Places to visit
The Town Hall square
Kaunas defence wall
Kaunas fortress (XIX century)
Kaunas modernism architecture
Kaunas officers' house
Kaunas Botanical garden
Kaunas panorama view
Following tracks of Napoleon
Kaunas railway tunnel
Lithuania was the last pagan country in Europe with many gods until end of 14 century. Only 1387 Lithuania obtained Roman Christianity and first churches started to be built. In Kaunas first church was built around 1400.
There were 10 catholic churches in Kaunas before Russian Empire occupied Lithuanian lands (1795). Many Catholic churches were changed to Russian Orthodox churches. The first one was t
he church of
St. Francis Xavierand
which was partially destroyed during Napoleon campaign in 1812. The church was reconstructed (many interior details to Orthodox style) to Orthodox church in 1824.
Pažaislis church and the monastery were closed in 1931 and reconstructions started 1839 to adopt monastery to Orthodox requirements. Seven baroque
altars and many other inner details were destroyed in that time.
was closed in 1836. The church became military warehouse, six baroque altars removed. The church was returned to Catholics in 1881 and reconstructed.
Vytautas The Great church was closed in 1845 and announced as Orthodox church in 1850. It got Emperor Nikolai Magic title when Russian Tsar Nikolai tried to cross Nemunas river (winter 1853), but ice cracked and tsar hardly escaped.
Kaunas Corpus Christi Church and Dominican Convent
the last reconstructed church.
The monastery was closed in 1831 and city prison was established. Baroque church was reconstructed to ammunition storehouse in 1845 and later (1866) to the
There left just 4 Catholic churches in Kaunas in that time.
There were closed all monasteries and 7 churches during Soviet times
. Just 3 churches left for the Catholics.
All churches returned to Catholics and many of them reconstructed after Lithuania returned it's independence.
Kaunas our Lord Jesus Christ's Resurrection Basilica:
The highest building in Kaunas seen from almost all parts of the city. The idea was born to build a church representing the national shrine after Lithuania regained its independence in 1919.
Construction of the church was approved in 1933 after all preparatory works were completed. The corner stone that was brought from the Olive Mountain in Jerusalem was solemnly sanctified and inserted in the foundation of the basilica in 1934. In the spring of 1940 the major construction work had been accomplished, further building tasks had to be suspended due to the Soviet occupation. The building was confiscated.
After the war, the Soviets housed a radio factory (later called "Banga") in the uncompleted church.
In 1990, the LSSR Supreme Council of those days obligated the "Banga" factory to return the building to the Restoration Council in the condition that it was when it was appropriated, but the building was returned as is "in very bad condition" and not as it had been before.
Reconstruction lasted until 2004 and the church was consecrated in this year.
You can visit the church, also the church terrace, where you can see
The church of
St. Francis Xavierand the Jesuit monaster
(Rotušės sq. 9, the Old Town)
Built in the 18th century in late Baroque style. One of the main focuses of the Old town. The Jesuit monastery is on the east side of the church and Jesuit gymnasium is on the west. Jesuits first arrived to Kaunas in the 17th century (1643) when they were given several houses by Lithuanian noblemen Kojelavičiai.
, the Professor and the Rector of Vilnius University, was the most famous among Jesuits of Kaunas .
A wooden chapel was built in 1660. A four year school was established in 1646. It was renamed to collegium in 1702.
Construction of the brick church began in 1666 and was finished in 1720. The church, collegium and monastery were destroyed during the Great fire in 1732 and were rebuilt in 1746-1751. Three new altars were built in 1753-1754. The total of 12 altars were built in the church, 2 of them survived into present.
was the architect of the biggest altar.
The monastery was built in 1761-1768.
The monastery and collegium were passed to the Franciscans after the Jesuit Order was abolished . They were partially destroyed during the Napoleon war in 1812. The church came under possession of the Russian Orthodox church during the period of the occupation of the Russian Empire (in 1821). It was reconstructed in 1824 as the Orthodox Church. More recently it was returned to the Jesuits in 1924. The Jesuit gymnasium was established in 1925. The church and monastery were closed during the period of Soviet occupation and were returned to the Jesuit Order in poor condition (in 1990) when Lithuania regained its independence. Some reconstruction works were done. The main altar was renewed in the style of the 18th century.
