from €20 per person
Route of the excursion: Vilnius – Kaunas.
One day excursion.
The price shown is for a group of 10 people.
The price includes: guide services.
Transport, food, accommodation and other services – for an extra charge.
Leaving for Kaunas, second largest city of Lithuania, early in the morning. A visit to Baroque Pažaislis Monastery Ensemble. The tour of the Old Town (Kaunas Castle, St George’s Church, Santaka Park, Gothic Cathedral Basilica, Town Hall, M. Maironis Museum of Literature, Perkūno House, romantic Vytautas Church). Free time for lunch.
After lunch a pedestrian tour along Laisvės avenue. A visit to M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art, the Devil Museum or Memorial Museum of L. Truikys in Žaliakalnis. Going to Žaliakalnis, panorama of Kaunas, wooden architecture, “Pelėdų kalnas”.
Returning home towards nightfall.
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Kaunas is a city of unexpected discoveries, visual and spiritual inspiration. Kaunas attracts by its beauty and spirit. Time puts its stresses harmoniously, variety of architectural styles impresses by its integrity, and all of it is at the nature’s hilly background. Historical twists coming from medieval times and the background of redbrick Gothic of the Old Town, attractive geographical location – confluence of the Nemunas and the Neris – all of it creates attractive city history. The many museums range from large to tiny ones, and this cultural accumulation educates a people, makes the city more beautiful. The façade of M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art is of semi-circular shape of a crown, and this is kings’ crown, crown of a genius! Kaunas has collected almost all creative heritage of the artist and composer. It is possible to say that Kaunas could be considered an open-air museum of the golden heritage fund of Lithuania’s literature and letters of men. A great number of creative people of Lithuania resided here during interwar, particularly in Žaliakalnis. One more aspect that the world liked is Kaunas interwar modernism architecture, which became part of the world UNESCO heritage category “Design cities” in 2015.
Kaunas is a very green city located on hills with numerous parks such as Santaka, Girčipis, Dainava and others. However, the old manor parks of the High Freda, Ąžuolynas and Pažaislis are of greatest historical and cultural value.
Pažaislis Monastery Ensemble. Pažaislis Church of the Visitation and Monastery located by the Kaunas Sea is one of the most beautiful Baroque masterpieces in Northeastern Europe. Special aura surrounds it, when the symphonic orchestra musicians take their seats in front of the church façade, music sounds and the Pažaislis music festival starts. Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac, Grand Chancellor of Lithuania, built the monastery in the 17th century for Camaldolese monks. The monastery complex consists of a monumental church with hexagonal cupola with guesthouse and other buildings from the west and a large fenced garden with huts for eremites. There were 13 of them, and 3 survived. Italian architect G. B. Frediani designed the ensemble; the construction went under surveillance of Pietro and Carlo Putini. The church was consecrated in 1674. The majority of interior decorations where painted by Michelangelo Palloni, who decorated St Casimir’s Chapel in Vilnius Cathedral. Giuseppe Rossi painted the cupola. The wall paintings tell about the foundation of the Camaldolese order, its activities and is dedicated to glorify Virgin Mary with the final composition of Virgin Mary coronation in the cupola. G. B. Merli led the group of stucco masters. The monastery was plundered many times, its function changed. However, in 1992, Pažaislis went to sisters of St Casimir again. They came here first in 1920 from the USA and resided here until 1948.
The pope donated the portrait of St Virgin Mary to K. Z. Pac, and later this portrait became famous because of special graces. Currently this portrait is in Pažaislis church.
The brick castle at the confluence of the Nemunas and the Neris rivers was built in the 14th century to stand against the crusaders attacks. The castle was first mentioned in written sources in 1361, when the Teutonic Knights destroyed it. It lost its strategic importance after the Grunewald (Žalgiris) Battle. Rebuilt several times. The square by the castle is decorated by the granite sculpture of “Kanklininkas” symbolizing the vitality of old traditions and historical heritage. The Santaka Park (Confluence) is rich in places worth a visit: ancient altar for pagan rites, hill of the Pope, where the pope John Paul II held mass in 1993, his monument, and others.
