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

Vaiva Cizauskaite (2 months ago)
It's a really beautiful and popular church and sometimes you can spot a wedding when passing by the church
Gosia M Kwiatkowska (2 months ago)
There is something special about this church- the gothic style and the lovely atmosphere in and around the place. Loved it.
Rob P (3 months ago)
Beautiful Gothic pearl built in 1500. Has the distinction of having served as stable for Napoleon's horses in 1812. As of 2018, home to the Traditional Latin Mass community of Vilnius (Holy Mass 12h Sunday, 1815h Tuesday-Saturday)
Planet Airlines (5 months ago)
St Anne's Church, it's a beautiful Gothic Church which is a key symbol to Vilnius and the city constructed entirely with red brick. The church of St Anne is a masterpiece of the late Gothic period. The church, which has survived to the present day without changing for over 500 years, has become one of the most popular tourists attractions.
Stephen Nosalik (6 months ago)
St Anne’s is a stunning church just metres away from St Frances of Assisi church. Together they make a stunning photo of red brick. Both are free Togo in and both are worth your time. It really is one of the architectural highlights of Vilnius.
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On the night of Palm Sunday (28–29 March) 1942 a Royal Air Force bombing raid destroyed a fifth of the town centre. Several bombs fell in the area around the church, causing the eastern vault of the quire to collapse and destroying the altar which dated from 1696. A fire from the neighbouring cathedral museum spread to the truss of the cathedral, and around noon on Palm Sunday the towers collapsed. An Arp Schnitger organ was lost in the flames. Nevertheless, a relatively large portion of the internal fittings was saved, including the cross and almost all of the medieval polyptychs. In 1946 a further collapse, of the gable of the north transept, destroyed the vestibule almost completely.

Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.

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In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.