There are more than eight thousand lakes, mostly in the uplands.
The capital, Vilnius, lies in the southwestern part of the country at the confluence of the Neris and Vilnia rivers.
The flag consists of horizontal stripes in yellow, green, and red; the colors symbolize nature (sun and trees) Emergence of the Nation.
The origin of the nation and the development of its culture were strongly influenced by foreign occupation of the country and are the result of the perceived need of the people to preserve something of their own.
The period from 1941 to 1944 saw the countryside destroyed and almost all of the Jewish population (up to 250,000) annihilated.
The period under Stalin, from 1945 to 1953, made the people more determined to put an end to the repression their country had experienced for so long.
Dialects vary by region, and their distinctiveness often depends on the distance from the nearest big city or the proximity to borders, where incorporation of neighboring countries' words is common.
In 1905, when over two thousand delegates representing different sectors of the society gathered at the Great Lithuanian Assembly to discuss the Lithuanian nation, representatives of different political backgrounds agreed that the country should fight for and be granted autonomy, whether within Czarist Russia or independent of it.
Even when the national language was banned and reading or writing of books in the native tongue was forbidden, people were determined to spread their heritage and share their traditions.
The first Lithuanian state was established in 1230 after Duke Mindaugas united the tribes and lands in the area.
The intelligentsia, with help from the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, drafted a document making demands for the future of the Lithuanian state.
Among those demands were autonomy, equal rights for aliens within Russia, the construction of Lithuanian schools, freedom of worship, and the return of Suvalkija, which was controlled by the Poles.
Lithuanians are fond of nature and have a strong feeling of a shared culture that begins as early as primary school, where folk music, national traditions, and holidays play an important role.