The significance of Iš kelionės po Europą ir Aziją (1914), the guidebook by Julija Pranaitytė, a Lithuanian intellectual from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, depended not just on the fact that the author was the first Lithuanian female traveller to comprehensively document the experiences of a modern tourist in the early 20th century, but that the book itself was the first guidebook to the Russian Empire to be published in Lithuanian.
The guidebook is an attempt by member of the intelligentsia with strong Catholic views to provide practical information about a modernizing and increasingly mobile world. Thus, the intended target of Pranaitytė book is twofold. Firstly, it is more mobile yet still poorly educated working-class reader who is being constantly warned about possible threads of being fooled or cheated. The reader could find advice in guidebook about things worth having while travelling, how to communicate, and what to expect. The guidebook also provides historical information about places visited, cultural insights, similarities and differences to Western society in such a way the book could be interesting and useful for middle-calls traveler as well.
There is also a more general problem relating to the author’s approach to the guidebook: what representations of different cultures and nations did early 20th-century Lithuanians share, and what did these representations mean in the religious, imperial and international contexts of the time? As is often the case in travel literature, history is presented here selectively, taking into account the dominant cultural monologue. It has a clear purpose in Pranaitytė’s guidebook: to spread a vision of the moral and religious superiority of Western and Christian culture. However, having in mind that growing number of workers and middle class were engage in Lithuanian national movement at the beginning of 20th century, this prejudges becomes paradoxical because Empire’s religious and cultural values are shown as cultural foundation for discovering new parts of late Russian Empire.