The second-oldest cemetery in Vilnius, Bernardine Cemetery is located in Užupis on the right bank of the Vilnia River. It’s also one of the most beautiful local historical and cultural objects of the 19th century, characterised by classicism features. The cemetery was declared a monument of history of republican significance in 1969.
Founded in 1810, the Bernardine Cemetery has been the eternal resting place of various cultural, social and scientific figures for over 200 years.
The date of the foundation of the cemetery is evidenced by the construction of a stone chapel in Classicism style. A Polish memorial plaque on the chapel’s foundation once declared that the cemetery belonged to the Bernardine Church of Vilnius, who held its first mass there.
A stone fence, a gate with a bell tower and a wooden gate resembling a country house, as well as a guardhouse surrounded the cemetery in 1812.
In 1814, the cemetery became the parish cemetery of the Bernardine Church. Columbariums were soon built; coffins were put in their niches and they were bricked up.
A chapel was built in 1827, and a crypt with catacombs was installed in its underground. In the 19th century, the cemetery resembled a park. Trees, shrubs, a stone-paved main path and smaller paths overlooking the river attracted city dwellers, and tombstone inscriptions invited people to stop and pray.