Vilnius Cathedral

Cathedral in Vilnius

Image by Amos Chapple Getty Images

Known in full as the Cathedral of St Stanislav and St Vladislav, this national symbol occupies a spot originally used for the worship of Perkūnas, the Lithuanian thunder god. Seventeenth-century St Casimir’s Chapel, with its a baroque cupola, coloured marble and frescoes of the saint's life, is the showpiece, while the crypts are the final resting place of many prominent Lithuanians, including Vytautas the Great (1350–1430). The website has details of Mass.

The first wooden cathedral was built here in 1387–88; after several episodes of destruction and reconstruction, the present classical edifice was erected – following the original Gothic floor-plan and incorporating St Casimir's and the Valavičius family chapels – in the late 18th century. From 1950 the Soviets used the cathedral as a warehouse, gallery and concert venue, before its reconsecration in 1989.