Small Lithuanian architecture is made up of wayside crosses, shrines and also other forms of exterior buildings. Its content, form and function developments are distinct three periods of time - until mid 20th century, during Soviet occupation and Lithuanian Renaissance. Here is revived early - origin and maturing time, which as the origin of small architecture, its sources are not fully researched. These structures are expressions of Lithuanian national beliefs, world outlook, artistic capabilities. This was evident to many researchers and according to the opinion of V.Ðukevièius, even ethnic Lithuanian lands can be defined according to the numbers of wayside crosses and their artistic variations. Similar style structures can be found in neighboring Catholic lands, especially Poland, however, they are not as numerous as in Lithuania. 
Most small architecture structures were built in the 19th century - along roads, in villages, at crossroads, at approaches to towns and town squares, homesteads, even in forests and in cemeteries. Form, variation of ornamentation, shows off their creators - ordinary, quick thinking village craftspeople.
Nevertheless it is possible to single out several basic small folk architectural forms :

  1. Cross wise crosses ( Latin cross shape ), various height ( 3 to 8 m. ) structures, often highly ornamented, sometimes with chapels, of various Christian symbols, sculptures next to the crucifix, which on crosses and in other small architectural structures is indispensable and most important. Crosses with two crossings, called St. Benedict's, black death crosses are rarely built.
  2. Wayside shrine is made of a post with a roof, with supports and a cornice. There can be several roofs, strung on the post, whose top will be covered with a chiseled metal top - ornamental cross. These small roofs, especially their cornices and supports are heavily ornamented with sculptures under them.
  3. Shrines on a post or shrine posts. They are of two types. The first structure type, shrine, is hollowed out like a niche or a vault, the top of the post is covered with a roof and a forged steel cross. Second type shrine is firmly set on the post, the roof is also decorated with a forged cross. Their size, form, roof shape are very diverse. Sometimes they are of two stories ( two shrines are set on the post ).
  4. Shrines on the ground. These are most often repetitive structures of cemetery shrines, various architectural styles of miniature church forms. Their interiors are filled with sculptures, sometimes with pictures and some religious objects. They are of various sizes - from one to three, sometimes even five meters high. They are erected along roadsides, in cemeteries and at homesteads.
  5. Shrines on trees. They are most limited in form and ornaments, small, hung in trees along roadsides and even in forests, less often in homesteads.
In separate ethnographic regions, the above mentioned small architecture forms are distributed unevenly. Crosswise crosses are planted throughout Lithuania and predominate in Dzûkija and Suvalkija. Samogitia is notable for shrines on a post and shrines on the ground. Very ornamental wayside shrines set on a post are most characteristic to Aukðtaitija. As mentioned, many small architectural structures differentiate with rich and varied decorations which are formed with geometric and plantlike ornaments, and with many archaic elements in the sculptures.
In the first half of the 20th century, fewer crosses and shrines were built, it is easy to note changes in form and ornamentation, however, the tradition of building them did not disappear. During Soviet times many ancient, folk sacral structures were destroyed, some were self ruined. New structures were legally and publicly inconceivable. A new phenomenon appeared in the eighties - secular, non religious, small architecture : ensembles ( Ablinga, "the Road of Èiurlionis", "Witches'Hill", and others of which were created about 20 ) and single structures. Differing from ancient small architectural creations, most dominating in them were sculptural forms, architectural elements which have a more practical than decorative meaning. However, a true formal connection with tradition is protected especially when on top of roofs are found forged metal "suns", very close to ancient cast iron crosses. New structures, called folk monumentalizations, featured personages - war dead, workers, literature and folklore heroes, prominent people, Soviet army soldiers. These are totally decorative structures, decorating parks and children's playgrounds.
Here are four forms which have appeared after the war years :
  1. Round sculpture. This type sculptural compositions dominate in structures, take up almost the entire vertical trunk of an oak tree ( 3-6 meters in height). It is covered with a roof with a metal "sun" on top.
  2. Reliefs - bas-reliefs. These are subjective compositions carved in embossed and raised designs, with one or several horizontal bands, spread out on the round oak tree trunk. The entire structure is usually covered with a forged steel, decorative top.
  3. Classic forms, most often shrines on a post. They are used as an expressive, decorative accent in space, often filled up with secular content carvings.
  4. Decorative compositions. They are varied in form and purpose, most often have a practical function ( benches, signs, game mechanisms ).
During recent Renaissance years this sphere's folk creative works, interlace traditions of cultural legacy and after war, formed creativity principles. Near abundantly built crosses and shrines, still exist various secular content structures. Among the crosses, it is possible to single out, according to remaining photos or memories, whether the structure is rebuilt or a new one is set up in place of the destroyed piece, repeating ancient forms.