Vilnius, capital of Lithuania
The first destination of our city tour was the classicist Archbishop's Cathedral of Saint Stanislaus, which looks more like a Greek temple. The bell tower standing in front of the cathedral was originally a castle wall tower of the Vilnius castle complex.
The most famous personalities of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were buried in the catacombs of the cathedral. Among others, Vytautas the Great, a grandson of Gediminas *), and two queens, namely Elzbieta Habsburgaite (Elizabeth of Habsburg) and Barbora Radvilaite, two of the three wives of King Sigismund II. August.
Their epitaphs are in the Casimir Chapel (in the picture you can see the chapel by the dome). **)
*) Grand Prince Gedymin (1320-1341) made Vilnius the capital of the Lithuanian Empire.
**) The third wife of Sigismund II, Catherine of Austria was buried in 1614 in the monastery crypt of Sankt Florian Abbey near Linz.
On a hill above the cathedral stands the Upper Castle with the Gediminas Tower, the landmark of the city of Vilnius.
From this tower you have a beautiful view of the city. Picture above: The Archbishop's Palace, former palace of the Grand Princes, and the Cathedral. Picture below: The old town.
View of the modern part of Vilnius with the Neris River. On the horizon you can see the TV tower.
The Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul is a Baroque church with impressive stucco work.
Our group at the official residence of the Lithuanian President
In the adjacent university quarter in the old town we discover romantic Renaissance courtyards.
Walking in the old town. In the background, the church of the Dominican monastery, or the Holy Spirit Church.
The Church of St Anna is a masterpiece of the late Gothic period. Napoleon is said to have admired it greatly. The tower next to it dates from the 19th century.
Behind it is the Bernhardin Church (Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard).
Interior of the St Anna church
The massive Bernhardin Church was also intended for defence purposes. This is proven by 19 embrasures in the north façade. During the Soviet era, St. Bernard's Church was closed and served as a warehouse. After Lithuania regained its independence, the Franciscan monks, who had been working underground until then, returned to the church.
The Gate of Dawn is the only surviving city gate from the 16th century.
On the first floor of the city gate is a chapel, a place of pilgrimage with a famous image of the Virgin Mary.
Drive to the TV tower. Dramatic scenes took place here in 1991 in the course of Lithuania's liberation from the Soviet Union.
View from the TV Tower