May 1, 2004, it also became a member of the European Union. Valdas Adamkus is the current President of Lithuania.
Since independence in 1990, Lithuania continues to be a democracy. Its first general election was held on October 25th, 1992. The constitutional pattern is a semi-presidential system. The President, who is the head of the state, is elected for a term of five years. He appoints the Prime Minister with the approval of the Parliamentary body called the Seimas and on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, nominates other members of the cabinet, civil servants, and judges. Judges of constitutional bench serve for nine years. Nine judges are appointed, three each by the President, Chairman of the Seimas, and the Chairman of the Supreme Court.
Lithuanian Parliament is composed of one legislative body and has 141 members elected for a 4 year term, and 71 of them are elected on vote in single constituency and the remaining 70 by nationwide voting. Unless a party receives at least 5% of the national votes, it can not be represented in the Seimas.
Administratively, Lithuania is divided in to 10 counties and 60 Municipalities. The 60 Municipalities are further subdivided into 500 elderates. The counties have county governors appointed by the central government. Their domain is national law, program, and policies. Municipalities are either district or city municipalities. Elderates are the smallest unit and provide necessary services to the people close to their homes. They are most active in social sector.
Lithuania can be divided into the Aukstaitija or highlands, Samogitia or low lnds, Dzukija, Sudovia, and Lithuania Minor. Before joining the European Union in 2003, Lithuania had the highest economic growth rate at 8.8% per annum. To day it is a member of the World Trade Organisation and the European Union. It has a well developed railways system, airports and four land highways. It has almost full employment since the unemployment rate is only 2.9%.
Presently, Litas is the national currency of Lithuania but it is supposed to switch over to Euro by 2009. It has a flat tax rate and the rate of income tax is low at only 24%.
The great yard of Vilnius University, and the oldest wooden church at Paluse are places to be visited. Lithuanian language is spoken by 83.5% of the people. There are 6.7% Poles, 6.3% Russians and 1.2% Belarusian in Lithuania. Most Lithuanians can communicate in Russian since they were subjected to long soviet domination. While English is taken as the first foreign language for study, students may opt for Russian, German and Polish languages too.
Lithuania has strong Catholic traditions. Around 79% Lithuanians are Roman Catholics. Protestants at 1.9% are clear minorities in Lithuania, while 4.9% of the population belongs to Eastern Orthodoxy. Judaism, Islam and Karaism constitute around 1.6% of the population. Largest cities of Lithuania are Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Siauliai, Panevezys, Alytus, Marjampole, Mazeikiai, Jonova, and Utena.
These are the days of mobile telephony. A person at a distance is easily reachable from anywhere in the world, without the trouble of running to a telephone booth.. Today, cell phones are a real necessity and no more an item of luxury. You may, therefore, like to take your cell phone to Lithuania when you travel to that country. But simultaneously, you would also be concerned about the expenses involved, which may be quite high, especially when you call internationally to get in touch with your business associates, friends and your family back home.
Let us illustrate our point with a couple of examples.
Think of those days when cell phone was yet to arrive on the scene and people for communication was dependent on the old land phone and the nearest to the mobile telephony was the cordless phone that could allow you a mobility of a couple of hundreds of meters and no more. People on travel or tour were fairly dependent on the telephone service provided by the hotel. The charges involving both STD and ISD were comparatively higher and there was the service charges claimed in addition by the hotel. More-over, people wanting to get in touch with you just could not, when you were not available in your hotel. They had no other option but to leave a message at the hotel reception.
Cell phones brought in the conveniences that we appreciate. However, here too there is one cliché. If you have gone on travel abroad, say to Lithuania, and using your cell phone, it will be on the roaming mode. Both incoming calls and outgoing calls will be quite expensive in the system making you uncomfortable. This is no less expensive a proposition compared to the time when you had no other option but to use the telephone in your hotel room.
A Lithuanian prepaid SIM card, together with an unlocked GSM cell phone could be the real solution to your problem. Such a phone will not only allow you to have a local Lithuanian cell phone number but also charge your calls at local rates. All your incoming calls are free irrespective of its source of origin. Therefore, for your next trip to Lithuania, make sure to buy a prepaid SIM card for Lithuania. You do not have to sign a contract and you do not receive any bill at the end of the month.