Famous Lithuanian and Polish poet
worked in the Jesuit collegium in 1819-1823.
You can visit a terrace on the roof of the monastery during the summer season:
Sunday: 10-13, 14-16.30.
The Palace of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kaunas (Rotušės sq. 21) and
the church of the Holy Trinity
(church of Kaunas Priest Seminary).
Kaunas priest seminary
(Jakšto str1, the Old Town)
The Order of Friars Minor
has settled in Kaunas in 1468 when Stankus Sudivojaitis, one of Lithuanian nobleman, had donated his own estate near Kaunas castle to the brothers of the order.
The current priest seminary was established in
the palace of the monastery of the Order of Friars Minor (Bernardines)
built in Renaissance style. The Church of Holy Trinity was built in 1624-1634. The seminary is surrounded by the wall of the 17th century. The fragments of the old building (the 16th century) can be seen on one of the walls of the Seminary.
A restored pavement of the 15th – 17th century can be seen stretching slongside the wall.
The Palace of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kaunas built in 1936-1939 in eoclassical style.
The yards of the Palace of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kaunas and the Priest Seminary are open for visitors.
The Palace of the Priest Seminary (Papilio str. 5). Three houses built in Gothic style (one of the houses was the
convent house of the Order of Friars Minor
) were standing in this place in the 16th century. These houses were reconstructed in the 17th century and became a part of the monastery of the Order of Friars Minor (the monastery was closed in 1864). The fragments of the houses can be seen onthe facade of the palace.
The former rectorate house of Kaunas Priest Seminary is the place of
Guest house of Kaunas Archdiocese
Pažaislis baroque church and monastery
(T. Masiulio 31)
Cathedral Basilica of apostles St. Peter and St. Paul of Kaunas
(the Old Town, Vilniaus str.1)
Cathedral Basilica of apostles St. Peter and St. Paul of Kaunas - the largest church in Lithuania built in Neo-Gothic style. The Basilica was funded by
Vytautas the Great,
the Grand Duke of Lithuania, in the 15th century . It was first mentioned in 1413 and it was the main church in Kaunas at the time. The Basilica was originally built in Gothic style, but the elements of Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism also occurred after renovations. The construction process lasted a long time until 1650. The Basilica was partially destroyed in the 16th century by Russian and Swedish armies. Again it was destroyed during the fire in 1655 and rebuilt in 1671. The Basilica suffered damage during several fires in the 18th and 19th centuries. The current view of the Basilica was created in the 19th century after reconstruction. The main altar survived into the present day from the 17th century. The total of 9 baroque altars can be seen in the Basilica, also some paintings from the 16th – 17th centuries. Reticulate vaults are among the oldest and biggest in the Central Europe. Two towers were built, but only one of them survived into the present (another was destroyed during the fire in 1732). The altar of St. Mary on the left side of the The Basilica is as it was originally made in 1686.
14 large pictures were painted in the 19th century by
Michael Elviro Andriolli
, the member of the family of Italian descent. His family moves to Lithuania and stayed here after the Napoleonic war with Russia.
John Paul II
visited the Cathedral Basilica in 1993. One of Basilica's altars is dedicated to Pope John Paul II with his painting and the relic.
is buried in mausoleum near the Basilica.
Vytautas the Great Church
Aleksoto str. 3
The oldest church in Kaunas built around 1400.
Lithuania was the last pagan country in Europe that converted to Christianity just in 1387. This was followed my intense construction of churches.
Vytautas the Great
church was the first to start construction of churches in Kaunas. The church is built in Gothic style, it belonged to the Fransicans. It was first mentioned in 1439. The church was partially destroyed in 1655-1661 by Russian and Swedish armies, but was later restored in 1669. A gun storehouse was established in the church by French army during the Napoleon campaign to Russia. The church was closed by the Russian
government in 1845. In 1850-1853 the church was reconstructed to the Orthodox church, which was closed in 1899.
