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Any country that gives pride of place to a memorial statue of singer Frank Zappa has got to be worth a visit. Lithuania is the most vibrant Baltic state, shown not only by its antiestablishment statues but more deeply by its daring and emotional drive for independence in 1990-91.

Lithuania owes much to the rich cultural currents of central Europe: with neighbouring Poland it once shared an empire stretching from the Baltic Sea almost to the Black Sea. The Lithuanian people are regarded as much more outgoing and less organised than their Estonian and Latvian counterparts, and most still practice the Roman Catholicism which sets them apart from their Baltic neighbours.

Although small and less than spectacular, Lithuania boasts attractions ranging from the intriguing Curonian Spit and the strange Hill of Crosses to the urban pleasures of Vilnius, the historic, lively capital.

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