“Destination – America” map is the first and only interactive map of Lithuanian heritage sites in America. It will help you to discover these magnificent sites virtually and (hopefully) visit them in reality as well, as the top of these sites holds a great touristic appeal.
The map was created by volunteers from Lithuania who visited every site in person, taking pictures, marking coordinates, and recording the stories. They did this in 2017-2021 over a course of multiple expeditions to the USA and Canada (2017 – East Coast; 2018 – Midwest; 2019 – Canada; 2020/21 – Western and Southern USA). The leader of the project is Augustinas Žemaitis while all the local helpers and sponsors are listed here: 2017, 2018, 2019. In total, several hundred Lithuanian-Americans and Lithuanian-Canadians have helped the project by sharing their knowledge of the sites and through other means.
What is included in the map?
The map includes Lithuanian churches, Lithuanian clubhouses, Lithuanian monuments, Lithuanian cemeteries, graves of famous Lithuanians, sites where events important to Lithuania took place, geographic objects named in Lithuanian. Basically, the map includes nearly everything that has Lithuanian details (see below).
Beyond the scope of this map (not included in it) are individual graves of non-famous Lithuanians, inaccessible-to-public Lithuanian sites, Lithuanian things that are moved from one place to another, and locations where the sole relation to Lithuania is the participation of some Lithuanians in their history or construction.
• At the beginning, the map shows every Lithuanian site that is marked.
• The menu on the top right allows you to filter some of the sites: either by importance, by category (e.g. only religious or only secular), by the state or by the city.
• On the top right of the map itself, there’s a button that puts the map in full-screen mode.
• When clicked on a Lithuanian site marker, a short description and a picture will appear. Under the picture, you could choose a link to a longer description of the Lithuanian locations in the area.
• On the bottom right of the map, there is an icon of a person which can be dragged on the map to launch Google Street View which helps to see how some place looks in the reality.
The more important and/or interesting the Lithuanian location is, the darker is the color (green, yellow or red). There are 4 categories based on importance.
Additionally, grey markers mark the locations that are not Lithuanian, yet they have a strong relation to Lithuanians or help understand Lithuania.
Moreover, the markers have 12 different images on them based on what is the location, ranging from a Lithuanian church to a Lithuanian monument.
The entire legend of the map:
How do we decide a category?
It depends on what is the type of the site.
Lithuanian chruches, halls, clubs, and other buildings
Category 1. Extremely important or interesting Lithuanian building (having many Lithuanian artworks, unique architecturally, important historically, etc.).
Category 2. A building with many Lithuanian details, still in original use.
Category 3. A building with some Lithuanian details.
Category 4. A Lithuanian building that was used for 40+ years and was important, yet it no longer has Lithuanian details. This category includes the locations of demolished such buildings.
Only accessible-to-the-public Lithuanian details are evaluated (that access, however, may be limited: by appointment, on Sundays alone, etc.). If some building has completely inaccessible parts (or parts accessible only to the owners, employees, etc.), they are treated as if they wouldn’t exist.
Category 1. A very large cemetery or one having many special gravestones/monuments.
Category 2. Large Lithuanian cemetery or a cemetery with some special gravestones/monuments.
Category 3. Small or medium Lithuanian cemetery without special gravestones/monuments.
Category 4. Non-surviving large Lithuanian cemetery.
The graves of famous Lithuanians
Category 1. A grave of Lithuanian who is greatly mentioned in the Lithuanian schooling program, if this grave has a special gravestone.
Category 2. A grave of Lithuanian who is greatly mentioned in the Lithuanian schooling program, or a grave of another famous Lithuanian with a special gravestone.
Category 3. A grave of an important Lithuanian who is not so mentioned in the Lithuanian schooling program.
Category 4. Non-surviving grave of a Lithuanian who is greatly mentioned in the Lithuanian schooling program.
Lithuanian monuments, memorial plaques and famous locations
Category 1. An especially large or extremely culturally, historically important monument with many Lithuanian details.
Category 2. A large or culturally/historically important monument with many Lithuanian details or a monument that would otherwise fall under the Category 1, however, it has less-than-many Lithuanian details. Moreover, so marked are the locations that lack such a monument or a memorial plaque yet are extremely important for the Lithuanian history.
