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main destination guide sights church of the holy spirit and dominican monastery


SIGHTS IN VILNIUS

Church of the Holy Spirit and Dominican monastery

    The cupola of the Dominican church of the Holy Spirit rises above the Old Town and can be easily seen from the surrounding streets. The historians suppose that a small wooden church stood on the place of the present church already at Gediminas' times. The Church of the Holy Spirit was built in 1408. In 1501 it was given over to the monks of the oldest in Lithuania Dominican order, who built a monastery nearby. Since then the church was reconstructed several times. In the 18th century, the church was severely damaged by fire and its interior was redone and acquired the present image. Strangely enough, but the Dominican Church unlike other religious organization wasn't closed during the Soviet times. Nowadays it serves Vilnius Catholic Polish-speaking community.
    The church is an architectural monument of high and late baroque in Lithuania. The exterior of the church is rather plain. The main facade can't be clearly seen as it is covered over by the monastery building. The height of the church with the cupola is 51 meters.
Inside the church boasts splendor baroque decor. Luxurious rococo ornamentations cover the walls. Sixteen massive and at the same time elegant altars covered with marble comprise a harmonious composition, supplemented by a pulpit and a confessional. They are richly decorated with round and relief sculptures and ornamentation. The dominant of the interior is the magnificent organ of the 18th century, resting on the pillars whose bases are narrower than their capitals. This unique organ made by master Adam Casparini is the only original organ of the 18th century in Lithuanua. Many baroque frescoes attract visitors' attention. A multi-figural composition "Apotheosis of the Holy Spirit" in neo-Baroque19th century style in the cupola is the most impressive one.
    An entry under the altar leads to the vaults. With many rooms and crypts of two or more stores they remind of a tangled labyrinth. There are more than 2,000 mummified corpses from the 17t-18th centuries. According to some historic documents, they are bodies of plague victims.
    The Dominican Monastery on the St. Ignoto Street was established in 1501. In 1807 the Tzar ordered to transform it into a prison for all the freethinkers and Lithuanian patriots.
Inside the monastery is ornamented with frescoes.



Address: Dominikonu St., 8
Phone: 370-5-2629595