Church of the Holy Spirit (Sventosios Dvasios Baznycia)
The ornate Church of the Holy Spirit (Sventosios Dvasios Baznycia is lavish compared to many of the other churches in Vilnius, with its baroque and rococo detailing, and decorative interior. Marvel at frescoes, reliquaries, and the incredible 18th-century organ. This free destination is a worthwhile stop on a tour of the Old Town.
The Church of the Holy Spirit features 16 different altars, and a storied history dating back centuries. Over the years, this space has served as a Dominican monastery, a Catholic church, and even a prison. Today the workshop space is a parish church serving the city's Polish diaspora.
You can visit this 15th-century church for free, or join for mass in Polish. Plan to pair a visit with stops around the Old Town, including Vilnius University, the Gate of Dawn, and the city's 16th-century defensive walls. The marker denoting where the Great Synagogue of Vilnius once stood—a key part of the city's Jewish history—is located just down the block.
Things to know before you go
- Design fans may appreciate the updated facade created by 18th-century architect Jonas Kristupas Glaubicas, who was tasked with restoring the church after a fire.
- Keep an eye out for the colorful interior details, like gilding, coats of arms, and carved pews.
- Music fans shouldn't miss the church's original Casparini organ.
How to get there
The Church of the Holy Spirit is located in the Vilnius Old Town, which is included on most Vilnius city tours and is easily accessible by bus. You can take the 89 bus to the Vokiečių Street stop. It's about a 5-minute walk from the stop to the church.
When to get there
The church is open daily and holds later hours in the summer months. Since this active worship space holds mass for parishioners, the church is typically busiest during services. Monday through Saturday, service is held twice daily. On Sundays, services are held throughout the day. You can visit in the middle of the day, during the week, to avoid mass.
Exploring the Sights in Old Town Vilnius
Beyond the Church of the Holy Spirit, it's worth spending some time wandering the streets of the Old Town. You can walk by the 16th-century defensive walls, stop into the Chapel of Our Lady of the Dawn to see its famed Madonna portrait, and visit Cathedral Square. From there, it's a quick walk across the river to Užupis—an artsy district with cafés and restaurants—or you can hop on the funicular to visit Gediminas Castle Tower.
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- Gate of Dawn (Ausros Vartai)
- Bastion of the Vilnius Defensive Wall (Vilniaus Gynybines Sienos Basteja)
- Vilnius Old Town (Vilniaus Senamiestis)
- Vilnil Museum of Illusions
- Vilnius University (Vilniaus Universitetas)
- Amber Museum-Gallery (Gintaro Muziejus-Galerija)
- Bernardine Church (Bernardinu Parapija)
- St. Anne's Church
- Presidential Palace
- Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (National Museum)
- Vilnius Cathedral (Arkikatedra Bazilika)
- Money Museum (Pinigu Muziejaus)
- Gediminas Castle Tower (Gedimino Pilies Bokstas)
- National Museum of Lithuania, New Arsenal