Category 3. A simple monument or a memorial plaque (without many significant non-text details), or a larger monument that has few Lithuanian details.
Category 4. A non-surviving long-term monument that would fall under categories 1-2 or an important location which currently lacks a monument or a memorial plaque.
Non-surviving small Lithuanian monuments and plaques are not marked. Plaques that include many people, among them one or a few Lithuanians (e.g. lists of donors, lists of all the local veterans of some war) are regularly not marked either.
Category 1. N/a.
Category 2. A very important location (street, plaza, lake, etc.) named in Lithuanian, after a Lithuanian, after Lithuania or a location of Lithuania, or multiple smaller such locations next to each other, or a single smaller such location when it is marked in some more unique way, with Lithuanian details.
Category 3. A single minor location (street, plaza, lake, etc.) named in Lithuanian, after a Lithuanian, after Lithuania or a location of Lithuania.
A large or culturally/historically important monument with many Lithuanian details or a monument that would otherwise fall under the Category 1, however, it has less-than-many Lithuanian details. Moreover, so marked are the locations that lack such a monument or a memorial plaque yet are extremely important for the Lithuanian history.
Category 4. A single minor location (street, plaza, lake, etc.) named in Lithuanian, after a Lithuanian, after Lithuania or a location of Lithuania, if such name is not marked anyhow on location (but it can be seen on the maps).
Names which could be rightfully considered both Lithuanian and foreign (e.g. Polish, Belarusian) are treated as Lithuanian only if the locations are very important or if they were so named due to Lithuanians or, in cases the name has different versions depending on language when the Lithuanian version is used.
Visiting appeal of the Lithuanian site
As the map is made largely for tourist and visitors, the visiting appeal may influence our decision to rate the locations according to categories.
If some location is barely visitable, its category may be decreased by one treating the unvisitable details as non-surviving. If some location is especially easy to visit (e.g. has opening times every day), its category may be raised.
Locations that are on private territory (i.e. somebody’s home or yard) are not marked on the map unless they would be visible from public places or their owners would willingly allow many unrelated interested people in.
What are Lithuanian details
Lithuanian details are:
2.Inscriptions, even if non-Lithuanian, that mention Lithuania, Lithuanian language, Lithuanians, Lithuanian localities or Lithuanian history.
3.Images of Lithuania, its locations, and Lithuanian people.
4.Motifs of Lithuanian folk art, folk story, cultural/religious traditions (e.g. sun-crosses, Užgavėnės masks, etc.).
5.Traditional symbols of Lithuania and its localities (Vytis, tricolor, Columns of Gediminas, coats of arms of the cities, Iron Wolf, etc.).
6.Replicas of famous things that exist in Lithuania (sculptures, paintings, buildings, etc.).
In case a detail could be considered both Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian, it is treated as Lithuanian by us if it was created by Lithuanians or is very important.
A mere fact that something was created by a Lithuanian is not considered a Lithuanian detail.
We consider only the details that are parts of an immovable property (murals, facade bas-reliefs, etc.) or are almost never moved (e.g. artworks in the permanent museum exhibitions or churches). The things that are moved regularly or could be moved soon are not considered.
One or more Lithuanian sites?
The general principle is one building=one site, even if there are unrelated institutions in that single building (e.g. a Lithuanian museum and a Lithuanian restaurant). In such cases, the predominant purpose is used to select the marking on the map (e.g. a church with a school in its first floor will be marked as a church, yet a school that has a chapel will be marked as a school).
Moreover, if multiple buildings form a single complex built at a single time and for a single use, it is also marked a single site (e.g. a monument consisting of three crosses won’t be marked as three separate monuments, for example).
However, if there is one Lithuanian location right next to other that has a different use and/or building time, it could be marked as a separate Lithuanian site.
Lithuanian cemeteries are considered one site (that consists of all the gravestones, fences, gates). However, if the cemetery includes unrelated objects (e.g. non-gravestone monuments) these are marked separately. Graves of important people are also marked separately. However, when deciding upon which category should the cemetery belong to, we also look at the monuments and famous burials there, even if those are also marked separately.
What if the use of building has changed?
On the map, each building is marked down by the type (and called by the name) of the final times that warrant its inclusion in the map. For example, a Lithuanian church converted into (non-Lithuanian) apartments would still be marked as a church.