Cover picture © Credits to RomanBabakin
Cover picture © Credits to RomanBabakin

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History and mystery in Vilnius Cathedral Square: Cathedral

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You already know few stories about Vilnius Cathedral Square with the Bell Tower and crypts. Now is the time to talk about the main and the most important building: The Cathedral Basilica of St. Stanislaus and St. Ladislaus. As all significant and old buildings in Lithuania, the Cathedral was suffering from fires and wars, but still, it is a well-preserved and very loved place for all Lithuanians, standing in the very heart of Vilnius. As a historical heritage, this place is hiding a lot of secrets with a deep history and mystery in the center of Vilnius Cathedral Square. Let’s explore more about this so much loved Cathedral in Lithuania.

Picture © Credits to Birute

The History

There are a lot of stories and legends when this Basilica was constructed. Some stories are saying that it was built by our only King Mindaugas in the 13th century. Other legends are telling that the Cathedral is standing in the ancient pagans sanctum, where Thunder God Perkūnas was worshiped. But truly, this Basilica is the symbol of Lithuanian pagans christening. When our king Mindaugas was baptized, he got an order to build this place and to show the loyalty to the Christianity. There are some speculations that after Mindaugas death the Cathedral was turned into a pagans sanctum again. As you can imagine this sacred place is very, very old. Talking from the architectural side, Vilnius Cathedral was renovated and reconstructed many times through the history because the underground soil was too soft to carry this beauty.

Picture © Credits to sf1nks

The Mystery

There is one more thing in the Cathedral, which is keeping its mysterious history for a long time. And, it is one painting. Probably, a lot of people are thinking about Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, when they hear some legends about the paintings. But this time is nt about Dorian, it is a story about St. Casimir, the patron saint of Lithuania. In the 16th century, the unknown painter started to paint his future masterpiece - the picture of St. Casimir. When the painting was almost finished, the painter decided to change one detail - he turned St. Casimir’s hand with a lily to the different side, closer to the heart. After he painted the new hand, the old one was covered with paints. But not for long. The next morning, in front of painter’s eyes, he saw St. Casimir's picture, but with three hands, including the new one and the old one, which was supposed to be under the thick layer of the paints. And painter was covering the hand for a few times, and after his unsuccessful tries, he left the painting with three hands. Till now, Three-Handed Saint Casimir picture is considered to be miraculous.

Picture © Credits to Renata3

Vilnius Cathedral Square has much more hidden secrets and mysterious history than we know today. And you can feel it everywhere - starting from the Bell Tower and mysterious crypts and ending with the stunning views of Vilnius Cathedral. As you can see, Vilnius has much more than you might think.

Vilnius Cathedral
Vilnius Cathedral
Šventaragio g., Vilnius 01143, Lituanie

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The author

Monika Grinevičiūtė

Monika Grinevičiūtė

I am Monika and I am passionate traveler, an engineer, books reader and desserts lover. I live in a beautiful and colorful country called Lithuania. I will use my Lithuanian superpowers to show you that this small Baltic pearl has much more than you can imagine

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