Top Historic Sights in Kaunas, Lithuania

Explore the historic highlights of Kaunas

Kaunas Priest Seminary

Kaunas Priest Seminary is the largest seminary in Lithuania serving the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kaunas. It was established after the 1863 Uprising. After the January Uprising of 1863, the seat of Bishop of Samogitia Motiejus Valančius was moved from Varniai to Kaunas on December 3, 1863. The Seminary was offered the monastery of Cistercians and St. George Church. From 1863 to 1870 the seminary"s capacity w ...
Founded: 1863 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Church of St. Francis Xavier

Church of St. Francis Xavier (Šv. Pranciškaus Ksavero bažnyčia) is located in the Old Town of Kaunas. The church dedicated to St. Francis Xavier was built at the Town Hall Square in the Old Town of Kaunas by Jesuits. They opened their first residence in Kaunas in 1642 and established a chapel in the House of Perkūnas in 1643. Later they also founded a first four-form school in the city in 1649. Th ...
Founded: 1759 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas Town Hall

The construction of Kaunas town hall started in 1542. At first it was a one-storey building with not daubed facade and vaulting cellars. In the 16th century the first floor was build and the eight storey tower was built in the east of the building. The ground floor was adjusted for trading and prison guards, the first floor - for trial, magistrate, treasure, archive and office. Cellars were used to store the goods. The ce ...
Founded: 1542 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

House of Perkunas

House of Perkūnas is one of the most original and archaic Gothic secular buildings, located in the Old Town of Kaunas, Lithuania. Originally built by Hanseatic merchants and served as their office from 1440 till 1532, it was sold in the 16th century to the Jesuits who had established a chapel there in 1643. The Jesuits have also completed the Church of St. Francis Xavier at the Town Hall Square in 1722. The ruined h ...
Founded: 1440 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas Cathedral Basilica

Kaunas Cathedral Basilica (Kauno Šv. apaštalų Petro ir Povilo arkikatedra bazilika) is a Roman Catholic cathedral basilica. The exact date when the first Gothic style church dedicated to apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul was built is unknown, but it was first mentioned in written sources in 1413. The first parochial school in Kaunas at the St. Peter and St. Paul church was mentioned in 1473. The const ...
Founded: c. 1413 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas Castle

The precise construction date of the first Kaunas Castle is unknown. Archeological data suggests that a stone castle was built on the site during the middle of the 14th century. Situated on an elevated bank near the river junction it served as a strategic outpost and guarded nearby cities as well as trade routes. A written account states that in 1361, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights Winrich von Kniprode issued an ...
Founded: c. 1350 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

St. George's Church

The church of St. George was part of the Bernardine Monastery. The first wooden church was built in 1468. It was replaced by the current brick church in the late 15th century and completed before 1503. It’s been ruined by fire three times, suffered the wrath of the Moscow army during the war of 1656-1659 and then had a bit of a rest during the 18th century before Napoleon turned it into a warehouse. During Soviet times ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Vytautas' the Great Church

Vytautas' the Great Church of the Assumption of The Holy Virgin Mary (Vytauto Didžiojo bažnyčia) is one of the oldest churches in Kaunas. The church was built on the north bank of the Neman River around 1400 for Franciscan monks and foreign merchants. It was ordered and funded by Vytautas the Great as a commendation to the Blessed Virgin Mary for saving his life after a major defeat in the Battle of the Vorskla River. ...
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

St. Michael the Archangel Church

St. Michael the Archangel"s Church or the Garrison Church is a Roman Catholic church closing the perspective of the Laisvės alėja, the main pedestrian street. It was built between 1891 and 1895 when Kaunas was part of the Russian empire, in Neo-Byzantine style largely for the use of the Russian Orthodox garrison of Kaunas Fortress. The church was designed as an Orthodox cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul i ...
Founded: 1891-1895 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas Fortress

The Kaunas Fortress was a military project implemented by Russian government. In 1879 Russian Emperor Alexander II accepted a suggestion to build military fortress in Kaunas in order to defense the western border of Russian Empire from German invasion. In the general plan of fortifications there were many objects intended to be built like a surround of 7 fortresses and 9 interjacent artillery batteries, defensive centers ...
Founded: 1879 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Church of St. Gertrude

Church of St. Gertrude (Šv. Gertrūdos bažnyčia) is one of the oldest Brick Gothic churches in Lithuania. The exact date when the church was built is unknown, but it must have been in the 15th century. In 1503 Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander designated the church as a parish church of Kaunas. In the middle of the 16th century a bell tower was attached. The church was damaged in 1655 during the Russo-Pol ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Pazaislis Monastery

Pažaislis monastery and church form the largest monastery complex in Lithuania, and the most magnificent example of Italian Baroque architecture in the country. Founded in 1662 by the Grand Duchy of Lithania Great Chancellor Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac for the Order of the Camaldolese Hermits, the main construction continued until 1674 and resumed in 1712. The church was designed by Pietro Puttini, Carlo and Pietro Puttini, an ...
Founded: 1662-1712 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church

The Holy Resurrection Church is an Orthodox church built in 1862 in the area of the local Orthodox cemetery. Initially the church belonged to St. Alexander Nevsky parish, but in 1882, due to the constant growth of the number of Orthodox Russians living in the city, it was made a parish church as well. From 1884 on, the church ran a parish school. The church was closed after the Germans entered to Kaunas during World War I ...
Founded: 1862 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Holy Cross Church

The monks of the Order of Carmelites bought several plots of land for the monastery in Kaunas near the Nemunas river in 1706. Some years earlier, the Holy Cross Church (Šv. Kryžiaus bažnyčia) was sanctified nearby in 1685 and consecrated in 1700. The church was built in the late Baroque style. It is a two tower building of Latin cross shape. The painting in the main dome represents the prophet Elijah. It was ...
Founded: 1685-1700 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.