Supposedly, the first brick castle at the confluence of the rivers Nemunas and Neris was built at the 14th century when the attacks of Teutonic Order began. The castle was fence-type, without towers, it had double walls from stones and bricks from the outside. Internal walls contained the garden of Irregular Square. This defensive castle framed a powerful barrier and the knights did not resolve to attack the castle for decades, thus they used to bypass Kaunas in war marches. In the beginning of 1362, a huge army from Prussia was made for the march against Kaunas castle where the knights and guests from England, Italy and Germany took part. The castle was reduced to rubble, but in the 14th century, the castle was rebuilt and strengthened: height of the walls were 12-15 meters, width to 3.5 meters, it contained 4 angular towers and was surrounded by a defensive moat. The access into the castle was possible through two gates by drawbridges. However, the castle of Kaunas was strongly broken down by a flood of the river Neris. Both northern towers and more than a half of the castle walls were blown down after the water wash. Especially the wars and fires of the period from 17th to 18th century heavily desolated the castle. The defensive moat vanished in the 19th century, because it was swamped. The ruins of the castle for several decades were in a state of neglect and kept dying. The first archaeological researches began to be conducted only in the period of 1925-1930. Only the walls, a part of the round tower and the foundation of the square tower remain today. They were conserved in 1954-1961, later partially renewed and covered by temporal roofs in order to protect from the atmosphere affect. Historical plays, concerts and various shows are performed in the territory of the castle.
St. George Church and Bernardines' Monastery Papilio g. 7, 9
St. George church is high and very well seen from every side. It is considered to be one of the first churches in Kaunas. A wooden church near the castle was built for Bernardines monks who settled in the city in 1468. A brick St. George church began to be built in 1471. It is unknown precisely when it was finished, but it was already functioning from 1503. High span roof, large volume and unplastered brick walls accentuate the gothic nature of the building. The church contains three naves and five spans. The walls of width of 1.4 meter are buttressed by massive abutments. This church suffered from the fires, wars, and was reconstructed more than once. In 1812, Napoleon's army turned the church to the flour storehouse. For the last time big repair of the church was performed in 1936. There was the storehouse during the postwar. The monks recovered the church, which was indeed in a sad state, in 2005. A brick building lying next to the church was built in the 16th century, which maintained many elements typical to the pointed style.
Town Hall Rotušės a.
Town Hall is distinguished by its slenderness and grace. Its tower of height of 53 meters is the highest in the old city. Present Town Hall located in the square was not the first in Kaunas. The previous one was destroyed by the fire. New Town Hall started to be built in the marketplace centre on July 28, 1542. The document testifying the celebration dedicated for the beginning of the construction of the Town Hall remained. Magistrate members of the city put one florene and one cask of honey under the corner stone. The mentioned Town Hall was to be of present width and length, of the plan of two naves with irregularly set premises for magistrate, courtroom, the treasury, the archive, commercial premises, including prison equipped in basements. Narrow stairs from courtroom located on the first floor led to prison. Natty and broad east entrance framed by profile bricks led to the trading hall. Opposite the primitive tower an entryway was up built, the entrance of which was closed by a drawbridge. Ruined after the fire, Town Hall was reconstructed only during the period of 1771-1780. The tower was reconstructed, in which a new clock was mounted. The tower steeple ended in a gilt vane with the National and the City emblems and the symbol of Kaunas Independence - the crown. Town Hall for its forms and the color is often called "The white swan". After the reconstruction of 1974, the registry office was established in Town Hall, official Kaunas city mayoral entertainments and city festivals are arranged here. Ceramics museum is founded in the basement. Wax melting furnaces of the 15th century were discovered near the tower in 1973. Since 2002, one of the furnaces is exposed in the paving.
