|Physical map of Lithuania - source|
Lithuania is situated in northern Europe. It has around 99 kilometres (61.5 miles) of sandy coastline, of which only about 38 kilometres (24 miles) face the open Baltic Sea. The rest of the coast is sheltered by the Curonian sand peninsula. Lithuania’s major warm-water port, Klaipėda, lies at the narrow mouth of the Curonian Lagoon (Lithuanian: Kuršių marios), a shallow lagoon extending south to Kaliningrad. The main river, the Neman River, and some of its tributaries carry international shipping vessels.
The Lithuanian landscape has been smoothed by glaciers. The highest areas are the moraines in the western uplands and eastern highlands, none of which are taller than 300 metres (1,000 ft) above sea level, with the maximum elevation being Aukštojas Hill at 294 metres (964 ft). The terrain features numerous lakes, Lake Vištytis for example, and wetlands; a mixed forest zone covers 30% of the country. The climate is between maritime and continental, with wet, moderate winters and summers. According to one geographical computation method, Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, lies only a few kilometers south of the geographical centre of Europe.
Lithuania consists of the following historical and cultural regions:
Aukštaitija — literally, the "Highlands"
Samogitia (Lithuanian: Žemaitija) — literally, the "Lowlands"
Dzūkija (Lithuanian: Dzūkija or Dainava)
Sudovia (Lithuanian: Sūduva or Suvalkija)
Lithuania Minor also known as "Prussian Lithuania" — (Lithuanian: Mažoji Lietuva or Prūsų Lietuva). Region was part of the Prussia since Middle Ages until 1945. Most of it today is part of Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast).
The population of Lithuania stands at 3.36 million, 84.6% of whom are ethnic Lithuanians who speak the Lithuanian language (one of the two surviving members of the Baltic language group), which is the official language of the country. Several sizable minorities exist, such as Poles (6.3%), Russians (5.1%), and Belarusians (1.1%).
Poles are the largest minority, concentrated in southeast Lithuania (the Vilnius region). Russians are the second largest minority, concentrated mostly in two cities. They constitute sizeable minorities in Vilnius (14%) and Klaipėda (28%), and a majority in the town of Visaginas (52%). About 3,000 Roma live in Lithuania, mostly in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Panevėžys; their organizations are supported by the National Minority and Emigration Department.
Most Lithuanian schools teach English as a first foreign language, but students may also study German, or, in some schools, French. Schools where Russian and Polish are the primary languages of education exist in the areas populated by these minorities.