VILNIUS - JUNE 2008
Vilnius isn't a very large town; it has only a little bit more than half a million inhabitants. But it's said to have more than forty churches. We'll see some of them on this post and on the next one!
"THE CATHEDRAL of Vilnius is the main Roman Catholic church in Lithuania. Apparently established in 1251 by Grand Duke Mindaugas, following his conversion, the first church on this location saw many Grand Dukes be crowned and buried there. Rebuilt several times, the building took its present classical style form in the eighteenth century"
"FAÇADE - At first it looks like a Greek or Roman temple, rather than a Catholic church. Somehow like «La Madeleine» in Paris. Between 1786 and 1792 the sculptures of Saint Casimir (presumably symbolising Lithuania, on the south side), Saint Stanislaus (symbolising Poland, on the north side) and Saint Helen (symbolising Russia, in the centre) were placed on the roof"
"CAMPANILE - The bell tower of the Cathedral is, like some existing in Italy, situated several metres from the church itself. The reason is that, according to recent studies, the tower was one of the already existing towers of the old city walls that was transformed into belfry"
"MAGICAL STONE - The word «miracle» (stebuklas in Lithuanian, with only one letter for the first and the last S) is written there and it is believed that if someone steps there and turns around thrice, his or her wish will be granted. Believe it or not..."
"SAINT CASIMIR'S CHAPEL - The most famous of the ten chapels inside the Cathedral; it keeps the remains of the patron Saint of Lithuania, who died in 1484, 25 years old only, possibly of tuberculosis"
"ST. ANNE - The most important example of Flamboyant Gothic style in Lithuania, present day St. Anne was built, out of 33 different kinds of clay bricks, around the year 1500. The nearby neo-Gothic belfry was built in the 1870s. It's said that Napoleon, so enchanted by the church’s beauty, wished to magically transport it to Paris in the palm of his hand"
"INSIDE- A baroque altar"
"ST. ANNE AND STS. FRANCIS & BERNARDINE - Saints Francis and Bernardine Church, (aka The Bernardine Church), one of the largest Gothic buildings in Lithuania, was built at the end of the 15th century"
"ST. ANNE, ST. BERNARDINE & ADAM MICKIEWICZ - St. Bernardine was incorporated into the city’s defensive structures and took on aspects of Renaissance and Baroque styles during its reconstruction. In front of the complex, a statue of the greatest Polish Romantic poet can be seen"
"INSIDE ST. BERNARDINE - Restoration was undergoing to prepare everything for the 2009 European Capital of Culture, including the organ"
"HOLY MOTHER OF GOD - This church has an amazing history since construction in the middle of the 14th century: three fires in 1610, 1716, and 1748; change to academic use in 1808, when the Vilnius University took it over; change to barracks in 1842 when soldiers moved in; archive, warehouse and a smithy the following years; church again in the 1860s"
"FAÇADE - The church of St. Philip and St. James was established in 1624, the present building however, was built at the end of the 17th–18th century"
"FATIMA - More than 4000km by bus to come in pilgrimage to Fátima, Portugal, via Padova, Italy; a little bit less to get back, via Santiago de Compostela, Spain and Lourdes, France..."