Vilnius is associated with numerous
cathedrals and churches, representing practically all the
known architectural styles. No other city in the Eastern Europe
can boast of such a number of unique churches, situated on
quite a small territory. But St. Anne's Church stands out
from the variety of city's sacral building. It is considered
to be the masterpiece of late Lithuanian gothic. The small
church is situated in front of the Bernardine Church and forms
with it a single architectural ensemble. The dominant of the
ensemble is the elaborate principal facade of St. Anne's Church
that has become a sort of visiting card for Vilnius.
The wooden church was constructed
on this spot at the beginning of the 14th century. The first
historical reference to St. Anne's Church dates back to 1394.
In 1495-1500 the brick church erected by the Franciscans replaced
the wooden one. The church took shape of its present image
only after reconstruction in 1582. For the construction of
the principal facade bricks of thirty three kinds were used.
Arches of all types, numerous phials, ingenious brick patterns,
elegant spires crowned with metal crosses create the unforgettable
sight. The interior of the church is not equal its splendor
exterior. Three baroque altars were set up in the middle of
the 18th century. In the second half of the 19th century,
an adjacent belfry in the neo-gothic style, designed by Nikolaj
Chagin, was built. In the second half of the 20th century,
the church was restored and the facade was reinforced with
metal strings. At the same time the interior was enriched
by the new choir loft and organ.
This miniature church amazes the visitors
with the courage and ingenuity of the masters who erected
it. There is a legend that Napoleon was so enchanted by its
beauty that he exclaimed that he would like to place it on
the palm and move to Paris. However, in fact, he used the
church for the needs of the French cavalry.
Address: Maironio St., 10