Town Hall. Local people frequently call it the “White Swan”. Its construction started in 1542, acquiring the present look after reconstruction in 1780 (arch. Jan Mattekier). It displays features of Gothic, Baroque and early Classicism. In the Middle Ages the Town Hall was the centre of Kaunas, and the square served as the main market place. Redbrick houses of rich merchants and representatives of city government (15-16th centuries) surround the square. After the last reconstruction of 1970, the Town Hall was converted into a Palace of Weddings. Behind the Town Hall, in the corner of the square there is Maironis Museum of Literature, arranged in the poet’s flat in 1936, later expanded in all the building. The main exposition is Maironis’ rooms with authentic interior and poet’s belongings, other halls present the history of Lithuanian literature. In front of the museum there is Maironis monument (sculptor G. Jokūbonis).
The Cathedral Basilica of the Apostles Peter and Paul is the only one in Lithuania with a basilican plan. After reconstruction, it acquired Renaissance and Baroque features. The Cathedral has nine altars; crystal-shaped vaults cover its sacristy. In the southern wall, there is the tomb of priest and poet J. M. Maironis. The first cardinal of Lithuania Vincentas Sladkevičius is also buried in the Cathedral.
Vytautas Church (15th century). It is one of the first Gothic brickworks in Kaunas, one of the most popular churches among Kaunas people, formerly part of a Franciscan friary. Writer and high-ranking priest J. Tumas-Vaižgantas is buried in it.
Immediately to the rear of the Jesuit Church and Monastery there is a mysterious and impressive Gothic style building called Perkūnas House. It is thought that the house was built in the 2nd half of the 15th century, famous for stories of Hanza merchants and a statue of Thunder god (Perkūnas in Lith.) found in the wall in the 19th century. Now the House belongs to the Jesuit Grammar School. It displays the life and works by A. Mickiewicz; exhibitions are arranged, theatrical tours, and workshops of traditional crafts are organized there. Vilnius street is the most beautiful street of the Old Town and only for pedestrians. Many buildings there date back to the 16th century, some of them are reconstructed. Even the telephone booths witness the fact that the street joins the old and the new city.
Laisvės alėja (Freedom Avenue) is a 1.7 km long street of boulevard type for pedestrians connecting the Old Town and the New Town. The beginning and end of the avenue formed in the 19th century fits exactly the east-west direction. The most important objects of the New Town are concentrated in it or next to it: Kaunas State Musical Theatre and the Main Post Office on the Laisvės avenue; the building of the Bank of Lithuania on Maironis str., Vytautas Magnus War Museum and monument to Freedom on K. Donelaičio str., M. K. Čiurlionis Museum, A. Žmuidzinavičius Museum and Devil Museum on Putvinskis str. The perspective of the Laisvės avenue is closed by the Church of St Michael the Archangel (arch. K. Limarenka).
National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art (Putvinskio str. 55). The new building for the museum was designed in 1930 (authors V. Dubeneckis, K. Reisonas, K. Kriščiukaitis). It is the only place, where almost all creative heritage of the famous Lithuanian artist and composer M. K. Čiurlionis is collected. The gallery displays paintings and graphics by M. K. Čiurlionis. In the music hall, one can listen to recordings of music by M. K. Čiurlionis. Various cultural events such as concerts, book presentations, educational programs are organized in it. National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art looking at it from a distance reminds a crown, a symbol of Vytautas the Great crown; a frequent symbol in the paintings by M. K. Čiurlionis is also a crown.
“Pelėdų kalnas” (Oak tree Hill) is a unique place in Žaliakalnis, distinguished by beautiful nature, rich history, exceptional architecture and breath-taking panorama. People liked this place since old times not only because of romantic aura or wonderful views to Kaunas Old Town and New Town but because they could visit the first M. K. Čiurlionis Gallery here. Intelligent people started settling in the newly developing district (houses of J. Šileika, J. Zikaras and others were built). After declaring Lithuania’s independence in 1918, the issue of establishing an art school was raised. It was decided to found it on the Oak tree Hill. The construction of the school according to the design of architect V. Dubeneckis started in 1922, and it continues functioning up until present. The place got the name of “Pelėdų kalnas” because of owls decorating the fence surrounding the park. Sculptor Vincas Grybas created the sculptures. Kaunas Art School complex together with fence decorated by owls was declared a cultural monument in 2003.