St.Francis Ksaveras Church and Jesuits' Monastery Rotušės g. 7, 8, 9
A baroque Jesuits' church with the buildings of the monastery and the school from the both sides predominates in the southern side of the square. Jesuits started establishing in this block since 1642. Brothers Kojelavičiai bought 5 land plots, which they gave to the monastery. The most valuable building of this complex is considered to be the baroque St.Francis Ksaveras Church, which started to be built in 1666, however was sanctified only in 1759. There were difficulties when building this church, it even burnt several times. By adjusting to the composition of the square, the church's fundamental facade is directed not to the West, as it should be, but to the North. When Jesuits' monkhood was liquidated in 1787, the church, the monastery and the college were given to Franciscans monks. The church, especially its interior suffered during the war of 1812. It stood derelict and unattended till it was made into Orthodox Church by order of the czar Alexander in 1824. And in 1843, it became the church (Soboras) of Alexander Nevskis. Nevertheless, Jesuits retrieved the ensemble after the First World War. The construction of two additional floors to the two-storied buildings deformed the architecture of the whole complex. When the Second World War ended, sports hall was equipped in the closed church. The romantic poet Adomas Mickevičius used to lecture and live in a school situated next to the church during the period of 1819-1823. There is the memorial plaque on the school building that proclaims about this. Presently the school is Jesuits' gymnasium of Kaunas and the mentioned church is functioning.
Arch-cathedral Basilica of St. Peter and Paul Vilniaus g. 1
The construction of Kaunas Arch-cathedral Basilica lasted more than one century. It started to be built in the beginning of the 15th century, at the times of Vytautas the Great. It was firstly mentioned in the sourcebooks in 1431. It was the large parochial church. Very few gothic elements are left in interior. One of those elements is a reticulate and split into ogives unique crystal vaulting on both floors of the sacristy. The latter is very well seen through arcade from the presbytery. The crystal vaulting was a work of a great talent of the medieval builders. During the 16th-17th centuries the church was expanded, reconstructed, two towers were built, one of which still persists, and interior took the features of renaissance and baroque. The most valuable and artistic cathedral altar is on the left nave. It is wooden, contains three stages, the composition is typical of baroque. Cored wooden pillars are curved with the motives of grapevines. The altar is graced with the picture of „ Mary's Ascension ", and the picture "Mary's coronation" is on the second stage of the altar. Unfortunately, in 1732, the huge fire that embraced the entire city destroyed the church towers with bells, the roof and a part of the vaulting of the presbytery. Nevertheless, the church was reconstructed again in the 17th century, the baroque altars were equipped. In 1864, after the Samogitian Diocese was re-established in Kaunas, the church became the cathedral. The new and biggest in Lithuania organ was built, interior was decorated with new frescos, pictures. The neogothic Holy Ghost chapel was built in the end of the 19th century. In 1921, it granted a title of Basilica. The grace of the priest and the poet J. Mačiulis Maironis is in the southern wall of the cathedral. The cardinal Vincentas Sladkevičius, who died in 2000, is buried in the Holy Ghost chapel of the cathedral.
Perkūnas (Thunder) House Aleksoto g. 6
Perkūnas (Thunder) House is considered to be one of few buildings belonging to the gothic period that stands till now. It is assumed to be a merchant's residential house built in beginning of the 16th century. A twin house on its right, which existed till the 18th century, contained the storehouses that did not remain. It is one of the most original examples of the flamboyant Gothic architecture in Lithuania. The composition of the building is not united. The side facade possesses simplicity, and is decorated with rhombs of baked bricks. Windows of various sizes, niches, bay window and a rich frieze stripe are typical of the eastern facade, whereas the gable is a wonderful work of the bricks. Even 17 kinds of profile bricks were used for the finish of the facade. Jesuits purchased this house in the 17th century and founded the chapel in it. The first Drama theatre of Kaunas was established in this house in the 19th century. In 1818, when the reconstruction works were performed, a statue was found in one of the walls of the house, which supposedly belonged to the Pagan God Perkūnas. Due to this statue this house was given a name of Perkūnas (Thunder). The museum of Adomas Mickevičius is established in it.
