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Vilnius  is the capital of Lithuania and its largest city, with a population of 542,664 as of 2015. Vilnius is located in the southeast part of Lithuania and is the second largest city in the Baltic states. Vilnius is the seat of the main government institutions of Lithuania as well as of the Vilnius District Municipality. Vilnius is classified as a Gamma global city according to GaWC studies, and is known for the architecture in its Old Town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Its Jewish influence until the 20th century has led to it being described as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania” and Napoleon named it “the Jerusalem of the North” as he was passing through in 1812. In 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture, together with the Austrian city of Linz.

Area: 401 km²
Population: About  805,380

Currency

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  • When the Council of the European Union reached the final decision on the Euro adoption in Lithuania, in Vilnius, Gediminas avenue, over the doors of the Bank of Lithuania, a special clock began to count down the time left until the historical date — 1 January 2015, when the euro will become Lithuania’s currency.
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Economy

Vilnius is the major economic centre of Lithuania and one of the largest financial centres of the Baltic states. Even though it is home to only 20{c4b242a18f9d31a76a4fc4bb85068da8cded17d0ab5e2afcce78d9ec6f964a7d} of Lithuania’s population, it generates about one third of Lithuania’s GDP. GDP per capita (nominal) in Vilnius county was about €18,100 in 2014, making it the wealthiest region in Lithuania. Vilnius Gross Regional Product was about €12 billion in 2014. The budget of Vilnius is about €0.5 billion in 2016. Vilnius contributed almost €3 billion to the national budget in 2008, making up about 40{c4b242a18f9d31a76a4fc4bb85068da8cded17d0ab5e2afcce78d9ec6f964a7d} of the budget. The average yearly net salary in Vilnius city was about €8,000 as of 2015. Currently in Vilnius there are growing local advanced solar and laser technologies manufacturers centres (such as photo voltaic elements and renewable energy producers: Arginta, Precizika, Baltic Solar, high performance lasers manufacturers: Ekspla, Eksma, biotechnological manufacturers (Fermentas Thermo Fisher, Sicor Biotech), which successfully supply their products into global markets. In 2009, the Barclays Technology Centre was established in Vilnius, which is one of the bank’s four global strategic engineering centres.

 

Language

First of all, Lithuanian is a very old language. It is related to Sanskrit (a classical language of India) Latin and Ancient Greek. It is the oldest surviving Indo-European language, which has preserved the most phonetical and morphological aspects of the proto-language which many other European languages come from.

Health and security

  • After independence in 1918 a health care system on the Bismarck model began to develop but in 1949 when it was absorbed into the USSR, it was reorganized according to the centralized Semashko system. It was relatively well funded and the population’s health status was better than in other parts of the USSR. Lithuania moved away from a system funded mainly by local and state budgets to a mixed system, predominantly funded by the National Health Insurance Fund in the late 1990s. The deterioration in health which occurred during the first phase of social reforms was halted in 1994 and the standardized death rate decreased from 12.06 (per 1000 population) in 1994 to 10.16 in 1998. By 2000 the vast majority of Lithuanian health care institutions were non-profit-making enterprises and a private sector developed, providing mostly outpatient services which are paid for out-of-pocket. The Ministry of Health also runs a few health care facilities and is involved in the running of the two major Lithuanian teaching hospitals. It is responsible for the State Public Health Centre which manages the public health network including ten county public health centres with their local branches. The ten counties run county hospitals and specialized health care facilities.
  • The Lithuanian Security Police was a local police force that operated in Nazi-occupied Lithuania from 1941 to 1944. Collaborating with the Nazi Sipo (security police) and SD (intelligence agency of the SS), the unit was directly subordinate to the German Kripo (criminal police). The LSP is a controversial unit due to its role in perpetrating the Holocaust in Lithuania, persecuting Polish resistance and communist underground.

 

Transport

The river Neris is navigable, but no regular water routes exist. The river rises in Belarus, connecting Vilnius and Kernavė, and becomes a tributary of Nemunas river in Kaunas. Vilnius Airport serves most Lithuanian international flights to many major European destinations. Currently, the airport has 89 destinations in 28 different countries. The airport is situated only 5 km (3.1 mi) away from the centre of the city, and has a direct rail link toVilnius railway station. The Vilnius railway station is an important hub serving direct passenger connections toMinsk, Kaliningrad, Moscow and Saint Petersburg as well as being a transit point of Pan-European Corridor IX. Vilnius is the starting point of the Vilnius–Kaunas–Klaipėda motorway that runs across Lithuania and connects the three major cities as well as it is the part of European route E85. The Vilnius–Panevėžys motorway is a branch of the Via Baltica.

 

Weather

The climate of Vilnius is humid continental (Köppen climate classification Dfb). Temperature records have been kept since 1777. The average annual temperature is 6.1 °C (43 °F); in January the average temperature is −4.9 °C (23 °F), in July it is 17.0 °C (63 °F). The average precipitation is about 661 millimetres (26.02 in) per year. Average annual temperatures in the city have increased significantly during the last 30 years, a change which the Lithuanian Hydrometeorological Service attributes to global warming induced by human activities. Summer days are pleasantly warm and sometimes hot, especially in July and August, with temperatures above 30 °C (86 °F) throughout the day during periodic heat waves. Night-life in Vilnius is in full swing at this time of year, and outdoor bars, restaurants and cafés become very popular during the daytime. Winters can be very cold, with temperatures rarely reaching above freezing – temperatures below −25 °C (−13 °F) are not unheard-of in January and February. Vilnius’s rivers freeze over in particularly cold winters, and the lakes surrounding the city are almost always permanently frozen during this time of year. A popular pastime is ice-fishing.