Eastern and Central Europe (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

(Ben Green) #1

Vilnius Cathedral 1

Vilniaus arkikatedra bazilika

Having taken various guises since it was first built as a
Christian church on the site of a pagan temple in 1251,
Vilnius Cathedral today largely dates from the late
18th century. The young architect, Laurynas Stuoka-
Gucevičius, brought the fashionable French Classicist
style to Baroque Vilnius; his idea for the cathedral
exterior and interior being a visual re-creation of a Greek
temple. Vilnius Cathedral was closed by the Soviets in
1950 and initially mooted for use as a garage for truck
repairs. In 1956, however, it opened as a picture gallery.
It was eventually returned to the Catholic Church in 1988
and reconsecrated in 1989, a year
before independence was declared.


For hotels and restaurants in this region see pp68–9


. St Casimir’s Chapel
. Crypt

Wall Painting of
the Crucifixion
The oldest surviving fresco
in Lithuania, dating from
the 14th century, can be
found in the crypt. It was
discovered in 1985.

Statue of Luke, the Evangelist
Of the statues of the Four Evangelists
on the southern façade, the one of
Luke’s appears with a bull, a symbol
of service and sacrifice.

Valavičius Chapel
Members of the Valavičius
family were governors and
bishops of Vilnius. Their
lavish chapel was built
in the early 17th century.


Stucco Sculpture
This sculpture
depicting a bird
sacrifice can be
seen on the
tym panum of
the façade.

Statue of
St Helena
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