The church was partially destroyed during the World War I by the German army (it was used as potatoes warehouse by German army) . It was returned to the Catholic Church in 1919. The church was reconstructed in 1920, 1979-1989.
The quay near the church was part of Kaunas river shipping
(St. Cross Church) and the monstery, Gedimino g. 1
The church (of late Baroque style) was built in 1685-1700 in Kaunakiemis village. The interior is decorated with 17 frescoes of Italian painters (the end of the 17th - the beginning of the 18th century).
The church appeared in the outskirts Kaunas city just in the 20th century.
Since 1772 the church belonged to the Order or Carmelites and was renewed in 1773.
It was partially destroyed during the Napoleonic war against the Russian Empire in 1812, and was restored in 1830.
The church was closed in 1845. Under the decision of the Russian occupational authorities the church was turned into a warehouse (was partially destroyed).
The church was returned to Catholics in 1885-1898 and was reconstructed in neo-classical style. The interior was redecorated with new pictures.
Renewed once again in 1925.
The buildings of the monastery (built in 1777) are on the other side of Kaunakiemis street.
The Emperor Napoleon stayed for a while here during the French-Russian war in 1812.
A hospital was established in the buildings of the monastery in 1831. Kaunas Military Hospital was established on the second floor of the buildings in 1836.
The buildings were reconstructed in 1843 and 1844. New buildings arose in 1885 and 1919.
They were reconstructed in 1930.
A hospital operated there after the World War II.
Most of the territory in these days belongs to Lithuanian Armed Forces (medical service
St Nicholas Gothic Church and the Benedictine monastery
(Benediktinų str. 6,8)
Are among of the oldest buildings in Kaunas. Built in the 15th century. Were first mentioned in 1493. Since 1624 the church belonged to Kaunas Monastery of Benedictine Sisters. A high wall was built around the monastery and the church in the 18th century. The church, just as all other churches in Kaunas, was partially destroyed during the wars with Russia and Sweden, but was later renovated. The church again was reconstructed in 1936-1939. A new big altar was built. The church had a total of 7 altars, but only 3 of them survived into the present. The church and monastery were closed during the Soviet era and served as a book warehouse . They were reconstructed in 1961-1968 and turned into a residential house.
The church and the monastery were reconstructed and returned to Benedictine Sisters in 1990 after Lithuania regained its independence.
The time of visit to the church must be agreed in advance. For more information,
The Evangelical Lutheran Church
(Muitinės str. 8) (in the old German quarter)
The church is located in the old German quarter of the Old Town.
The Lutheran parish was established in Kaunas in 1558. The first Lutheran church was built in the site of the current Rotušes (The City Hall) square, but was destroyed several years later during the fire. Construction of the Lutheran Church began in 1682. A small church was originally built and was used for worship since 1683. A bell tower and a new rectory were built in 1860-1862 . The church was closed by Soviets in 1953 and it was abandoned for many years. Later the church came under possession of Vilnius University and adapted to the University needs. The church was returned to the Lutheran parish in 1992. Some of the buildings are still under possession of Vilnius University.
Until 1930 the majority of the Lutherans in Kaunas were of German descent, including organist Johan Bernard Bach (the 17th century) - of the family of famous composer
The organ from the 17th century can be seen in the church (refurbished in 1978-1984).
Gothic Church of St. Gertrude.
(Laisvės ave. 101 A)
Built in the 14th century. It was first mentioned in 1503. The church was outside the city, near the road to Vilnius, at the time and therefore it didn't belong to Kaunas Currently it is located in the central part of Kaunas,. Many documents of the church were destroyed, some of them were taken to Russian in 1655 when Kaunas was occupied by the Russian army,.. The church was partially destroyed, but was reconstructed in 1680. The church was reconstructed once again in 1743. A hospital (the biggest in Kaunas) was built near the church by the monks of the order of St. Roch in 1794. The interior of the church is dated back in 1785-1794.
The church and the hospital were partially destroyed during the Napoleon’s invasion in 1812.
In 1922 the church came into possession of the
Congregation of Marian Fathers
It was closed during the Soviet period (from 1948) and served as a warehouse of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals .
