Saturday, June 13, 2009

St. Anne's Church

Hi! I'm Karolina and two my friends - Liza and Viktorija are from gymnasium 'Versmė'.

We are going to introduce St. Anne's Church. Vilnius is associated with numerous cathedrals and churches, representing practically all the known architectural styles. No other city in the Eastern Europe can boast of such a number of unique churches, situated on quite a small territory. But St. Anne's Church stands out from the variety of city's sacral building. It is considered to be the masterpiece of late Lithuanian gothic. The small church is situated in front of the Bernardine Church and forms with it a single architectural ensemble. The dominant of the ensemble is the elaborate principal facade of St. Anne's Church that has become a sort of visiting card for Vilnius. St. Anne's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Vilnius' Old Town, on the right bank of the Vilnia River. It is a prominent example of both Flamboyant Gothic and Brick Gothic styles. St. Anne's is among the features of Vilnius Old Town that enabled the district to be included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The St. Anne's Church is a monument of the Late Gothicism in Lithuania. It was built near the St. Bernardine Monastery in 1495 - 1500. According to arts historian D. Kačmažikas, the church was designed and built by Michael Enkinger. Pope Alexander VI issued an indulgence for the St. Anne's Church in 1501. The church lived through many terrible decades. It was destroyed and renovated, burned down and then rebuilt. Finally, in 1902 - 1909 the church was restored and in 1925 a parish was established. According to the design of an engineer Janina Bartkienė, the crumbling towers were strengthened in 1960 - 1970. The St. Anne's Church has one nave and is of light and graceful forms. The most valuable is the main façade of the church – unique in the Brick Gothicism architecture. Thirty-three types of bricks were used to build the façade. The façade of the church has the structure of a gothic basilica, with harmonious proportions, and plastically accomplished, which is unsurpassable in the Brick Gothicism of the whole Eastern Europe. Erected in the year 1394, the church that was made of wood was replaced with a structure made of bricks by the Franciscans in the year 1500. It was only after nearly eight years that the church seen today acquired its form and style. It is known that bricks of thirty-three different types were used in the construction of St. Anne’s Church Vilnius. Nikolaj Chagin, in the nineteenth century designed a belfry in the Neo-Gothic style and this was a much later addition. The interiors were also spruced up with the addition of a new choir and organ and metal strings were utilized to reinforce the façade. The story about Napoleon Bonaparte and St. Anne’s Church Tt is said Napoleon Bonaparte was enamored by the beauty of St. Anne’s Church Vilnius and wanted to take it to Paris with him in the palm of his own hand if it were ever possible. However, contradictory to this, it was he who used St. Anne’s Church Vilnius for the requirements of the French cavalry. Umpteen phials, metal gates, beautiful spires, innumerable arches, etc adorn the interior and exterior spaces of St. Anne’s Church Vilnius. It is said that the first church that was built of wood was actually constructed for Anna who was the wife of Vytautas the great. A fire in the year 1419 destroyed it and the church underwent the reconstruction and repair mentioned above. In the year 1970, the towers of St. Anne’s Church Vilnius were restored and the whole structure retained its red color due to the bricks that were used to build it.

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