14 Feb Happy National Day, Lithuania!
Lithuania celebrates three national days. February 16th is probably the most important one.
Congratulation to a small and smart country.
A bit of History – and National Days
All three Baltic States have one border to the Baltic Sea; and one, the Southern / South Eastern to Russia or the Soviet Union (after the downfall of the Soviet Union Lithuania borders with Russia, Poland, Belarus and Latvia).
That was a tough place for a small country to be located. The Russian Tsar took control over most of Lithuania in 1795.
In WWI the German army was successful on the Eastern front. The Russian army withdrew, and Lithuania got German visitors. Later, after the Soviet Revolution in October 1917 wide parts of the Western Soviet Union incl. the three Baltic States were seized to Germany.
November 11th ,1918 cease-fire was agreed on the Western front. “Time to get rid of the Germans in town”; and Lithuania declared its independence on February 16th. Nation day 1.
When Germany and Soviet Union teamed up for a short while at the beginning of WWII, Stalin’s army occupied Lithuania. Hitler later started operation Barbarossa, and kicked the Red Army back to Moscow. Lithuania was now under German rule. When the Red Army tanks rolled Westwards in 1944 Lithuania became a part of Stalin’s empire. No referendum.
From 1945 to 1953 about 50,000 Lithuanians took off to the forests and fought the Red Army in a guerrilla war. No chance; but very brave!
When the Soviet Union started to break apart; demonstrations for freedom started in 1988 and 1989. On March 11th ,1990 the local Counsel declared the Independence of Lithuania. The second National Day.
The third nation day dates back to 1253. The only Lithuanian King was coronated on July 6th.
A Personal Account
Your author first came to Lithuania 2001 (we flew back 9/11; so, I still remember); part of a business due diligence team for a German company. In the airport we were picked up by the bodyguards of the guy “who owned the local mayor”. The bodyguards couldn’t get their arms down because of the heavy armory they carried under their jackets. They drove big Mercedes S’s.
The beer was good, cheap, and plentiful. Pretty girls – very. The rest …..
I have been there several times since. What a change. Clean, work some people, the administration in many aspects more efficient than in most West European countries. Respect!! The girls are still very pretty, thanks God.
In 2017 3.2 million foreign tourist nights were sold in Lithuania. That was up 6.5% from 2016. Most visitors are from Germany, Belarus, Russia, and Poland.
CEO – World Travel Nation Ltd.