Vytautas' the Great Church

Kaunas, Lithuania

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.

Being quite close to the river the church has suffered many times from spring floods. In 1812 it was burned by French troops. The Franciscan monastery was closed by Russian administration after the November Uprising. In 1845 the Catholic Church was closed and later was rebuilt and reopened as an Orthodox church. From 1903 it served as military barracks. In 1915 Germans organised a warehouse here. The building returned to the Catholic Church in 1919 and underwent major renovation works in 1931–1938, and again in 1978–1982.

The church was constructed in Gothic style and is an example of the Lithuanian Brick Gothic architecture. The church layout of the Latin cross is unique in the Lithuanian Gothic. Over the years the ground level around the church has been raised significantly and the façades became lower; to compensate for this, the windows were shortened and the side portals were removed. The bell tower was added later and has probably been used to guide ships navigating the Neman River.

Lithuanian writer Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas (1869–1933) is buried in the crypt of the church.

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Details

Founded: c. 1400
Category: Religious sites in Lithuania

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kristupas (3 years ago)
Its so awesome! Everybody needs to see it.
Natasha Kirichuk (3 years ago)
The view is beautiful. You can see the Neman in all its beauty. A very popular wedding destination. There’s always someone taking pictures in the cobbled streets around it as well. Very atmospheric!
J. G (4 years ago)
Nice and simple church right off of the river. Which is a good place to jog along by the way.
Cam Graves (4 years ago)
Very nice architecture. Especially loved it in the early morning view
Paul B (4 years ago)
Beautiful old church in a perfect location on the riverfront. A favourite with locals for weddings and baptisms. If you're looking to book this church in the peak season, be sure to do it 4-6 months in advance.
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