Most interesting landmarks of Lithuania
Below are listed the most amazing landmarks of Lithuania.
Man made landmarks of Lithuania
- Kernavė – Vilnius county. Group of hillforts in the site of the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Important center 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 county. Last pagan shrine of Balts, site of Skalvian fort. Pagan altar stood here until the 19th century. Site of legends.
Cities and villages
- Nagliai villages – Klaipeda county. 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 county. Extensive historical quarters of once important city – the center 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 county. Well preserved traditional village with planning unchanged since the 18th century. Located in isolated place in the middle of forest.
Castles and palaces
- Radziwiłł Palace in Vilnius – Vilnius county. The only Renaissance palace in Vilnius, built in 1635 – 1653. Currently part of this large building serves as museum.
- Trakai Island Castle – Vilnius county. 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 county. 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.
- Cathedral of the Theotokos in Vilnius – Vilnius county. 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 county. 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 county. Oldest Baroque church in Vilnius, built in 1604-1618. Church has beautiful lantern.
- Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard in Vilnius – Vilnius county. 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 county. Well preserved example of Brick Gothic style, most likely built in the 15th century.
- Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Vilnius – Vilnius county. Beautiful Baroque church with outstanding interior, adorned with some 2000 statues. Built in 1668 – 1701.
- Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius – Vilnius county. 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 county. 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 county. Main religious building in Lithuania. Although the religious buildings here have existed for long time, current Neo-Classical 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 county. Large church in Brick Gothic style, built in 1400.
- Pažaislis Monastery – Kaunas county. 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.
- Trakai Kenesa – Vilnius county. One of the few surviving Karaite synagogues in the world, a wooden structure built in the 18th century.
- Vilnius Kenesa – Vilnius county. One of the last Karaite synagogues, an ornate building with onion dome. Built in 1911 – 1923.
Other man made landmarks of Lithuania
- Aušros Vartai (Gate of Dawn) – Vilnius county. The only remaining city gate in Vilnius, built in 1503 – 1522. Gate has religious importance as it contains artifact which had to guard the city from attacks – icon of The Blessed Virgin Mary with miraculous properties attributed to it.
- Hill of Crosses – Šiauliai county. 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 county. 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 county. 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 county. One of oldest and largest academic 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.
Described landmarks of Lithuania
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.
Featured: 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.
This guide takes a different approach than other more traditional travel guides about Lithuania. Instead of simply aggregating information about the country and its tourist attractions, the author delves deeper into describing the country and its people, particularly those aspects about Lithuania and Lithuanians that strike him as unique and interesting.
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