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Lithuania

8,244 bytes added, 23:22, 4 May 2013
Completed unfinished segment.
Like it's Baltic neighbours, Lithuania has a lot to offer for '''nature''' lovers. Dense forests, hills, beautiful blue lakes and rivers are the main base. The forested '''[[Aukštaitija National Park]]''' [http://www.anp.lt/] is perhaps the most popular of the country's national parks for its balanced diversity of natural and cultural values. Its forests are home to elk, deer and wild boar. Some of the pines you'll see here are up to 200 years old and the park is a safe haven for many plants and birds that are endangered in the rest of the country. The 126 lakes and countless streams in between them make the park a great place for water sports activities and the villages in the park have some interesting wooden churches. South east from the national park lies a one of the largest forests, famous Labanoras Forest, which is a part of [http://labanoras.am.lt '''Labanoras Regional Park'''] - and there is more rare plants, more rare birds, including Black Stork, Capercailye, Crane and few species of eagles, more rare animals like Lynx and Wolf, 285 lakes (70 of them swimmable), mysterious swamps and numerous rivers and streams suitable for canoeing. No surprise that its popularity among holidaymakers exceed even popularity of its neighbour Aukštaitija National Park.
Another favourite regional park, especially among the birders, is the[http://www.nemunodelta.lt/ '''Nemunas Delta''']. The vast wetlands around the place where Neman River reaches the Baltic Sea are a popular eco-tourism destination and an important bird habitat.
===Natural scenery===
* '''Molotov Line''' – the line of Soviet hardened field defences of World War II, its section of 328 km stretches between the Lithuanian seaside near Palanga up to Polish border and marks the former border between Germany and Lithuanian SSR in 1941. Construction of the pillboxes started in 1941 April, some 100 out of 1641 objects were more or less completed until June 22, 1941 when Wehrmacht unexpectedly invaded Soviet Union, violating the non-aggression pact of 1939.
* <see name="Oflag&nbsp;53" alt="subcamp of Buchenwald concentration camp" address="Pagėgiai district, Lithuania Minor (German: Pogegen)" directions="From the centre of Pagėgiai turn west (from Vilnius St to Jankus St which soon turns into the road No&nbsp;4230) and go 1&nbsp;km 83&nbsp;m Anužiai direction, then turn to the right (road sign “Oflager-53”) to the forest, the site is 410&nbsp;m away from the road" lat="" long="" phone="+370 656 18551" tollfree="" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="" hours=""></see> Established 15 Apr 1941, closed Jun 1944. A memorial complex for prisoners of war who died in Pagėgiai concentration camp erected in 1977, rebuilt in May 2005. For more information contact [http://www.pagegiai.lt/index.php?761933499 Pagėgiai Region Tourism Information Centre], Šereikos St 3-3, LT-99254 Vilkyškiai, Pagėgiai district.
 
[[File:Nuclear missile hangar in Shateikiai.JPG|thumb|Abandoned Soviet nuclear missile storage hangar at the Surface Launch Base near Šateikiai, Western Lithuania]]
* <see name="Macikai Village Concentration Camp - Lockup" alt="former German WW II POW camp Stalag 1C / Soviet prison for internal enemies GULAG department No.3" address="Macikai village, LT-99156, Šilutė district" directions="" lat="" long="" phone="+370 441 62207" tollfree="" email="[email protected]" fax="+370 441 62207" url="" hours="Tuesday-Saturday 11:00-15:00" price=""></see> Once it was a manor. Then, in 1924, its territory was used for the barracks of Lithuanian Army. 1939 Germans established the WWII POW camp. 1944-1948 Soviets continued to use the camp for the German POW. 1948-1955 it was renamed to "GULAG department No.3" and served as a prison for "internal enemies". 1995 the Museum of Macikai Concentration Camp was established.
====Cold war====
*'''[http://www.saltojokaromuziejus.lt/ Plokštinė SS-4-type Intermediate-range Missile Silo Complex]''', Didžioji St 8, Plateliai village, Plungė district. ☎ +370 677 86574. In [http://www.zemaitijosnp.lt/ Samogitian National Park].
 
