St. Anne's Church

Vilnius, Lithuania

St. Anne's Church (Šv. Onos bažnyčia) is a prominent example of both Flamboyant Gothic and Brick Gothic styles. St. Anne's is a prominent landmark in the Old Town of Vilnius that enabled the district to be included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The first church at this site, constructed of wood, was built for Anna, Grand Duchess of Lithuania, the first wife of Vytautas the Great. Originally intended for the use of Catholic Germans and other visiting Catholics, it was destroyed by a fire in 1419. The present brick church was constructed on the initiative of Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander in 1495–1500; the exterior of the church has remained almost unchanged since then. A reconstruction of the church, funded by Mikołaj 'the Black' Radziwiłł and Jerzy Radziwiłł, was carried out following severe fire damage, in 1582. Abraomas Kulvietis preached in the church between 1538 and 1541. In 1747, the church underwent a repair under supervision of Johann Christoph Glaubitz. In 1762, side arches of the main portal were hidden in order to strengthen the support for the facade.

According to a well-known legend, Emperor Napoleon, after seeing the church during the Franco-Russian War in 1812, expressed a wish to carry the church home with him to Paris 'in the palm of his hand'. The church was renovated in 1902–1909 when the side arches were uncovered and the walls were strengthened with iron and again in 1960–1970 when the towers in bad shape were restored. On August 23, 1987 the Lithuanian Freedom League held a rally in a square near the church and the monument of Adam Mickiewicz to protest the ongoing Soviet occupation, which was broken up by themilitia. Most recent reconstruction followed in 2009: the roofing was replaced, facade elements were reinforced and long-missing side spires were rebuilt.

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Founded: 1495–1500
Category: Religious sites in Lithuania

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jay T (6 months ago)
Most beautiful church I've ever seen
Ден Бращенко (7 months ago)
Small but beautiful church, we enjoyed it .
Nazanin G (8 months ago)
A nice church to see in Vilnius, is more particular from outside but also have a nice collection of art & architecture inside.
Antanas Urma (10 months ago)
Beautiful, rare gothic. Napoleon Bonaparte allegedly said he would like to bring it on his palm to Paris.
ASAKAWA GODAI (11 months ago)
Visited here in November, 2018. Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, is one of cities I've been to so far. But the thing is that I can't clearly remember what I did during my stay there, except for my visit to this magnificent cathedral. I hope it means this cathedral was so impressive enough to make me forget everything else I did. Anyhow, those who like famous spots for tourists, architectural style, something beautiful, something related to Christianity would all definitely love this church.
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