Cathedral Square, Belfry, Arch-Cathedral Basilica, Gedimino Tower (background)
Arch-Cathedral before re-creation
Arch-Cathedral with the recreated statues of St. Stanislaus, St. Helen and St. Casimir
Once the site of a pagan monument, the first Christian church was thought to have been built here in 1251 by Grand Duke Mindaugas. The current construction dates back as far as 1419, but has suffered several fires and has gone through major reconstructions and renovations. Much of what is seen now was created between 1769 and 1820 by the architect Stuoka-Gucevicius in the French-classicist style. The Cathedral was closed by the Soviets in 1950 and used as a picture gallery. It was returned to the Catholic church in 1990. Highlights include its eleven chapels, in particular the High Baroque Chapel of St. Casimir, the patron saint of Lithuania. The original statues were created by Karolis Jelskis in 1792, torn down and thrown away by the Soviets in 1950, but thanks to the excellent work of Lithuanian sculptor Stanislovas Kuzma and restorers, working only from photographs, the imposing figures of St.Stanislaus, St.Helen and St.Casimir were rebuilt, and have since resumed their vigil over the Vilnius city.