Church of St. Anne in Vilnius


Legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte fell in love with this Gothic church. Towering over the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, St. Anne’s Church watched history unfold around it. The 500-year-old church remains a prime example of Gothic architecture as one of the city’s central landmarks.

Church of St. Anne in Vilnius

Entry related to place: Europe

St. Anne’s Church was built for Anna, Grand Duchess of Lithuania, and wife of Vytautas the Great. The church was burnt down in 1419 and then rebuilt in brick by order of the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander I Jagiellon. Consecrated in 1500, the façade we see today has hardly changed since its reconstruction in the 1400s.

It is not clear who exactly is the ingenious architect of St. Anne’s Church, although theories point to Michael Enkinger — the architect of the church of the same name in Warsaw — or Benedikt Rejt. What is clear is that St. Anne is a stunning example of Gothic architecture using dramatic arches, a symmetrical façade and ornate pillars.

According to legend, the church is so charming that Napoleon Bonaparte, who noticed the church during the Franco-Russian war in 1812, wanted to take it with him to Paris «in the palm of his hand.» Before going on a tour, check the official website and check out the visiting hours, along with other useful information.