Vytautas Church Aleksoto g. 3
Kaunas medieval monument is the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary's Ascension, which since 1930, since the years of the anniversary of Vytautas the Great is called by the name of Vytautas. The church of Franciscans was built around 1400. According to the legend, Vytautas the Great Lithuanian Duke who build the church, escaped from the lost battle of Vorskla with tartars in Ukraine. In 1439, Franciscans were allowed to celebrate Mass for German merchants that lived in Kaunas at that time. Now the church stands on the bank of the river Nemunas, whereas in the 17th century, a land between the church and Nemunas was densely built with the residential houses, and the banks were shored by wooden piles. The church suffered from the fires and floods many times; however it maintained its initial design, gothic forms. In 1859, by order of the Russian czar, the church became St. Nikolajus church (Sobor). The former monastery of Franciscans next to it was destroyed in 1870, and national hospital of the city was built instead. In 1990, the facades and interiors of the church were restored, while the tower was renewed with an engraving of Makovskis.
Vytautas the Great Bridge (Vytauto Didžiojo tiltas)
The original bridge on wooden poles was built in 1812. It was used by Napoleon's Army fleeing from Russia. There was no permanent bridge from Kaunas to Aleksotas until 1914. Aleksotas was under different laws during the rule of tsarist Russia. Kaunas was then part of the Russian Northwestern region, while Aleksotas and Užnemunė belonged to Poland, where the Napoleonic Code and even different calendars were used. Jokingly, Aleksotas Bridge was called the longest bridge in the world: the Slavic (Julian) calendar was used in the province of Kaunas, whereas Užnemunė used the Catholic (Gregorian) calendar; therefore, it took 13 days to cross the bridge (the old calendar was 13 days behind the new one). At the beginning of World War II, Aleksotas Bridge was mined on June 24, and then blasted on June 26 by the order of the 8th Army General Shlemin. During the Nazi occupation, a temporary pontoon bridge was built and used throughout the period. A temporary wooden bridge served local needs until 1948. When it was swept away by a flood, German war prisoners built the present Aleksotas Bridge (architect L. Kazarinskis). The bridge had a draw mechanism, which did not function properly and, therefore, was never used.
Vilnius Street (Vilniaus gatvė)
It is the oldest street of the city. It is a part of the old medieval road to Vilnius. Majority of the buildings by this road were wooden, later the red-bricked houses of the rich citizens were built, several of which maintained till our days.
Presidential Palace Vilniaus g.33
The building was constructed in 1860. In 1876, the czarist government bought it and established the residence of the governor. When Lithuanian Independence was restored and Kaunas became the provisional capital of Lithuania, this building from 1919 to 1940 was the Presidential Palace of the Republic of Lithuania. The residential premises were on the ground floor, lounge and room of a duty officer were located near portal. Two parlours for entertainments with furniture of the style of Lois XIV and small dining-room were on the first floor on portal side. Presidents of Lithuania A. Smetona, K. Grinius and A. Stulginskis used to live and work in this palace.
Laisvės (Freedom) Avenue
In the new art project of 1874, this street was indicated as the main city street, intended for transport and pedestrians, and granted a title of the prospect of Nikolajus in honor of the Russian czar. It is the avenue of length of 1621 meters: two lines of trees planted in the middle of the avenue created the recreation and walking area. Already from the end of the 19th century, it became an administrational, commercial and cultural centre of the city. When starting to build Kaunas castle, the construction of more than two-storied buildings was forbidden. First electrical street lamps lightened the street in the end of the 19th century. After the reconstruction from 1982, Laisvės Avenue became a pedestrian street. Banks, various offices, restaurants, cafes, and many modern shops are situated in this street. It is favorite place of the walk and meetings of Kaunas citizens.
The garden of the city Laisvės al. 91
By drawing up a plan of "the new city", the garden of the city was already marked in the former place of the catholic cemetery. The building of Kaunas National Music Theatre in the garden of the city is not far from Laisvės Avenue. It is the cradle of Lithuanian national opera. On December 31, 1920, the premiere of "Traviata" in the Lithuanian language was shown. This date is considered to be the date of the birth of the national opera. At present operas, operettas and musicals are played in the theatre. The garden of the city is decorated with the busts of Lithuanian composers, art characters and singers. The monument for Romas Kalanta is located in the garden near Laisvės Avenue, who burnt himself in this place in 1972 when protesting against the Soviet occupation. This act caused many demonstrations for the Freedom of Lithuania in the city. The monument was unveiled in 2002 when the 30th anniversary of this event was commemorated.
