There are two important buildings at the head of Didzioji Street (Didžioji gatvė). On the right is"Frank's House", now the French Cultural Center with a café and bookshop. A symbolic coincidence: Henri Beyle, an officer in Napoleon's army who later became the writer known as Stendhal, lived here in 1812. In 1804 the architect Michael Schulz renovated the building into flats for university professors.
Among its residents was the physician Joseph Frank, who left detailed notebooks with a great deal of information on 19th century Vilnius. Philosopher Lev Karsavin, who perished in one of Stalin's concentration camps, sought refuge in this building after the Second World War. Looking out on the façade of Franks House from the other side of Didzioji Street are the windows of the 17th-century Chodkiewicz manor house. The Lithuanian Museum of Art adopted it for use at the end of the 20th century. A guild complex on numbers 24 and 26 near Town Hall has preserved its external 15th and 16th-century architectural features.
Town Hall on Didzioji Street
The Town Hall is from the end of the 14th century, during the rule of Jogaila. It acquired its present form in the mid-18th century after a fire destroyed the earlier gothic building. Reconstruction was undertaken by Johann Christoph Glaubitz and Tommaso Russeli, and Laurynas Gucevicius completed it. In 1810 it converted into a theater, and in 1941 into an art museum. Today the Town Hall is in use for official ceremonies, concerts and exhibitions. One part of the building is today a well-known fish restaurant. Past the Town Hall, at the head of Vokieciu Street, in harmony with its surroundings sits the Contemporary Art Center.
Church of St. Casimir and Jesuit Monastery
On the south side of the Town Hall Square is the complex of the Church of St. Casimir and Jesuit Monastery. Following St. Casimir's canonization in 1604 the Jesuits began to build a church with funds of Leo Saphieha, Great Chancellor of Lithuania. The church, designed along the lines of the Il Gesu Church in Rome, came to completion in 1618. It's one of the earliest baroque constructions in Vilnius.
It was rebuilt in the mid-18th century by Tomas Zebrauskas, and it is not known whether he or Johann Christoph Glaubitz designed the striking, crown-bearing cupola. After the uprising of 1831, it converted into an Orthodox church. It returned to the Catholics in 1917, and its onion dome replaced by the crown cupola in 1941. In 1961 the sanctuary became a Museum of Atheism (reconsecrated in 1991). Modern paintings are incorporated into the three extant baroque altars. Jesuits live in the adjacent buildings, and part of the complex is now the Vilnius Jesuit High School.
Vilnius Philharmonic Society
A square at the intersection of Didzioji Street and Subaciaus Street borders on the north site by the massive Philharmonic Society building, formerly the City Hall (1902, architect Konstantin Koroyedov). The Great Vilnius Seimas (Parliament), at which members demanded Lithuanian autonomy, was held in this historicist style building on December 4-5, 1905. Vilnius communists announced the Soviet Lithuanian Republic in the same venue on December 15t, 1918. It has been home to the Philharmonic Society since 1940.
|Address||Ausros Vartu Street 5, Vilnius|
|Telephone||+370 52 66 52 33|
Sv. Kazimiro Street descents from the square to Boksto Street and the remains of the city's defense wall and bastion , with a wonderful view of the Vilna valley and Uzupis district unfolding at the barbican approach. Another Vilnius baroque masterpiece, the non-functioning Missionary Church of the Assumption, shows itself by walking along Subaciaus Street. Marshal Jozef Pilsudski lived at Boksto Street 8 and 16.
Bank and Trading House Didzioji Street Vilnius
The Bank and Trading House was built on the site of an old building that had already been altered in the 19th century (The banker Aleksander von Geiman the commissioned the third storey in 1891). At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russko-Aziyatsky Bank acquired the property. The year 1013 saw a complete renovation of the buildings' interior and exterior. The wing on Saviciaus Street became wider to accommodate a banking hall. The inner courtyard moved to the western boundary of the plot, and a new front staircase was added next to it. This was the second trading house that Prozorov built in the Old Town of Vilnius. Just as for the building of the State Bank of Russia, he used an elliptical vault of reinforced concrete for the two-storey operations hall.
Art Nouveau decorations
The Art Nouveau decoration in geometrical shapes, the divisions of the windows, and the metal railings are some of the few surviving details from the early 20th century in Vilnius. The exterior style of the building reflects the artistic evolution of the architect's work and is more uniform than that of the Zalking Trading House (see Didzioji Street 33 in this article). After the First World War, the bank's operations hall along Saviciaus Street transformed into the Eden cinema, which continued to run during the Soviet occupation under the new name Spalis (October). Renovation of the building in 1997 returned Art Nouveau details to both street façades, the vestibule, the staircase and the two-story operations hall. The surviving Gothic and Renaissance cellars have also been restored.
|Address||Didžioji Street 18, Vilnius|
Leiba and Rebecca Zalkind Trading House
The Leiba and Rebecca Zalkind Trading House was famous throughout the Northwest Region for its size and luxury. It had 150 employees in 20 departments. It was built in 1910 by a design by Mikhail Prozorov. Surrounded by historic architecture, this building stood out with its traditional and simple appearance, heralding the advent of Art Nouveau. Decorative features of the new style were added little later, inside and outside the building, when renovating it following a fire in 1910. A branch of the Azov-Don Commercial Bank opened on the first floor on Didžioji Street, and one of Vilnius' first lifts was installed. The façade on Didžioji Street was concave, giving it a more expressive composition. The 800-seat Casino cinema opened at the beginning of the 1930's, renamed the Maskva after the Second World War.
The Vilnius House of Fashion operated in this building in the mid-1960's. Renovations at that time destroyed the Art Nouveau interiors, and the exterior also suffered. Only one stairwell in the style remains, with wrought-iron railings and a caisson ceiling made of reinforced concrete.
|Address||Didžioji Street 33, Vilnius|