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 construction works we ...
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 created i ...
Founded: 1685-1700 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.