Olfactory Map of The Curonian Spit

Welcome to the Olfactory Map of the Curonian Spit in Lithuania. It was created while in residence at the Nida Art Colony in April and May 2011. Its goal is to guide visitors who would like to add an olfactory dimension to their personal exploration of the Spit. I explored and walked the length of the Lithuanian side of the spit, compiling all the scents I could perceive along these walks.

When using this map, I recommend to zoom in into an area of interest (if you double click the green markers it will zoom in that area.) Then once you are at a scale that is detailed enough, you’ll see color patches roughly indicating the area where the source of the scent is located. These colors match the Curonian Spit Scent database (which you can find by rolling your mouse over the “Olfactory Map of the Curonian Spit” tab.) This database contains detailed verbal description of each scent represented in this map, should you be interested in knowing more. These descriptions were created using language used by professionals and exponed by Edmond Roudnitska in his book: “Une vie au service du parfum,” Thérèse Vian Editions, 1991. The method consists in, first, placing the scent within a series (citrus, rose, etc.); the series function like a spectrum going from subtle (citrus) to overpowering (leather); and second, in analyzing its qualities, such as: cold-warm, dry-greasy, fugitive-tenacious, etc.

You can toggle the map between Map, Terrain, and Satellite views. The latter is particularly helpful to locate the source of each scents. Time is an essential component of any olfactory experience. This map was created in early Spring, therefore it contains the scents of that season. Some of them might not be present during other seasons. Conditions such as temperature and humidity are also determining factors in the strength of a scent. The hotter it is, the more scents are released. This map is by no means exhaustive, but it does display, as well as possible, the most perceptible scents of the Curonian Spit. However, recurring ambient scents such as pine and sea are only indicated in areas that I’ve selected, but they can obviously be sampled in many other parts of the spit. On the other hand, the lagoon, though a generic smell too, offers many variations whenever its waters are stagnant, or in shallow creeks, or etc. I have indicated some of these variations.

Finally, once you go on your walk, I recommend to be proactive, don’t expect the scents to simply come to you. I had to bend down, and scratch at the surface of things to perceive their scents. Get involved with the plants and the different materials you’ll encounter to perceive their olfactory dimension. Have a great journey!


View olfactory map of the curonian spit in a larger map