Monument for Vytautas Magnus Laisvės al.
The monument was created in 1930 for the 500th death commemoration of Vytautas the Great Lithuanian Duke. The sculptor is V. Grybas. The original of the Soviet period disappeared; therefore a reproduction of the sculpture was made, which was unveiled in 1990.
Lithuanian Bank Maironio g. 25
International contest of the project of Lithuanian bank was declared, and the first place was taken by the team of the architects from Paris. However, the designed building was too expensive, therefore a new project was assigned to be prepared by M. Songaila, the professor of Lithuanian architecture and the chairman of the jury committee. The construction was finished in 1928. The Bank is the building on the corner, having different facades, which is monumental, and distinguishes for its magnificence. A sculptural group with national and Lithuania's statehood symbols is pictured in front of a half-round window in the triangle gable on the main facade. Fortunately, it was protected from destruction during the Soviet period by concreting over the Lithuanian symbols - pillars of Vytis and Gediminas. Antique themes predominate in the Operation hall. It is one of the safest banks. The valuables are secure in the prewar English safe-deposits. Interior of 1929 was restored in 1996-1997. It is one of the most valuable interwar buildings of social purpose. The Museum was opened in the bank, which presents exhibits related to the development of banking and monetary relations in Lithuania, videotapes on the Bank of Lithuania, production of currency and its security features.
The garden of Vytautas The Great Military Museum Vienybės a.
This square was marked in the plan of "the new city" of 1847. Originally the market for the trading of horses and wood was here. Afterwards 8 small shops were built. The staff of the 111th Don Infantry regiment and the staff of the 8th Smolenskas Dragoon regiment settled on the north-eastern side. Electric station, at that time the highest building of the city in the square was built in 1900. The square in front of the building was pebbled, and the Orthodox Church was nearby. Only after the restoration of Independence, the Military Museum and the gallery of M.K. Čiurlionis were founded in the former buildings of the soldiers. The War Museum garden was altered, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was buried, the monument for „Those Who Perished for Lithuania's Freedom" and the altar of the Eternal Flame with wooden crosses were built. In 1928, when commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Lithuanian Independence, the Statue of Liberty was unveiled, which became the main accent of the garden and one of the city symbols. Monumental busts for the most famous Lithuanian politicians, writers and public characters were created in 1928-1933. The author of many monuments is J. Zikaras. In 1929, it was decided to build the Nation's Museum in the square; therefore the project contest was declared. Three foreign architects from Germany, Sweden and Finland comprised the jury. 16 Lithuanian architects and one Belgian architect took part in the contest. None of the projects won the contest, therefore V. Dubeneckis, the architect from St. Petersburg, who lived in Kaunas, was assigned to make the project. In 1936, the Nation's Museum was finished. The Military Museum and the National M.K. Čiurlionis Art Museum established in it. During Stalin‘s period, the garden changed a lot, almost all the monuments were destroyed. The monument of Lenin with stelas of "Revolution", "Peace", and "Work" was built in a new part of the garden in 1970 (Lenin was removed from the square of the will of city people). In 1975, the institutes of the City and Industry projection and Political Education House were constructed. These buildings are now applied to the needs of today - offices, auditoriums and administration of the University of Vytautas Magnus are situated there. From the finances of city people, this garden recovered its former state of the prewar period. Today it is the representative city square, where the commemoration of many important dates of the country and the city are held. The white-bricked Christ's Resurrection church is very well seen from the square.
