Kaunas is the second largest city in Lithuania and a former temporary capital city of the country. Situated in the stunning scenery between the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers – Nemunas and Neris – it is a delight to Kaunas residents and guests. The city is a pleasure to the eyes with its cultural monuments, Gothic and Renaissance style buildings, and offers to take a break in the century-old oak parks.
Pedestrian streets for long walks
Culture lovers are attracted to Kaunas Old Town by theatres, various museums, while those eager for entertainment can go to different small shops, cosy cafes, or luxury restaurants. The maze of streets of the Old Town of Kaunas is beloved by Kaunas residents and visitors of the city, who go for a walk and talk here every day. Walking people in Kaunas is the usual thing to see, because the city boasts having the longest pedestrian zone in the Eastern Europe, which includes Laisvės alėja and Vilnius Street.
Vilnius Street is the main street of the Old Town. Life here is very vibrant: cosy outdoor cafes are full of outing people, abundance of shops and museums attracts the attention of tourists, while young people go in groups to concerts or parties. In addition, the historical Presidential Palace is also situated at Vilnius Street. It was a residence to as many as three Presidents of Lithuania, when Vilnius was occupied. The park in the backyard of the Presidential Palace has sculptures, immortalising the memory of presidents.
Another favourite place by Kaunas residents and guests for strolling is Laisvės Alėja. It is the longest pedestrian street in the whole Europe – 1.7 km. Laisvės Alėja connects Vilnius Street and magnificent Kaunas Cathedral, which image is visible from a distance and shines through the alley of more than 550 lime trees. In the centre of Laisvės Alėja you will find the famous Fountain of Freedom, a favourite meeting place of the city’s lovers.
Kaunas Town Hall – an eye-catching White Swan
One of the symbols in Kaunas is the City Hall in the Old Town, often referred to as the “White Swan”. This magnificent building is filled with the late Baroque, Classical and Gothic spirit, and the main facade features a tall, graceful tower like a swan’s neck.
Kaunas Town Hall commemorates a particularly interesting history. Here in the Middle Ages it experienced a full swing of the urban life. No less colourful life in the Town Hall is today: here you will often hear a wedding march, receptions of honourable guests, signing contracts, it is the place for official ceremonies; moreover, you can visit a museum in the basement and explore the ceramics exhibition.
The biggest sacred Gothic building in Lithuania
In the centre of Kaunas Old Town, very close to the Town Hall Square stands Kaunas Cathedral Basilica of Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, the largest sacral Gothic building in Lithuania. Perhaps none of Kaunas’ buildings has so much grandeur and solidity as this monumental temple, dating back with nearly 600 years of history.
The most important Basilica highlights: crystal dome covering the two-tier sacristy ceiling in the Late Gothic style and the largest organ in Lithuania, constructed in 1882. The Cathedral churchyard is a rest place for one of the most famous Lithuanian writers, Maironis.
House of Thunder on the old sanctuary
A Gothic gem of Kaunas Old Town, one of the most original buildings of this era in Lithuania is the House of Thunder, Perkūnas. The house was named after a brass statue of the pagan god of Thunder found in one of the many niches in the walls of the building. It was also believed that the house was built on the old temple for the god of Thunder.
It is said that this is the first brick house in Kaunas. There are even preserved 500-year-old Perkūnas home interior details that you can see for yourself if you will take time and visit this one of the most beautiful buildings in the Old Town of Kaunas full of romantic legends.