Geography of Lithuania

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The largest and most populous of the Baltic states, Lithuania has 60 miles (97 km) of sandy coastline which faces the open Baltic Sea, between Latvia and Russia. Lithuania's major warm-water port of Klaipėda lies at the narrow mouth of Curonian Lagoon, a shallow lagoon extending south to Kaliningrad and separated from the Baltic sea by Curonian Spit, where Kuršių Nerija National Park was established for its remarkable sand dunes.

The Neman River and some of its tributaries are used for internal shipping (in 2000, 89 inland ships carried 900,000 tons of cargo, which is less than 1% of the total goods traffic). Between 56.27 and 53.53 latitude and 20.56 and 26.50 longitude, Lithuania is glacially flat, except for morainic hills in the western uplands and eastern highlands no higher than 300 meters. The terrain is marked by numerous small lakes and swamps, and a mixed forest zone covers almost 33% of the country. The growing season lasts 169 days in the east and 202 days in the west, with most farmland consisting of sandy- or clay-loam soils. Limestone, clay, sand, and gravel are Lithuania's primary natural resources, but the coastal shelf offers perhaps 1,600,000 m3 (10.1 Mbbl) of oil deposits, and the southeast could provide high yields of iron ore and granite. According to some geographers, the Geographical Center of Europe is just north of Lithuania's capital, Vilnius.

Geographic coordinates: 56°00′N 24°00′E / 56°N 24°E / 56; 24

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