Christ's Resurrection church Žemaičių g. 31
It started to be built in 1932 under the project of the architect K. Reisonas. The church is assumed to be the symbol of the Lithuanian independence. It was built from the contributions of people. When Lithuania lost its independence, the construction was already ending, however, there was no interior and the outside was not daubed. In 1940, the church was confiscated, and machine shop of the Radio factory was founded in 1952. In 1989, the building was returned to religious community and after 70 years from the construction beginning the church was sanctified on December 24th in 2004. Visitors have the possibility to go to the observation deck on the church roof to enjoy the panoramic view of the city. TERRACE opening hours March - September: Monday - Friday 11.30 a.m. - 6.30 p.m. Saturday - Sunday 11.00 a.m. - 6.30 p.m. October - February: Monday - Friday 12.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m. Saturday - Sunday 11.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
Aleksotas Funicular Amerikos lietuvių g.
This unique mean of transportation was built in 1935. Authentic traction equipment, which has functioned for more than seventy years, is still in use today, including the genuine pre-war wagon, wooden seats, and stop platforms. Even today the funicular takes people up the Aleksotas hill, from which the panorama of the Kaunas city centre and Old town is wide open. Kaunas is the only city among Baltic States, where such means of transportation is available.
Žaliakalnis funicular Aušros g. 6
It is the oldest funicular in Lithuania and was constructed by the engineering office Curt Rudolph Transportanlagen from Dresden, Germany with electric equipment from "AEG" and mechanical parts from Bell Maschinenfabrik, Switzerland. The official opening was on 5th of August in 1931 with one passenger car, while the second car was only a platform ballasted with stones used to counterbalance the passenger car. Kaunas is the only city in Lithuania with this type of transport. In the residential district of Žaliakalnis these "climbing cars" serve both as a means of transport and entertainment. Žaliakalnis funicular provides an easy way of reaching the Resurrection Church from the city centre. Žaliakalnis funicular operates: I - V 7.00 a.m. - 7.00 p.m. VI, VII 9.00 a.m. - 7.00 p.m.
St. Michael Archangel Church (Sobor) Nepriklausomybės a. 11
Under the decision of the Russian czar Alexander II, Kaunas became a military fortress of the first class. Kaunas fortress began to be built in 1882, the construction took 10 years, and the city was surrounded by a ring of the defence of 25 kilometers long. 9 of the planned 12 forts were built. In the beginning of the 20th century, 35 thousand of Russian army soldiers lived in Kaunas, and it contained about 30 % of the city population. St. Peter and Povilas church (Soboras) was built for the military garrison of Kaunas fortress in 1895. The building in the neobyzantine style had all the features of the Orthodox Church. Russian architects designed the church, the masters from Černigov guberny performed bricklaying works, and the painters of St. Petersburg decorated it. In 1919, it was turned into St. Michael Archangel Church. Since 1965, the church became the gallery of Stained glass and Sculpture. After restoring the Independence, the church began functioning again. The crosses, which were removed in 1978, were raised again, and in 1996, the prerogative right was given to Lithuanian military.
The ensemble of Pažaislis buildings and Camaldolli abbey T. Masiulio g. 31
It ranks among the most beautiful Baroque-style buildings in Lithuania. The church and abbey were built for Camaldolese (Benedictine) monks in the 17th century under the supervision of Italian masters from Florence (Michelangelo Palloni, Joan Merli, and Pietro Perti). Interesting! The beauty of the Abbey was well known in Europe, thus the Abbey was visited by King of Sweden Karol XII and Tsars Alexander I and Nikolaj I. The letter was so delighted by the beauty of the church that he assigned 130 thousands roubles for its reconstruction to the Provoslav one.
Botanical Garden Ž. E. Žilibero g.
In this oasis of parks, small bridges and natural beauty, visitors can view different medicinal herbs and decorative plants. Opening hours: I-V 9.00 a.m. - 7.00 p.m. VI-VII 9.00 a.m. - 8.00 p.m.
Kauno miesto savivaldybės administracija, Savivaldybės biudžetinė įstaiga, Laisvės al. 96, LT-44251 Kaunas, duomenys kaupiami ir saugomi Juridinių asmenų registre, kodas 188764867, PVM mokėtojo kodas LT 887648610, tel. (8 37) 42 26 08, faks. (8 37) 42 54 52, el. p. firstname.lastname@example.org