The first Baltic nation to declare independence from the Soviet Union, Lithuania is a quirky, charming country filled with beautiful landscapes, vibrant cities and unique attractions. The capital city, Vilnius, is small but what it lacks in size, it makes up in culture, architecture and odd charm. Pay a visit to Lithuania and you'll be enchanted by its natural beauty and eccentricities.
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Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, was also a European Culture Capital in 2009. The city is a definitely a contrast between the old and the modern. Baroque and Gothic architecture prevail. The city’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the largest in eastern Europe. At the same time, the city is also home to an unofficial independent republic of artists, as well as the world's only statue of musician Frank Zappa, an American, erected by the city’s Frank Zappa fan club.
Reminders of Lithuania's tragic history during World War II and the Soviet regime can be found throughout the city — in the Old Jewish quarter and Paneriai Memorial as well as the Museum of Genocide Victims, built on the city’s old KGB headquarters.
Curonian Spit National Park
The Curonian Spit is one of the longest sea spits in the world and is located between the Curonian lagoon and the Baltic Sea. The park is home to wildlife such as elk, deer and numerous types of birds. Impressive sand dunes add to the scenery, which also consists of beautiful coastline, fishing villages and beaches. A great way to see the spit is by bike—bike rentals are available throughout the park. The Curonian Spit National Park was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
Hill of Crosses
The Hill of Crosses is a Christian pilgrimage site in the northern part of Lithuania. Individuals have made the journey to the Hill of Crosses since the 19th century to place a cross at the site. Throughout Lithuania's history, the hill has been damaged and rebuilt several times.
It is unknown exactly how many crosses are part of this site — numbers range anywhere from 50,000 to millions.