Nature of Lithuania

Despite the planned and tumultuous urbanisation and the industrialisation (although sometimes little advanced technologically) that have reached the remotest villages, much of the country’s wonderful natural environment has remained. In Lithuanian folk tales, man often comes into collision with nature, different plants and beasts. Dark forests and mysterious lakes are fraught with surprises and menacing trials. He who does not consider himself lord of nature gains a victory. He who knows the language of animals and who unselfishly helps a beast, bird or fish wins. Consequently, even the tiniest creature repays a hundredfold to him, awards him with unusual abilities and performs the hardest tasks for him. Lithuanian nature is beautiful and diverse. It is diverse throughout the country, even in the smallest areas of woodland or riversides. The landscapes of our country are very colourful. The chiselled hills and chains of lakes in Eastern Aukstaitija are very different from the landscapes of the Dzukija region with the slowly flowing Nemunas and big, rustling forests through which rapid rivulets cut their way. The hilly woodlands of Zemaitija, with its lake district, slope down into the vast plains. Even the plains in Suduva are quite different from those in North Lithuania. The narrow belt of the Curonian Spit stretching between the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon with its high dunes and vulnerable flora are incomparable. There are five national parks in Lithuania. To a large degree, they reflect the variety of landscape and culture of the country’s different geographical regions. The parks were founded in areas unique and their cultural monuments. In such areas, nature has been least influenced by man’s activities, farming or industry, and many monuments of our past have been preserved. The law on protection of nature allows farming and camping on the national parkland. However, there are reserves that can be visited accompanied only by staff members in the park. In the old villages of the parks, the natural and architectural environment has changed during the last two centuries not much. The descendants of the farmsteads are still living in almost all the oldest villages and hamlets of the parks. Like their forefathers, they understand nature and earn their living in traditional occupations. The visitor can both enjoy a rest, research the nature and take in the picturesque sights right in the national parks.

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