Vytautas' the Great Church
|Vytautas' the Great Church of the Assumption of The Holy Virgin Mary
Vytauto Didžiojo Mergelės Marijos ėmimo į dangų bažnyčia
Church of Vytautas the Great
|Geographic coordinates||54°89'50" N, 23°88'65" E|
|Architectural style||Late Gothic and Brick Gothic|
|Direction of façade||West|
Vytautas' the Great Church of the Assumption of The Holy Virgin Mary (Lithuanian: Vytauto Didžiojo bažnyčia) is a Roman Catholic church in the Old Town of Kaunas, Lithuania, and is one of the oldest churches in the city and an important example of Gothic architecture in Lithuania.
The church was built on the north bank of the Neman River around 1400 for Franciscan monks and foreign merchants. It was ordered and funded by Vytautas the Great as a commendation to the Blessed Virgin Mary for saving his life after a major defeat in the Battle of the Vorskla River.
Being quite close to the river the church has suffered many times from spring floods. In 1812 it was burned by French troops. The Franciscan monastery was closed by Russian administration after the November Uprising. In 1845 the Catholic Church was closed and later was rebuilt and reopened as an Orthodox church. From 1903 it served as military barracks. In 1915 Germans organised a warehouse here. The building returned to the Catholic Church in 1919 and underwent major renovation works in 1931–1938, and again in 1978–1982.
The church was constructed in Gothic style and is an example of the Lithuanian Brick Gothic architecture. The church layout of the Latin cross is unique in the Lithuanian Gothic. Over the years the ground level around the church has been raised significantly and the façades became lower; to compensate for this, the windows were shortened and the side portals were removed. The bell tower was added later and has probably been used to guide ships navigating the Neman River.
- Minkevičius, Jonas (1988). Lietuvos architektūros istorija. I dalis. (in Lithuanian). Vilnius Mokslas. p. 126.
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