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Lithuania

Main attractions

Gediminas Tower in Vilnius, Lithuania
Gediminas Tower in Vilnius / Mantas Volungevičius, Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Most interesting landmarks in Lithuania are connected to human activities. In the past Lithuania was one of the largest and most influential European countries and some landmarks still are a testimony for this. Most interesting landmarks of Lithuania are concentrated in its largest and most beautiful cities - Vilnius and Kaunas. Especially fine are the diverse churches.

Natural landmarks

  • Stelmuze Oak - Utena. Largest tree in Lithuania, with a circumference of 9.58 m, possible cult site.

Man made landmarks

Archaeological heritage

The ancient capital of Kernavė, Lithuania
The ancient capital of Kernavė / Kristijonas Dirse, Flickr, CC BY 2.0
  • Kernavė - Vilnius. Group of hillforts in the site of the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Important centre since the Paleolithic age, 13th century or earlier, abandoned around 1392. Well preserved under the layer of soil. Includes the oldest known medgrinda – underwater road used for defense purposes.
  • Rambynas - Taurage. Last paganic shrine of Balts, site of Skalvian fort. Paganic altar stood here until the 19th century. Site of legends.
Street in Vilnius, Lithuania
Street in Vilnius / Peter Collins, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Cities and villages

  • Nagliai villages - Klaipeda. Several villages of Curonian people (now nearly extinct) buried under the sand dunes and thus – well preserved. Four villages were covered with the sand in 1675 – 1854.
  • Vilnius Old City - Vilnius. Extensive historical quartals of once important city – the centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 13th – 18th centuries. Numerous impressive buildings in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque style. One of the largest medieval old cities in Europe.
  • Zervynas - Alytus. Well preserved traditional village with planning unschanged since the 18th century. Located in isolated place in the middle of forest.
Trakai Island Castle, Lithuania
Trakai Island Castle / Stefan Didam, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Castles and palaces

  • Radziwiłł Palace in Vilnius - Vilnius. The only Renaissance palace in Vilnius, built in 1635 – 1653. Currently part of this large building serves as museum.
  • Trakai Island Castle - Vilnius. Most impressive and best preserved medieval castle in Lithuania. Present structure was constructed in the 14th century and completed by 1409. It was reconstructed and partly rebuilt in the 20th century and now is one of the major tourist sites in the country.
  • Vilnius Upper Castle (Gediminas Hill) – Vilnius. Remaining part of the extensive Vilnius Castle Complex (Lower Castle is newly rebuilt). Best known part of the castle is Gediminas Tower on the top of 40 m tall hill above the city. Beautiful views on the city from the tower.
Church of St. Casimir in Vilnius, Lithuania
Church of St. Casimir in Vilnius / David Iliff, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Churches

  • Cathedral of the Theotokos in Vilnius - Vilnius. The oldest brick church in Lithuania, an Orthodox church which was built in 1348, in the times when Lithuania was still a pagan state. Rebuilt in 1609 and reshaped in Baroque style in 1785 and then again in 1865-1868, now in Georgian Orthodox style.
  • Church of St. Anne in Vilnius - Vilnius. Unusual, beautiful example of Brick Gothic which follows the style of Flamboyant Gothic style. Especially beautiful is the ornate façade of the church. Built in 1495 – 1500.
  • Church of St. Casimir in Vilnius - Vilnius. Oldest Baroque church in Vilnius, built in 1604-1618. Church has beautiful lantern.
  • Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard in Vilnius - Vilnius. Large church in the late Brick Gothic style, built by Bernardine monks in 1516. Later rebuilt in Renaissance and Baroque styles. Contains valuable mural paintings from the early 16th century.
  • Church of St.Gertrude in Kaunas - Kaunas. Well preserved example of Brick Gothic style, most likely built in the 15th century.
  • Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Vilnius - Vilnius. Beautiful Baroque church with outstanding interior, adorned with some 2000 statues. Built in 1668 – 1701.
  • Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Vilnius, Lithuania
    Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Vilnius / David Iliff, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0
    Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius - Vilnius. One of major Baroque styled churches in Vilnius. Constructed in 1408 – 1760, numerous times expanding and reshaping it. Beautiful interior in Rococo style. Under the church are catacombs – numerous smaller crypts where are located some 600 corpses buried here in the 18th – 19th centuries.
  • St. Johns Church in Vilnius - Vilnius. Large and very ornate church in Baroque style, built in 1388 – 1426 and reshaped in current style in 1738 – 1748. Long term traditional church of intellectuals, university church. The 69 m tall tower is the tallest structure in the Old City.
  • Vilnius Cathedral - Vilnius. Main religious building in Lithuania. Although the religious buildings here have existed for long time, current Neo-Classica structure was built in 1779 – 1783. Inside the cathedral have been buried numerous important people including Vytautas. Cathedral contains major art values – frescoes, paintings, in one underground chapel found a fresco from the 14th century – the oldest one in Lithuania. Most likely built in the site of pagan temple. On front of cathedral stands bell tower built on a defensive tower of castle.
  • Vytautas’ the Great Church in Kaunas - Kaunas. Large church in Brick Gothic style, built in 1400.

Monasteries

Vilnius Kenesa, Lithuania
Vilnius Kenesa / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Pažaislis Monastery - Kaunas. Most beautiful example of Italian Baroque style in Lithuania. Founded in 1662, different structures were built until 1755. In the planning and construction were used numerous innovations, such as hexagonal planning for the church, concave façade. Church has beautiful interior.

Karaite synagogues

  • Trakai Kenesa - Vilnius. One of the few surviving Karaite synagogues in the world, a wooden structure built in the 18th century.
  • Vilnius Kenesa - Vilnius. One of the last Karaite synagogues, an ornate building with onion dome. Built in 1911 – 1923.

Other man made landmarks

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
Hill of Crosses / Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Aušros Vartai (Gate of Dawn) - Vilnius. The only remaining city gate in Vilnius, built in 1503 – 1522. Gate has religious importance as it contains artefact which had to guard the city from attacks – icon of The Blessed Virgin Mary with miraculous properties attributed to it.
  • Hill of Crosses - Šiauliai. Pilgrimage site where pilgrims since the 19th century leave wooden crosses. Now this small hill is covered with some 100,000 crosses. Site serves as a symbol of resistance because during the times of Soviet occupation there were attempts to remove it.
  • House of Perkūnas - Kaunas. Residential building in Gothic style, an outstanding example of Brick Gothic architecture with ornate façade. Built in the middle of the 15th century.
  • Kaunas Town Hall - Kaunas. Beautiful historical building in Baroque style, with a 53 m tall tower. Constructed starting from 1542, in present Baroque form – in 1771 - 1775.
  • Vilnius University Library - Vilnius. One of oldest and largest adacemic libraries in Europe, founded in 1570. Holds 5.4 million documents, shelves are 166 km long. Structure includes several beautiful reading halls which are adorned with frescoes.

List of described attractions by counties

Lithuania is divided into 10 counties.

Klaipeda
Telšiai
Taurage
Marijampole
Šiauliai
Panevežys
Utena
Kaunas
Vilnius
ArrowChurch of St. Anne in VilniusChurches
Alytus

Map of Lithuania

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