One of the most famous architectural monuments in Vilnius is the Gothic Church of St. Anne. It was possibly built at the end of the 15th century by the Prague architect Benedikt Rejt. The exterior of the church has hardly changed, but the interior now has Historicist features from the early 20th century.
Thirty-three different shapes of bricks decorate the exterior facade. Beside the church is a belfry (1873, architect Nikolaj Chagin), and the baroque Santa Scala Chapel (1617). The Franciscan friars began renovations after recovering the Bernardine complex at the end of the 20th century.
More history on St. Anne and Bernardine ensemble
The large Gothic Church of Francis and St. Bernardine, whose triangular pediment and massive facade form a monumental backdrop to the Church of St. Anne, is the center of their pastoral activities. The history of the Franciscan sanctuary, architecturally reconstructed and expanded over time, goes back to the 15th century.
Gothic, renaissance and baroque features, including exceptionally lovely rib-and-panel vaults in the sacristy, and a 15th century wall mural, are in its interior.
The church is gradually being reconstructed. Among other attributes now has a unique ceramic altar. Located in the side naves are valuable 17th century monuments - marble tombstones of Stanislaus Radziwiłł and Piotr Wiesiołowski.
In 1919 the monastery buildings converted into an art school - initially the art faculty of Stephen Batory University, now the Vilnius Art Academy. A monument to Adam Mickiewicz stands in a square immediately south of the St. Anne and Bernadine church complex.
Stone relief plaques lying at its base, depicting motifs from Mickiewicz's poem Forefathers Eve, were intended for a monument to the poet which was never completed. In the 18th - 19th century, kitchen gardens belonging to the Franciscan friars, and the renowned Vilnius University Botanical Garden occupied a spot at the bend in the Vilnia river behind the Bernardine Church (now part of the Bernardine Park).
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