When you buy a prepaid SIM card for Lithuania, a small talk time credit is provided along with it. You can renew and replenish the same with recharge vouchers and coupons available in the local stores anywhere in Lithuania. Such cards are available in various denominations so as to allow you purchase one according to your requirements and budget.
A SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card is a printed circuit board, a little smaller than a postage stamp. The module goes into a slot at the back of your cell phone as you take off the back cover. The SIM card is the module which renders your cell phone intelligent, and enables you to make and receive calls and send SMS messages to your friends, associates and family back home. It has a microprocessor circuitry with memories and holds your unique information, such as, identifying you as a cell phone service subscriber. It holds your subscription information, your SIM card number, the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) of your mobile phone and other security details. As you switch on your cell phone, the information is transmitted to the local network of the city that you are visiting abroad. This is then matched with the database information of the Foreign Service provider and matched. If the information matches, your cell phone is logged in the network and you are now ready to use your cell phone to make and receive calls. The SIM card also holds your address book, where you can store the names and telephone numbers of the people you often get in touch with. All your incoming and outgoing call numbers are logged in the memory of the SIM card, which are displayed to you along with the respective time and date of the calls.
For more information and prices of a pre-paid SIM card for Lithuania, visit http://www.planetomni.com/FAQ_sim.shtml
You would require a GSM cell phone when you visit Lithuania. If you have a GSM phone, it is very likely that it will not operate in that country, unless you have a multi-frequency cell phone with you. The networks in Lithuania operate on 900MHz and 1800MHz GSM frequency bands, where-as, networks in North America, Canada and a few countries in the Americas operate on 850MHz and 1900 MHz GSM frequency bands. Therefore, with the mismatch of your cell phone frequency bands with that of the networks in Lithuania, your GSM phone will not work in that country. . The world over, use different GSM frequency bands compared to the ones used in North America, Canada and few of the neighbouring countries, and in effect this what sets a part these countries from the rest of the world.
In order to facilitate the use of cell phones universally, there are three types of such phones available in the world market. The Quad-band phone complies with all GSM bandwidths and would work in any of the GSM country in the world. The Tri-band is compatible with 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands, and operates in most part of the GSM region, while the Dual-band responds to 800MHz and 1900MHz GSM frequency bands.
If you are a frequent traveller, you may consider buying a compatible cell phone which would work in the countries that you visit. If you are not so frequent a traveller, it is economical for you to rent a phone which will match the frequency bands with the networks of the country that you are visiting. For more information on buying or renting a phone, you may visit http://www.planetomni.com/FAQ_gsm.shtml for more details.
GSM stands for the Global System for Mobile Communication. This new digital technology that was initiated in Europe as the second generation or 2G system was devised as a replacement to the old day 1G analog system. Today, as many as 214 countries have adopted the technology and under it they cover around 80% of the mobile customers in the world.
It may not be out of place to mention here that bandwidth frequency would be varying with the variation in global GSM regions. Geographical divergences will cause divergence of bandwidth frequency. But the GSM facility even at the worst allows roaming facilities that cater to the problem to some extent, though it is a costly proposition.
While traveling to Lithuania or for that matter to any foreign country with your cell phone, just do not forget to make it SIM unlocked. If you buy or rent one also you must see that the cell phone you are procuring is SIM unlocked. Otherwise you may not be able to use the phone for the purpose you have bought it.
The accepted pattern is that you enter into a contract with your service provider when you purchase a new cell phone. You become bound to use the services of your provider for a specific period. The cell phone comes to you free of cost and becomes yours at the end of the contract period. During that period your phone remains SIM locked and you cannot use your phone with any other SIM card except the one that you have received from your service provider. However, on termination of the contract the provider makes your phone SIM unlocked and you are now free to obtain any SIM card for your phone For proper use of your cell phone at Lithuania, it must be compatible with the bandwidth frequency there and it must be SIM unlocked.
A pre-paid SIM card for Lithuania is affordable and it saves substantially on your phone bills. All your incoming calls are free and you do not pay any roaming charges. Since you pre-pay for your calls, you are in complete control of your expenses. You do not sign any contract and you do not receive any bill at the end of the month.
Source by John Dulaney