Church of St. Anne in Vilnius
The Church of St. Anne in Vilnius is very special – it looks like no other church in the world. There are numerous brick Gothic churches but only one – this church – is built from brick in Flamboyant Gothic style.
Name in Lithuanian
Year of construction
Branch of Christianity
UNESCO World Heritage status
Map of the site
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This is not the first church of St. Anne in Vilnius. First St. Anne church was a wooden building, located elsewhere. It was constructed in the times of Grand Duchess Anna in the late 13th or early 14th century and named after the Duchess. In these times Lithuania was not Christianised and the church was built for visiting Germans and other Christians. It burned down in 1419.
Present church was built in the times of Alexander I Jagiellon, in the late 15th century. Since then it has remained largely unchanged although there have been several repairs, especially after the fires in 1560, 1564, and 1794.
It is not known who designed the church but two possible candidates are Michael Enkinger or Benedikt Rejt.
There is widely publicized legend which tells that Napoleon upon seeing this beautiful structure in 1812 expressed a wish to carry this church home, to Paris, "in the palm of his hand". Nevertheless, these were not the best times for the church – it was turned into a military warehouse.
Description of the Church of St. Anne
Church of St. Anne is a small structure, it is a part of a larger ensemble of buildings which includes also another Gothic church – Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard and monastery.
Next to the church stands also a belltower – a separate building which at the first moment looks somewhat similar to the St.Anne church. Nevertheless, this structure was built in another epoch – in 1872, in Neo-Gothic style (architect Nikolai Chagin). It was built here after the previous bell tower was demolished due to the construction of a new street.
Most impressive part of the church is its facade. Brick here is used in a novel way for its time, adapting to the trendy Flamboyant Gothic style with ogee arks. Here have been used 33 diverse kinds of brick.
Interior, including the altar, was shaped in Baroque style, but it is more restrained than the beautiful facade.
Most interesting landmarks in Lithuania are connected to human activities. In past Lithuania was one of the largest and most influential European countries and some landmarks still are a testimony to this. The most interesting landmarks of Lithuania are concentrated in its largest and most beautiful cities – Vilnius and Kaunas. Especially beautiful are the diverse churches.
Throughout the millennia Christian churches have been the epitome of architecture and arts achievements in Western culture.
The heritage of Europe is diverse and endlessly interesting. Incomparably rich is the wealth of European historical architecture, but this part of the world has exciting natural heritage and archaeological heritage as well.
Presents the history of the capital city of Lithuania from its 14th century legendary beginnings up to 2009, when Vilnius bears the distinction of European Capital of Culture. Besides applying the traditional apparatus of historical investigation and referring to a large number of sources, the special feature of this book is the ample quotes from travelers who passed through the city during their own life journeys.