Vilnius has so many churches that it’s useless to keep them all open. This is why some of them serve other purposes: one is the Church Heritage Museum, another is a book depository of the National Library (photos) and they even turned one into a concert hall. But if you’re anything like me and are reluctant to see more than three churches in a city you visit, St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church should definitely make your list.
Come here when the church is open as there is nothing special about its façade. What you’ll find inside will be a treat to the eye: dating back to the 17th century, the ornaments are the work of Italian baroque artists whose names along with other historical facts are to be found on the information boards.
Notice how the altar is rather small and modest for a church like this. That’s because the original, which was just as magnificent as the church is, was made by Dutch craftsmen but sank together with the ship it was on and making a copy was too expensive.
Take a look up at the arch just over the entrance. The faces on it look scary – they’re sinners. Back in the day, if one could buy indulgence he would go inside the church. If someone couldn’t afford it, though, this arch was the furthest he was allowed to go. But with that order no longer in place, go in and enjoy the most beautiful church in Vilnius.