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Vermont

Vermont has few Lithuanians but it is there, in the town of Battleboro, where the famous Neringa Lithuanian camp stands.

Entance to Camp Neringa.

The camp has been established in 1970. Every summer it attracts many children, teenagers, and currently also adults from all over America to numerous Lithuanian vacation programs. Currently, art programs, culinary programs are also available. Some of the programs are meant for those who speak Lithuanian, others are for English-speakers, but all of them are Lithuanian-related.

Camp Neringa houses.

As such, Camp Neringa has an especially Lithuanian ambiance. For example, the camp visitors have constructed a symbolic sculpture of an Iron Wolf and a replica of Gediminas castle. Gediminas castle (its sole surviving red-brick tower) is a symbol and the most famous building of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Iron Wolf, on the other hand, is the mythological creature that has a firm place in Vilnius legends: according to those legends, grand duke Gediminas dreamt of an Iron Wolf and the wizard Lizdeika explained this dream as an order to Gediminas to build a new city (at those times somewhat synonymous with a castle) in that location. That city is what is now Vilnius.

Gediminas Castle and Iron Wolf in Neringa.

Moreover, the camp Neringa has a Lithuanian cross and a Lithuanian chapel-post (a.k.a. elevated shrine). These are UNESCO-inscribed traditional Lithuanian folk arts. The camp has been established by the Lithuanian nuns of Immaculate conception (initially it would take place at their monastery) – this is another reason for its Christian decor.

Traditional Lithuanian chapel-post in camp Neringa.

A traditional Lithuanian cross in camp Neringa.

The key site in Neringa is its 1989 chapel which reminds the Lithuanian village church belfries in its forms. In 1989, these belfries were still largely inaccessible to the Lithuanian-Americans, they were a part of that long-lost far-away homeland. That‘s because Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union at the time.

Camp Neringa chapel, built in 1989. Inside, it houses the stations of the cross by the famous designer V. K. Jonynas, moved here from the closed Albany Lithuanian church

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