Was returned to the monks of the order of St. Roch in 1993.
St. Michael the Archangel Church
(Nepriklausomybės sq. 14)
The church was built on the eastern side of Laisvės avenue in 1891-1895 when Kaunas was a governorate of the Russian Empire, in Neo-Byzantine style largely for the use of the Russian Orthodox Garisson (designed to fit 2,000 worshipers) of Kaunas Fortress. The bells of the church were cut down by Germans and were taken to Germany after the fall of Kaunas Fortress during the World War I. The church remained closed until 1919. It was purchased from the Orthodox Church in the same year (a new church was built by the Orthodox Church in Vytauto str.38) and became the Roman Catholic church of Lithuanian Garrison of Kaunas. Some people argued that the church is of no architectural value and urged its demolition, but it survived.
The church was used as an art gallery during the Soviet era.
Nowadays it serves as the Roman Catholic church. Soboras is another popular name of the church.
St. George church and monastery
(Papilio str.9, close to Kaunas castle) .
The Gothic red brick Bernardine Church and the two-floor Monastery were constructed at the turn of the 15th-16th century. The first wooden church was built in 1468 and brick church started to be built in 1471. In 1503 church already served for city people. The was cemetery near the church in XVI-XVII centuries. Also there was made 21 crypt inside the church and rich citizens and nobilemen were buried in the crypts.
The big altar was built at the beginning of XVII century and there was totally 16 altars in XVII century, unfortunately only the big altar survived until our days. Other were destroyed during wars and fires. The church was badly damaged in XVII century during wars with Russia, in XIX century during Napoleon war with Russia and russian occupacy. In summer time (1812) approx. 1500 Napoleon soldiers lived in monastery and the church. After soldiers left, there was made storehouse for French army guns.
The biggest damage was made during soviet era when the church was used as drugs storehouse. Returned to Bernardines in 2005. Reconstructions started in 2009 and still continues.
Kaunas Corpus Christi Church and Dominican Convent
(Vilniaus str.31, the Old Town)
The Dominican Order
was invited to Kaunas in 1631. The Royal secretary Dominykas Norkevičius donated his house that was located in Vilnius street. 1641 is the year when the Dominican Order officially settled in Kaunas.
The church was built in the middle of the 17th century, but was partially destroyed during the Russian invasion in 1655. The church was reconstructed in 1682-1690 in Baroque style under the supervision of Italian master P. Putini. It was consecrated on 30 June 1700. The monastery was built in 1776. It was partially destroyed during the Napoleonic war (1812), but was restored in 1818. By the order of Russian tsar Nikolay I the monastery and church were closed in 1845. The church was reconstructed to Orthodox church, towers were pulled down and an onion-shaped dome was constructed. The church was returned to Roman Catholics in 1919. It was partially reconstructed in 1920-1921.
The church was once again closed during the Soviet era in 1949. It was reconstructed to cinema in 1965 (the interior was completely destroyed) which operated until 1990.
The church was returned to the Roman Catholic church after Lithuania regained its independence.
Because of the changes made inside the church during the Soviet period, it is unsuitable to meet the needs of worshipers, and therefore only its chapel is currently used. Recently, works of reconstruction have been started, but are proceeding extremely slowly due to financing disturbances .
(E. Ožeškienės str.13)
The synagogue in Kaunas was built in 1872. It is one of three synagogues in Lithuania that survived into present and serve the needs of worshipers. At the beginning of the 20th century there were 25 synagogues, but almost all of them were destroyed during wars.
Old Jews cemeteries in Panemune (few tombs survived), Vilijampole (from XVIII century), and Žaliakalnis.
The Orthodox Cathedral in Kaunas
, Vytauto str. 38. Built in 1935.
There is near
e Orthodox cathedral -
Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church
built in 1862 in the area of the local Orthodox cemetery.
(Totorių str.6). Built in 1930. One of four mosques in Lithuania and the only brick mosque in Lithuania.
A wooden Kaunas Mosque was first built in 1860. It was replaced by a brick mosque in 1930 with the aid of the state of Lithuania.
Copyright © 2017 Darius Krasauskas,