This shrine is a symbol of Lithuanian baptism. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Stanislaus and St. Ladislaus is built in the very centre of the city on the site of a former pagan temple and next to Vilnius’ defensive castle.
Lithuania’s patron saint St. Casimir rests in the Cathedral Basilica. Jurgis Matulaitis served as the basilica’s bishop from 1918 to 1925. On 4 September 1993, the Holy Father John Paul II began his historic apostolic journey through Lithuania at the Vilnius Cathedral.
Vilnius Cathedral was rebuilt several times as a result of frequent fires, wars and unstable soil under its foundation. Due to the building’s importance, many prominent foreign and local architects and artists led the reconstruction projects. The building currently reflects the Classicist style (architect Laurynas Stuoka-Gucevičius), but its walls have traces of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.
Visits to the Cathedral catacombs should be directed to the Church Heritage Museum (www.bpmuziejus.lt)
A 57-metre tall bell tower stands right by the cathedral and is one of the symbols of Vilnius.
The history of the bell tower dates back to the middle of the 13th century: the defensive tower that stood here in the 16th century became a bell tower and got its current appearance at the beginning of the 19th century. The city’s oldest clock at the top of the tower chimes its bells to invite people to mass. An exhibition inside the tower recounts its history and offers visitors a spectacular view of the Old Town.