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Exploring the Cities of Lithuania

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Vilnius

Vilnius is the capital and largest city in the country of Lithuania, with a population of over half a million people. It has gone through many different historical transitions, but today exists as a modern European city with impressive architecture from Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and classical eras. Many historic areas and monuments have been restored, and a new city center is being developed with modern business buildings. There have also been many cultural revival movements, with public art on display throughout different places. Geographically, it exists on the confluence of the Vilnia and Neris Rivers. Most of the city’s population is Lithuanians, Poles and Russians. It is a cosmopolitan city with many cultural institutions, including an Old Town, castles, a library, an art museum and an annual book fair. It is also one of the biggest economic centers for the Baltic states.

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Kaunas

Kaunas is the second largest Lithuanian city, with a population of 355,000. Approximately 50,000 of the greater population consists of students, as there are several colleges. Kaunas sits on the confluence of the Neris and Nemunas Rivers, and also near the Kaunas Reservoir, a regional park. This city was supposedly originally established by Romans in ancient times. It used to be a major Jewish center before World War II, but today, it is populated mainly by Lithuanians, Russians and Ukrainians. The center of the city has two pedestrian streets that lead into its Old Town. The city has a lot of culture for its size,with a castle, a botanical garden, a zoo, churches, parks, museums and theaters.

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Klaipeda

Klaipeda is Lithuania’s only seaport, and it sits on the Baltic Sea in the Curonian Lagoon. There are ferry connections that go to Sweden and Germany. It has a population of about 200,000. There are a few historic buildings in the city center, but it is more centered on being a cargo and transit hub rather than a cultural place. They are building a few high rises in Klaipeda, and the tallest one right now is Pilsotas, at 34 stories. The weather in this city is very inconsistent. Most of the population is Lithuanian, Russian and Polish.

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Siauliai

This is an inland city in Northern Lithuania, with a population of almost 130,000. This small city has some culture, including a couple theaters, a handful of museums, as well as some cinemas and shopping centers. It has some  interesting features, like the Hill of Crosses, the Museum of Cats and a Bicycle Museum. One central area is Vilnius Street, which runs through the Siauliai Town Center. It is one of the oldest cities in the country, having been established in 1236.

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