Vilnius Cathedral, formally known as the Basilica of St. Stanislaus and St. Ladislaus, is a breathtaking neoclassical church and one of Vilnius’ most iconic sights. The cathedral presides over the civic centre of Cathedral Square in the heart of historic Vilnius. Check out the elegant architecture of the cathedral or explore its interior to find an ornately decorated and beautifully restored nave. See the former city walls upon which the cathedral’s bell tower was built and explore the eerie crypts and vaults beneath the cathedral floor.
The cathedral and its bell tower dominate the pretty plaza of Cathedral Square. Stand away from the two historic structures to appreciate the mastery of their architecture. This site has been a sacred place since pre-Christian times, when it may have been used to worship the Baltic pagan god, Perkūnas. The original cathedral was established in 1251 and was rebuilt and restored several times throughout the centuries.
The façade as it appears today was constructed in the late 18th century. Admire the grand Palladian-style architecture, defined by the magnificent columned portico and pediment. Recreated sculptures of St. Casimir, St. Stanislaus and St. Helena adorn the cathedral roof. Note the tall white freestanding bell tower, built on the foundations of Vilnius’ ancient city walls.
Enter the cathedral to see the cavernous nave and its 11 chapels. Don’t miss the High Baroque Chapel of St. Casimir, which is dedicated to Lithuania’s patron saint. Look for the beautiful frescoes, stuccowork and sculpted statues throughout the chapels. Take a guided tour of the cathedral’s vaults to see the crypts of some of Lithuania’s leaders and royalty.
Vilnius Cathedral is located in Cathedral Square, easily accessible on foot when exploring Vilnius’ Old Town. The cathedral is open daily and free to enter. Mass is held several times throughout the day. Book an English-language tour of the vaults for a fee in advance. The cathedral is an impressive sight on a walking tour of the Old Town, Castle Hill and the different sites of the National Museum of Lithuania.