Vytautas' the Great Church

Vytautas' the Great Church of the Assumption of The Holy Virgin Mary (Lithuanian: Vytauto Didžiojo bažnyčia) is a Roman Catholic church in the Old Town of Kaunas, Lithuania, and is one of the oldest churches in the city.

History

The church was built in the right bank of the Neman River around 1400 for Franciscan monks and foreign merchants. It was ordered and funded by Vytautas the Great as a commendation to the Blessed Virgin Mary for saving his life after a major defeat in the Battle of the Vorskla River.

Being quite close to the river the church has many times suffered from spring floods. In 1812 it was burned by French troops. The Franciscan monastery was closed by Russian administration after the November Uprising. In 1845 the Catholic church was closed and later it was rebuilt and reopened as an and Orthodox church. Since 1903 it served as military barracks. In 1915 Germans organised a warehouse here. The building, returned to the Catholic Church in 1919 underwent major renovation works in 1931-1938 and again in 1978-1982.

Architecture

The church was constructed in Gothic style and is an example of the Lithuanian Brick Gothic architecture. The church layout of the Latin cross is unique in the Lithuanian Gothic. After the ground level around the church has been raised significantly, the façades became lower and the windows were shortened, as well as the side portals were removed. The bell tower was added later and probably has been used to guide ships navigating Neman River.

Lithuanian writer Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas (1869-1933) is buried in the crypt of the church.

Media

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Building Activity

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