* '''Urban Exploration'''. 31&nbsp;Aug&nbsp;1993 the last Soviet soldier left the territory of Lithuania. Vast areas that have been used for military purposes, has been abandoned. Thereafter Lithuanian military took over some objects and territories, redesigned and reconstructed them to meet NATO standards, and this represents about 40% of the territories and objects previously used by Soviet military. Some 60% of enemy's military bases were left to decay. Today, all of them yet to be explored, but the ruthless effects of time and Mother Nature are already clearly visible. The sites suitable for Urban Exploration consist of 3 main groups of the former Soviet military objects and territories: ''1'' - KGB object in Linksmakalnis and its affiliate, ''2'' - properties of Soviet 58th Missile Division (HQ in Karmėlava) and 29th Missile Division (HQ in Tauragė, later in Šiauliai) of 5th Missile Army, and ''3'' - the large territories of the firing grounds and Kaunas Lodgement. Some of the former firing grounds were converted into the biosphere grounds and recreation zones suitable for the eco-tourism.
:* '''KGB Radio Intelligence Center'''
::* '''Linksmakalnis''' aka '''Lustberg'''. It was a former manor estate turned into the KGB radio intelligence center which was served by the secret military unit 71272. One non-combat subunit was responsible for the infrastructure, three combat subunits were responsible for political and economical intelligence in West Germany and Scandinavia. Preconditions for the existence of such a center were created by Europeans themselves: in order to save the state budget it was decided for confidential communications not to use the separate wireline channels (very expensive), but to use the ordinary commercial channels instead, encoding messages with a special chip. However, the chip did not become an obstacle. After 1992 the secret unit was moved to the new unknown location and changed its subordination and number. ''Directions:'' 20&nbsp;km south of [[Kaunas]], the road No&nbsp;130, before Išlaužas turn east across the pool. As you cross the bridge and enter the town, go down the main street (Liepų St) till the end. The town soon ends up, and as soon as it disappears behind you, you start to see something ahead: a "brain center". 54°45'32.42", 23°56'30.02".
::* '''"Neman"''' – it had to be a new satellite communications center near Piliuona town. The large building of the technical center, staff office with a hideout, boiler, power generator, garage and some other structures has been almost fully completed. Apartment building for the staff was started to construct. In 1989 it was decided that the place has become unreliable for such an object. Dismantling works started, however only engineering infrastructure has been dismantled and transfered to the new unknown location of the same center. ''Directions:'' east of Linksmakalnis near Nemunas river, between the towns of Pakuonis (south) and Piliuona (north), east of the road No&nbsp;1901 and south of Redimistis stream. The platforms for satelite antennas on the roof of the main building are visible from the road, also can be seen on Google Maps and Street View. 54°45'4.1", 24°6'24.64"
 
:* '''SS-4-type intermediate-range nuclear missile launch facilities''' – there were 4 pairs of missile bases in Lithuania (8 total, not counting the Dvina type silo complex in Plokštinė which was converted into museum).
 
[[File:Nuclear missile hangar in Shateikiai.JPG|thumb|Abandoned Soviet nuclear missile storage hangar at the Surface Launch Base near Šateikiai, Western Lithuania]]
 
