The City Centre and the Old Town have so many churches [as well as a few monasteries and a synagogue] that it warranted a page to itself on my website. Some are stunning on the outside and demand further investigation, while others are squeezed in between buildings that give little indication what there is to offer through their doors [if they are not locked]. They are all unique and beautiful on the inside, so if you see a church I would take a peek. I recommend starting at the Cathedral and then walking up Pilies Gatve towards the Gates of Dawn where many of the churches listed below can be found.
Vilnius’ Catholic Cathedral has a long and turbulent history and originates from the mid 13th century however the majority of the building as it stands now dates from the early 15th Century. The nave is striking but unfussy, the eleven small chapels are grand and in stark contrast. St Casimir’s Chapel is a wonderful baroque example.
There is also a fascinating crypt which I recommend visiting. Our guide explained that although the remains of some of the Dukes of Lithuania were incarcerated here, however due to floods and damage caused by excavation and rebuilding of the Cathedral no-one really knows what bone belongs to what Duke! You need to prebook for a guided tour of the crypt, tickets and times are available from the office in the Bell Tower.
Orthodox Church of St Nicholas
St Nicholas’ Church was built on the site of a wooden chapel erected in 1340. A brick church replaced it in 1350 which was subsequently replaced with another brick structure in 1514. This burnt down in 1740 and was rebuilt in the Baroque style and has managed to avoid any further disasters so far.
St Casimir’s Church
This church was founded in the early 16th Century but has burnt to the ground on three occasions and has been rebuilt each time. What we have now originates mostly from the early 18th Century and is a fine example of Baroque architecture. I love the 18th century addition of a crown which can be best seen from the rear – there are good views of this from the Bastion of Vilnius Defensive Wall. [see more in my Museums page]. Sadly, it was locked when I visited.
The Greek Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity
This Church is easy to miss as you have to pass through the wonderful 18th century Basilian Gate to get there. Next to the church is a monastery. The church was built in 1514 and the interior is in need of some TLC.
The Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit and Monastery
This 18th Century church stands where a wooden church used to stand until it was destroyed by fire. The Church is mostly hidden behind the pink outer wall but I recommend passing through the arch and taking a better look. The Church may be plain on the outside but head inside and you are rewarded with stunnning gold and green.
St Theresa’s Church and Gate of Dawn Chapel of Mary the Mother of Mercy.
St Theresa’s is a 17th Century Baroque Roman Catholic church near the Gates of Dawn. The interior is beautiful. You can enter the Chapel via a passageway from the church or by a side entrance as you approach the Gate.
Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit
It’s easy to walk past this church as it’s right on top of the pavement. The original church was destroyed by fire and much of what you see now is Baroque in style and dates from the middle of the 18th Century. The entrance has macabre frescos on the wall and the interior of the church is stunning.
Church of St Anne and the Bernadine Church
This landmark Gothic Church in the east of the Old Town was built at the end of the 15th Century. The use of different coloured bricks in the design sets it apart from other churches in Vilnius. It has remained relatively unchanged for around five centuries. The complex includes a monastery and bell tower.
Orthodox Cathedral of the Blessed Mother of God
This church is situated near to the bridge entrance to Užupis. Original construction began in the middle of the 14th century but it has had multiple facelifts since.
Church of St Michael and Constantine
Leashia and I stumbled upon this church by accident when we were a bit lost but I’m glad we did as I love a classic domed church. It was consecrated in 1913 to commemorate the 300th aniversary of the Romanov Dynasty. You will find it on Jono Basanavičiaus Gatvė to the west of the Old Town.
Orthodox Church of Our Lady of the Sign
This multiple domed Church is just over the Žvėrynas Bridge and was built in 1903 and extensively restored in 2009.
There are loads more churches including the Church of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangalist which is affiliated to the University and the 14th century Orthodox Church of St Paraskeva. Both had their doors firmly locked on our visit.
I was really looking forward to seeing inside the only remaining Synagogue in Vilnius which opened in 1903. The interior has a Moorish influence but there was a rude sign on the front gate saying that visitors were not welcome. Gah!