Kaunas Cathedral Basilica

Gorgeous interior

Lithuania has only one Gothic cathedral basilica – Kaunas Cathedral, and it is the largest Gothic religious building in the country. The church, built in the 15th century, has been reconstructed several times and features Renaissance, Baroque, Classicism, Neo-Gothic, and Neo-Baroque style elements.

Built over many decades with the assistance of residents and noble foundations, Kaunas Cathedral or the Cathedral Basilica of Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul was acquired its current interior in the latter half of the 18th century.

The cathedral has the archbishop's throne and often hosts the most important national events. Pope John Paul II once visited and prayed here – the church is the heart of the archdiocese of Kaunas. 

Along with the cultural and national aspect, it is worth mentioning the artistic value of the church: the building is a valuable object of sacred art and the past, more than 600 years old. 

The historic cathedral with its gorgeous interior is a must-see during a trip to Kaunas. This object of archeological, architectural, artistic, historical, memorial, and sacral significance is on the list of Lithuanian cultural monuments.

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Kaunas Old Town Map

History 

First mentioned in historical sources in 1413, Kaunas Cathedral was built at the beginning of the 15th century by Lithuanian Duke Vytautas the Great to perpetuate the Samogitian baptism.

Originally made of bricks in Gothic style, the church was one of Kaunas' older buildings. Still, at that time, it was not yet like today as its triple naves date back only to 1660.

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, there was a parish school near the church. Two shelters belonging to the parish testified to the charitable activity. Brotherhoods revitalized the church's religious life.

In 1700, according to written data, there were nine altars in the church interior. Two massive typical of that period towers decorated the exterior of the building.

Several wars and fires destroyed the building. In 1771, thanks to Stanislaus II Augustus, Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, it received completed construction. The majestic high altar, survived to this day, dates back to 1775. 

Pope Leo XIII in 1895 granted the church the title of the cathedral. In 1921, on the 500th anniversary of the Samogitian diocese, Pope Benedict XV proclaimed it a basilica. In 1926, Pope Pius XI awarded Kaunas Cathedral the title of an arch cathedral.

Architecture & Art

The cathedral is a rectangular three-nave basilica made of unplastered bricks. Its length is 84 m / 276 ft, width 34 m / 112 ft, height 28 m / 92 ft.

There is an elongated Gothic presbytery with a three-walled apse on the east side, a sacristy on the northeast, and a Neo-Gothic chapel on the southeast. In the southwest corner stands a massive 55 m / 180 ft high tower. The building exterior and the tower feature Renaissance-style décor.

The highlight of the sacristy is the crystal vaults of the 15th century – one of the widest in Europe! – on the first and second floors. The masonry of this Late Gothic architectural structure is an example of craftsmanship at its finest.

The interior has seven Baroque altars and an 18th-century pulpit. The high altar with the Crucifix and apostle statues is the most expressive. The 17th-century wooden altar of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary with two paintings is also remarkable.

Oil frescoes covering most of the church walls and vaults were created in 1894 by Janas Čajevičius. On the sidewalls of the middle nave above the arches are painted eight large plot paintings dedicated to St. Peter, on the right to St. Paul. Symbolic figurative and floral ornaments in the Neo-Baroque style cover the remaining area of the walls and vaults.

The organ with a Neo-Gothic façade was created in 1882 by Vilnius organ master Juozapas Radavičius. This romantic organ of three manuals and 63 registers has been the largest in Lithuania for more than a century.

Kaunas Cathedral Basilica in Pictures

Kaunas Cathedral

Amazing interior

Catholic Cathedral interior

Beautiful wall

Cathedral fresco

Beautiful interior

Confessional

Church Organ

Baroque Altar

How to Get to Kaunas Basilica

Kaunas Cathedral stands at the beginning of Vilnius Street, in the heart of the Old Town, near the Town Hall.

The building adapted for the disabled.

Address: Vilniaus g. 1, 44281 Kaunas

Public Transportation

Bus (lines 6, 6A, 20, 22, 26, 31, 31A): Vilniaus g.

Renting a Car 

DiscoverCars.com – a leader in online car rental reservations – is the best site to book a car in Kaunas. They compare car rental deals from many companies so you can choose what works best for you.

Kaunas Basilica Opening Hours

Monday–Friday

7 am to 6:30 pm.

Saturday and Sunday

8 am to 6:30 pm.

Free entrance.

Where to Stay in Kaunas

On Booking.com, you can book almost 300 homes, apartments, and other unique places to stay in Kaunas.

Booking.com

According to this online travel agency for lodging reservations, Moxy Kaunas Center, Algiro Hotel, and Very Bad Hotel are some of the most popular hotels in Lithuania's second-largest city.


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Beautiful Catholic church


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