Lithuania in a nutshell - Kaunas
Less than a hundred years ago, almost half of the population of Kanaus were Poles. Today their population amounts less than 1%. It’s the largest industrial center of the country, but most of all an important cultural center (second after Vilnius).
While wandering through Lithuania, you should stop at least for a weekend in Kaunas, one of the oldest cities in the country. The more that it’s just 110 km away from Vilnius.
Two ends of the Liberty Avenue
An obligatory thing to do in Kaunas is a walk through Liberty Avenue, which leads to the historic Old Town. It's a famous promenade, with representative buildings along its both sides (including government buildings, post office and theater). At the eastern end of the avenue there’s a parish church of Saint Michael Archangel, one of the best landmarks of the city.
On the other side of the promenade you can see the ruins of the fourteenth-century castle. In the past it impressed people with its size, moreover, it was surrounded by a moat 5 meters deep. Today, only one out of four tower remained, now housing the Museum of the Kaunas Castle, and around the former fortress stretch Santakos parkas (walking areas).
The skyline of Kaunas is dominated by a huge Church of the Resurrection. It stands on the Mount Green, which summit can be reached by a cable car. Relatively young building has already a lot of experience. During World War II it was converted into radio factory, and its tower served as the radio station mast. From the decade, the temple holds concerts of choral and organ music. In the middle of the church tower there’s a vantage point. You can get there by stairs or by lift.
Kaunas main square decoration is the largest Gothic church in Lithuania - a beautiful cathedral basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. Slender temple, built of red brick attracts the eye both from the outside, as well as with its rich interior. Particularly impressive is an eighteenth-century main altar, numerous paintings and ceiling in the chancel.
Another sacred monuments of the main square are: the Gothic-Renaissance church of St. Trinity and the Massalski Palace with the late Renaissance façade. Tourists’ attention is also drawn to town hall, which is called "white swan" by the locals, because of its beauty. Its slender tower has seven floors. For more than 30 years, the building of the town hall is the seat of the palace weddings. It also houses the Museum of Ceramics.
Religion and paganism
Near the square there’s the oldest Catholic church of Lithuania – the Church of the Assumption. Founded by the Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas, bears his name. It was rebuilt several times in the past, served as the church as well as military barracks.
In the immediate vicinity of the Vytautas church there’s Perkuno namai, meaning "Perkuno House". It’s a Gothic Hanseatic building with a rather amazing appearance. The eyes are focused particularly on decorative top of the facade. It’s an example of late Gothic, which is very rare in this area. It owes the common name to the legend - supposedly the temple of Perkuno stood here in the past.
Camping in Kaunas
On the outskirts of Kaunas there’s Kaunas City Camping. Parking place for motorhome costs 8.6 euros per night - the price includes parking place, access to showers and electricity. Overnight stay for an adult costs 3.4 euros. You can come here with pets (which costs 3.4 euros).
The campsite is located on the lake, and you can find bus stops in its immediate vicinity. You can get by them to the city center.
In comparison with Vilnius Kaunas isn’t as beautiful or as rich in monuments, but is remarkable without a doubt. Both because of the wealth of churches, as well as the beauty of nature inextricably interwoven with the city. Before leaving you should follow footsteps of the bard and go for a walk to the park Ąžuolynas. Here you will find not only Mickiewicz Valley, but also a zoo.
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