::* '''Šateikiai''' (79 Regiment, 29th Missile Division of the 5th Missile Army) – two surface launch facilities with 4 launch pads and accessory infrastructure each, constructed in 1962. ''Directions:'' west of Samogitia National Park, Plungė district, north of the road [[Šiauliai]]-[[Palanga]], Šateikiai village (intersection of the roads No&nbsp;169 and No&nbsp;3216).
::::'''Šateikiai North''' – forest north of Šateikiai, entrance from the road No&nbsp;169: 56°0'37.53", 21°40'3.41", turn north (displayed on Google Maps Street View).
::::'''Šateikiai South''' - forest west of Šateikiai, same crossroad on the road No&nbsp;169, turn south.
::* '''Tauragė''' (637 Regiment, 58th Missile Division of the 5th Missile Army) - two surface launch facilities with 4 launch pads and accessory infrastructure each, constructed in 1960. ''Directions:'' Lithuania Minor region, both bases located south of Tauragė city.
::::'''Tauragė North''' – south of Tauragė city, reachable from Tauragė (by the road No&nbsp;4505) or from the south (near Viešvilė from the road No&nbsp;141 Jurbarkas-[[Klaipėda]]), 55°9'23.24", 22°20'44.59".
::::'''Tauragė South''' – west of Viešvilė, same crossroad from the road No 141, turn south-west and go till the end, 55°4'51.62", 22°19'24.2".
::* '''Karmėlava''' (42 Regiment, 58th Missile Division of the 5th Missile Army) - two surface launch facilities with 4 launch pads and 6 underground hangars for missiles, construction completed in 1976. Missiles SS-4 later were replaced with SS-20. ''Directions:'' north-east of [[Kaunas]], north east of Karmėlava town, east of the road to [[Jonava]].
::::'''Karmėlava South''' – east of [http://www.kaunas-airport.lt/ Kaunas air port] (former Soviet air-force base which served as a cover for the missile base). Reachable from the road A6 north of Karmėlava, turn to the right before Turžėnai bus stop and round the forest and the air-port territory, then turn left, cross the cover base, then "S" shape bend, remains of tripple checkpoint, enter the base.
::::'''Karmėlava North''' – same road A6 further towards [[Jonava]], turn to the right to Gulbiniškiai (road sign "a turn to the right", no directions, 55°2'39.56", 24°13'59.6"), pass through Gulbiniškiai village, cross the railway (unused), turn to the right, go till the end.
::* '''Ukmergė''' (324 Regiment, 58th Missile Division of the 5th Missile Army) - two surface launch facilities with 4 launch pads and accessory infrastructure each, constructed in 1959. ''Directions:'' north-west of [[Vilnius]] near Ukmergė, both bases are located south-west of Ukmergė.
:::: '''Ukmergė North''' – reachable from the road No&nbsp;231 south of Ukmergė, via Vaitkūnai suburb turn west towards Kopūstėliai village, pass it through, go straight to the end near Šventoji river, 55°11'1.03", 24°42'12.53".
:::: '''Ukmergė South''' – direct access from the northern base is impossible, located south-east of Vepriai (road No 4809) and north-west of Bagaslaviškis (road No&nbsp;4303). From the road No&nbsp;4809 at Kelmai hamlet turn north, pass the farmstead, go on up to the end, turn left, then turn right, 55°7'51.93", 24°38'30.5".
 
