Top Historical Sights in Vilnius
The history of Vilnius dates back to the 14th century when Grand Duke Gediminas founded the city. Today, the capital city of Lithuania is a historic hotbed, complete with the largest baroque Old Town in Europe and plenty of worthwhile attractions. Here are a few highlights you shouldn’t miss during your stay.
Gates of Dawn
The Gates of Dawn is all that remains of Vilnius’ city walls and nine 16th-century gates. Today, the structure houses an early 19th-century chapel with an icon of the Virgin Mary housed within. Pilgrims from around the world climb to the holy place to seek healing from this Madonna of Mercy.
For some of the best views over the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Town, climb to the top of Castle Hill, where a brick castle tower dating back to the 13th century still stands guard over the city.
Church of St. Nicholas (St. Mikalojaus)
Vilnius teems with historic churches, but the Church of St. Nicholas is the oldest. Built in the 1300s from red brick, the Gothic structure remains nearly unchanged.
Museum for Genocide Victims
While situated in New Town, this museum tells the story of a dark period in Lithuanian history, when hundreds were killed and hundreds of thousands more were deported by the KGB during the 1940s and 1950s. The museum occupies a former KGB prison.