Cathedrals in Lithuania

Vilnius Cathedral

The Cathedral of Vilnius (Vilniaus Šv. Stanislovo ir Šv. Vladislovo arkikatedra bazilika) is the main Roman Catholic Cathedral of Lithuania and the heart of Catholic spiritual life in Lithuania. It is believed that in pre-Christian times, the Baltic pagan god Perkūnas was worshiped at the site of the cathedral. It has also been postulated that the Lithuanian King Mindaugas ordered the construction of the original cath ...
Founded: 1429 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Siauliai Cathedral

A Samogitian elder M. Kęsgaila built the first wooden church in Šiauliai in 1445. Later, the church was destroyed several times, burned down, until it got its present Renaissance appearance in the early 17th century. When pope John Paul II established Šiauliai Diocese, the church became a Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. The church is painted from inside and outside with two shades of white. The Cat ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Šiauliai, 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

Telsiai Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua is a seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Telšiai. The history of the church dates back to 1624 when Deputy Chancellor of Lithuania Paweł Stefan Sapieha established a Cistercian monastery and built a wooden church on the Insula hill in the centre of Telšiai. A new spacious brick church was constructed between 1762 and 1794. The tower was built in 1859. In 1893 arch ...
Founded: 1762 | Location: Telšiai, Lithuania

Panevezys Cathedral

The Cathedral of Christ the King (Kristaus Karaliaus katedra) is a Roman Catholic cathedral, seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Panevėžys. The cathedral is eclectic combining features of Baroque and Neoclassicism and it was built between 1908-1933. In 1860, bishop Motiejus Valančius began preparations for construction of a new church in Panevėžys. However, after the Uprising of 1863, the Tsarist autho ...
Founded: 1908-1933 | Location: Panevėžys, Lithuania

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.