:* '''Kaunas Lodgement''' – the HQ and training grounds of offensive airborne division. Construction: the works started in Aug&nbsp;1975 by the end of Conference on Security and Cooperation in Helsinki – ended in Jul&nbsp;1977, closed in 1993. Consists of about 50 objects, among them: the airfield (lenght 2&nbsp;km 250&nbsp;m), fuel base, "Generals Villa" (high-ranking officers guesthouse), command headquarters, firing ground No&nbsp;215. Served as a base for the 7th Guards Airborne Division (second formation), military unit 02291 (since Aug&nbsp;1993 the regiment has been based in the city of Novorossisk, Russia). ''Directions:'' Suvalkija region, south-west of [[Kaunas]], Kazlų Rūda forest. Go from [[Kaunas]] via road A5 but soon turn via Veiveriai to Kazlų Rūda (road No&nbsp;230, after Didžioji Zariškė turn to the right and ride 7 km to Kazlų Rūda), pass it from the south to the north Jūrė direction (road No&nbsp;2602), pass Jūrė through towards Griškabūdis, and from Jūrė river go 2.60&nbsp;km down the same road No&nbsp;2602 up to the crossroad, 54°47'39.58", 23°29'33.85". Some remains of the main gates and flagpoles can be seen by the right side (displayed on Google Maps Street View). The airfield to the right (3.55&nbsp;km from the crossroad), "Generals Villa" and the underground HQ are further north beyond the airfield near Judrė stream. Firing grounds are to the left from the crossroad (no proper road there, only a overhead power line, distance about 1&nbsp;km), or go back and turn left from Jūrė river and go some 3-7&nbsp;km depending on chosen path.
*'''Seimas Barricades''' - Remains of the barricades built around the Parliament building to protect the newly-democratic Lithuanian parliament from Soviet troops in 1991. Gediminas av 53, LT-01109 Vilnius.
* '''[http://www.hubertus.lt/ Hunting and fishing]''' — Commercial hunting and fishing is allowed, popular, well organized and under control, and virtually does not make damage to nature. Poaching is strictly illegal, though still happens, even to the extent of organized crime. However it has a very negative attitude among entire society, intolerance to such kind of crimes is constantly increasing.
* '''Horse riding''' is fairly popular among Lithuanians and some foreigners, Germans in particular. The "Yellow Pages" website[http://www.1588.lt/en/veikla/zirgynai-hipodromai-jodinejimas?ps=25&pa=2&so=city_search&&pa=1] lists 63 stud-farms and other companies involved in this service. One of the best known and situated in attractive recreation area near Šiauliai is <do name="Kurtuvėnai Horse Riding Centre" alt="" address="Parko St 2, Kurtuvėnai, LT-80223 Šiauliai district" directions="Kurtuvėnai is a village near Šiauliai: from Šiauliai centre drive South-West down the A12 highway (Kelmė direction) about 15&nbsp;km, then turn right after Bubiai village (road No&nbsp;215) and drive about 5km, then turn left to Kurtuvėnai" lat="" long="" phone="For reservation +370 413 70333, Mobile +370 618 29964" tollfree="" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="http://www.kurtuva.lt" hours="Open whole year round. price="Price for 2 persons 270&nbsp;LTL/78&nbsp;€, including two nights accommodation in ***camping"></do>
* '''Dog Sledding''' popularity is increasing. Most suitable areas are in the eastern Lithuania, although there are several places in Samogitia too. The lithuanian portal of extreme sports '''Xteam'''[http://www.xteam.lt/LT/22/Roges,sunu-kinkiniai.htm] lists 17 companies all over the country offering this service. These companies are mostly so called "homesteads" which run countryside tourism business and offer various kinds of entertainment. There is no need to highlight any, they all good in their own way. Same applies to locations, practically the choice depends on personal preferences, financial and time factors and also on mood. One of the clubs seriously involved into this sports is <do name="Top Dogz" alt="Rogių Šunys" address="L. and I. Daujotai, Vičiūnai village, Kernavė elderate, LT-19170 Širvintos district" directions="" lat="" long="" phone="Mobile +370 650 99985, +370 650 34844" tollfree="" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="http://www.rogiusunys.lt/en" hours="" price=""></do> Among other companies which offer dog sledding all year round, is one especially attractive due to its superb location, south-east of Kernavė in a most mysterious part of Neris Regional Park, called Devil's Corner (Velniakampis) - '''[http://www.nuotykiuakademija.lt Adventure Academy (Nuotykių akademija)]'''. Contact phone +370 699 86767, address Žalgiris village, Vievis elderate, Elektrėnai municipality.
* As with eastern Europe in general, openly gay behaviour such as holding hands or kissing may result in a violent confrontation from an onlooker. Suspicion of homosexuality may also cause problems; two male visitors to a straight nightclub should sit a respectable distance apart, even if they are heterosexual. Overall, if you are a man that prefers other men over females you should not be open about it. Usually, the ones that are proud about it get harassed. On the other hand, lesbians are not typically attacked.
* Members of ethnic minorities, (particularly those of African descent), may experience some form of racism. This is not tolerated by the authorities and racist attacks are rare. However non-whites may at least have to get used to being stared at by locals, especially in rural areas. More often than not this can be out of pure curiosity rather than malice. The issue of race relations, the history of slavery and civil rights are relatively unknown. That said, the presence of several Afro-American basketball players in the Lithuanian league does help and means that racism is perhaps not as big a problem as in other eastern European countries. The best way to overcome any minor issues is to maintain a dignified air and understanding that for many Lithuanians living in a homogenous society, they may not have had any previous contact with a person of color. Therefore, if you are a dark skinned, do not be surprised that they whisper to each other. You might hear them saying something similar to "nigger". They do not say it because they mean to disrespect you. They do not understand why it is a wrong thing to do, since they hear this word in movies and music.[[User:Gilvis|Gilvis]] 18:20, 29 November 2012 (EST)Gilvis
* Driving in Lithuania is considered dangerous according to European standards. Lithuania's rapidly expanding economy has lead to an increase in traffic density, thus accident rates are high. As a pedestrian, take great care when crossing the roads, as pedestrian crossings are widely ignored. When driving be careful of aggresive, quickly going and irresponsible drivers. It's better to pass them even if they are flouting rules. Keep in mind that traffic police could be corrupt. Mind the forest roads, collisions with wildlife animals can easily occur.
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