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  issue 6, year XVI, 2009

VYGAUDAS USACKAS, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF LITHUANIA
Interview by Valentin Kostov

Page 4

H. E. MR. ARUNAS VINCIUNAS, AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA TO BULGARIA (UNTIL OCTOBER 2009)
Interview by Valentin Kostov

Page 6

LITHUANIA: PROFILE

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DIPLOMATIC AND BILATERAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA AND THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA
By Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Department "Europe II"

Page 9

Bulgaria established diplomatic relations with Lithuania in the period 1924-1940 before Lithuania's annexing by the Soviet Union and Bulgaria was among the first countries which recognized Lithuania's independence after its separation from the Soviet Union on 26 August 1991. On 10 September 1991 the two countries signed a protocol for establishment of diplomatic relations.
In 2009 the 85th anniversary since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Lithuania is celebrated. Lithuania gave Bulgaria a full support for its membership in the European Union since 1 January 2007. During the last few years the Bulgarian-Lithuanian relations have been increasingly active. The political dialog between the two states has been held on all levels.

A MARKET WITH A CONSIDERABLE POTENTIAL
By Maria Angelova

Page 10

Lithuania is situated on the crossroads of three huge markets - the Baltic, the CIS's and the Western European. Besides, it forms nearly a half of the economy of the Baltic States and its foreign trade has been constantly increasing since 1999 until now. Lithuania will receive from the operational programs of the EU approximately EUR 7 billion for the period 2007-2013.

THE LIFE OF GRIGORIY TSAMBLAK
By Petko Mangachev

Page 12

Grigoriy Tsamblak will be always considered one of the founders of the Bulgarian culture in the Middle Ages. In a certain way he was also part of the history of many other countries and peoples, as well as of the time when he lived and wrote. In his literature pieces and with his wise international acts Tsamblak proved that he preferred sound judgements instead of prejudices. In politics he was more a realist than a theoretician. That is the reason why every contact with his works reveals the influence of his work as a man of letters of great significance and a brilliant strategist, who was always ahead of time and could foresee the new geopolitical situation.

RELIGIONS IN LITHUANIA
By Ekaterina Anastasova

Page 17

The religious map of Lithuania is very diverse. Due to historical circumstances many religions intervene there - paganism, Christianity (mainly Catholicism, but also Orthodox and Protestants), Islam, Judaism, as well as other ancient and specific religious cultures, such as Russian Old-Belief and the religion of the Karaims. Nine religions are officially recognized in the country and they present the religious diversity of Lithuania.
Nowadays, in spite of the rich religious traditions, the majority of Lithuanians are atheists, belonging to one of the existing confessions. They share common values, which despite called "European" originate in the philosophy of the ancient religions.

THE LITHUANIAN LANGUAGE
By the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Sofia

Page 19

The Lithuanian language (Lietuviu kalba) is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 4 million people in Lithuania and all over the world. Along with the Latvian it belongs to the group of the Baltic languages. The contemporary Lithuanian has preserved many of its original morphological characteristics which is the reason for the numerous researches of it held in the sphere of Indo-European linguistics. These researches show that Lithuanian is among the most ancient languages in Europe. In 1988, even before the declaration of independence, Lithuanian became the only official language in Lithuania, while since 2004 is one of the official languages of the European Union.

DR. JONAS BASANAVICIUS (IVAN BASANOVICH): LIFE AND WORK IN BULGARIA
By Petko Mangachev

Page 22

A 29-year-old Lithuanian doctor came to Bulgaria and boldly took part in a lot of beneficial for the Bulgarians activities. He began as a doctor in Lom-Palanka (1880-1882) and came back after a short interruption between 1885 and 1892. From 1892 to 1904 (when he came back to Lithuania) he carried out medical and social activities in the city of Varna. It is hard to enumerate all the cultural, economical, social, political and scientific issues which he not only encountered but also tried to resolve.

A TRIP TO THE CENTER OF EUROPE
By Maria Angelova

Page 26

At the end of the 80's scientists of the French National Geographical Institute calculated that the geographical center of Europe is situated not far from Vilnius. Until today you cannot find a tourist guide to Lithuania in which there is nothing mentioned about the unique opportunity to find yourself in the heart of the continent. However, this is far not the only reason why this country is an unconventional travel destination. Travelling in Lithuania is not only in space, but also in time. Moving from one place to another you fall in different close and distant epochs. Lithuanians present in attractive way their historical heritage and to combine it with entertainment.

THE CITY OF ST. CASIMIR: THE EUROPEAN CULTURAL CAPITAL'09
By Zdravka Mihaylova

Page 32

Although it would be very hard to shade Riga, and Tallin spreads the enchantment of the northern lights, the capital of the third "Baltic tiger" fittingly completes this triad. In his book "Vilnius - a personal story" the Lithuanian poet Tomas Venclova describes it as a wonderful, magical city. Besides, in his essays Venclova says that his native city provokes his interest with "its example, through which the complexity and tragedy of the ethnic and national relations and conflicts in Eastern Europe could be traced."

KAUNAS: A MECCA FOR THE FREE-MINDED
By Zdravka Mihaylova

Page 39

Often Kaunas is called the most Lithuanian of all Lithuanian cities and for a long time has had the fame of being restless. Being the second city in size and importance, it is a romantic and even magical place, whose atmosphere reminds you partly a haunted house. Its inhabitants were befallen by severe historical misfortunes and this tragedy has put its mark on the city. Exactly this is what makes Kaunas charming like an old movie with new personages.

THE HOUSE-MUSEUM OF DR. JONAS BASANAVICIUS: A SAMPLE OF ETHNIC CULTURE
By Petko Mangachev

Page 42

The house-museum of Dr. Jonas Basanavicius is situated in his home, which was totally destroyed during World War II with the exception of the well in the yard. Later it was fully reconstructed with all details as a mark of the great appreciation of his steady patriotic attitude. It is also an appreciation for his significant contribution to the setting up of the state organization in Lithuania. Today there is a prize fund named after him for the best works in the sphere of ethnic culture.

THE COUNCIL OF THE FEDERATIONS
By Dora Aleksandrova

Page 46

The Bundestag in Germany is visited by approximately 3 million people per year and it is the most visited parliament in the world. The visitors can receive information in it in nine languages. The statistics of the work done during the previous mandate (2002-2005) by the Members of Parliament is the following: the government was asked 13 623 questions and 643 laws were passed. 24 hours after the recording of the speeches, they can be read in the official web page and also they can be read on paper on demand.

ARCHITECTURE
By the Embassy of Lithuania in Bulgaria

Page 47

Lithuanian architecture mirrors the long history of the land along with the changes in the architectural styles in different historical periods. The varied and manifold constructions which were built over the last 15 years are often difficult to define in terms of architecture. With the use of new technologies and materials, a style of architecture which balances between modern and post-modern styles has evolved. Vilnius has The Europa Tower, the highest building in the Baltic States. It can also boast of several innovative examples of modernist domestic architecture.

THE LITHUANIAN THEATRE: METAPHORS, HUMOUR AND BODY LANGUAGE
The Embassy of Lithuania in Bulgaria

Page 48

Lithuanian theatre is based on the use of metaphor, black humour and body language. It is less grounded in language, although one would be tempted to think that the theatre of a small nation should be inexorably confined to its language. This is certainly not the case with Lithuanian theatre, which reveals its universal language of laughter, allusion, invocation and overall aesthetic appeal. Curiously enough, Lithuanian theatre achieved some international recognition even before March 11, 1990 when the country restored its independence. Juozas Miltinis, the old master of Lithuanian theatre who became part of the Parisian theatre and film world in his youth, studying the art of acting in Charles Dullin's Thеаtre de l'Atelier in Paris, and making friends with Jean Vilar, Jean-Louis Barrault and the world's greatest mime artist Marcel Marceau, later created his drama theatre in Panevezys, a relatively small town in Lithuania.

THE POETIC CINEMA
The Embassy of Lithuania in Bulgaria

Page 49

Most Soviet-era films produced by Lithuanian directors were not widely distributed, with the exception of several occasional blockbusters. The rest were mostly of the art-house type. Many won prizes at international festivals, and they gradually established a Lithuanian tradition of "poetic cinema" that emphasised mood and images and the creation of a special atmosphere, rather than action, words and plot. Moreover, documentaries have always had a special place in Lithuania's cinematography.
During the last two decades filmmaking was still mostly state-financed: one or two feature films, about ten documentaries and several animated films were usually made in one year. However, during the recent years, thanks to more generous private financing and wider possibilities for co-productions, the number of films has increased: 27 titles were released in the period of 2005-2009.

BASKETBALL: THE SECOND RELIGION OF LITHUANIA
By the Embassy of Lithuania in Bulgaria

Page 50

The Lithuanian basketball system has developed a fine group of athletes who have had an impact on the sport, making it more appealing and interesting. Every new generation of Lithuanian basketball players surprises the world by reasserting the exceptional nature of Lithuanian basketball training and the remarkable achievements of all Lithuanian coaches. It should not be forgotten that the foundation of Lithuania's basketball excellence is the long-lived system of training players. The children's league alone has over 2,000 teams in different clubs and basketball schools, with more than 30,000 players. There are plenty of teams in municipal, students, regional, national tournaments, both men and women. In addition, each year, street and even family basketball contests are held.

CULINARY TEMPTATIONS
By the Embassy of Lithuania in Bulgaria

Page 51

Lithuanian cuisine features the products suited to its cool and moist northern climate: barley, potatoes, rye, beets, greens, berries, and mushrooms are locally grown, and dairy products are one of its specialties. Lithuanian cuisine has much in common with other Eastern European cuisines. Nevertheless, it has its own distinguishing features, which were formed by a variety of influences during the country's history.
Because of their common heritage, Lithuanians, Poles, and Ashkenazi Jews share many dishes and beverages. German traditions also influenced Lithuanian cuisine. The most exotic of all the influences is Eastern (Karaite) cuisine, and their dishes "kibinai" and "ceburekai" are popular in Lithuania.

FAMOUS LITHUANIAN PERSONS

Page 53

PHOTOATELIER PRESENTS
MARIUS JOVAISA

Page 57

LITART PRESENTS
MARCELIJUS MARTINAITIS

Page 61

KORNELIJUS PLATELIS

Page 62

VLADAS BRAZIUNAS

Page 63

ELENA KARNAUSKAITE

Page 64

ATELIER PRESENTS
ROBERTO ANDREEV: A REAL, NATIONAL PAINTER
By Ognyan Stamboliev

Page 66

INA MERMERSKA: TRANSPARENT ELEGANCE
By Dochka Kisyova-Gogova

Page 68
Translated by Maria Angelova
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