The Best Travel Guide to Kaunas
Provided by: K. Mikalauskas
Section in Kaunas
Do & See
Visit! The remarkable Old Town which is a collection of ancient architectural monuments: the remnants of the 14th century with remains of Kaunas castle, the buildings of the Middle Ages in the Gothic and the Art Déco styles. The Kaunas Fortress is a valuable military heritage composed of a number of constructions that used to be a military complex. There are nine Forts around the city and the IXth Fort serves a museum. The macabre collection of nearly 3,000 devils at the Devils' Museum and the exhibitions showing the unique artistic styles of composer and painter M. K. Ciurlionis, as well as J. Maciunas initiator of the avant-garde Fluxus art movement.

Boat trips

The sailing season is from May until the first week of November. Regular routes: Kaunas Old Town and its vicinities by the rivers Nemunas and Neris. Duration 1.2 h. Departure from Old Town Pier of Kaunas, near the Church of Vytautas The Great. Ticket prices: 6 EUR, senior - 5 EUR, Family ticket (2+2) -15 EUR. Children up to 5 years old travel free of charge. Timetable: II-V 16.00-17.20 18.00-19.20 Trip Kaunas - Raudondvaris - Kaunas (visit in Raudondvaris manor). Duration 5 h. Departure from Old Town Pier of Kaunas, near the Church of Vytautas The Great. Timetable: VII (Sundays) 12.30 - 17.30 Ticket prices: 15 EUR /14 EUR, Family ticket (2+2) 42 EUR. Children up to 5 years old travel free of charge (at least 10 persons to depart). Trip Kaunas - Kačerginė-Kaunas sailing river Nemunas. Duration 5 h. Departure from Old Town Pier of Kaunas, near the Church of Vytautas The Great. Timetable: VI (Saturdays) 11.30-16.30 Ticket prices: adult-15 EUR, senior-14EUR, youth from 6 up to 12 years old-8EUR, family ticket (2+2)- 42 EUR, children up to 5 years old travel free of charge.
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Town Hall and Town Hall Square – (Rotušės Aikštė)

Town Hall is distinguished by its slenderness and grace; it is often called The White Swan. Its tower of height of 53 meters is the highest in the old city. Present Town Hall located in the square was not the first in Kaunas. The previous one was destroyed by the fire. New Town Hall started to be built in the marketplace centre in 1542. Wax melting furnaces of the 15th century were discovered near the tower in 1973. Since 2002, one of the furnaces is exposed in the paving. Town Hall houses Kaunas City Museum. It represents the history of Kaunas, shows political and cultural life and tells the visitors the most important and interesting facts about the city.
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The ensemble of Pažaislis buildings and Camaldolli abbey

It ranks among the most beautiful Baroque-style buildings in Lithuania. Also called Baroque pearl, is one of the most wonderful masterpieces of late Baroque architecture in North Eastern Europe. The church and abbey were built for Camaldolese (Benedictine) monks in the 17th century under the supervision of Italian masters from Florence (Michelangelo Palloni, Joan Merli, and Pietro Perti). About 140 frescoes of various sizes survived in the buildings of the monastery ensemble. You can see a famous painting the Mother of Fair Love in the monastery, which was presented to Kristupas Zigmantas Pacas, the founder of Pažaislis Church, by Pope Alexander VII in 1661. There is a museum in Pažaislis Monastery and next to it, a unique Hospitality complex “Monte Pacis” where one may taste historical dishes of nuns with modern interpretations. Distance from the city centre 10 km. Interesting! The beauty of the Abbey was well known in Europe, thus the Abbey was visited by King of Sweden Karol XII and Tsars Alexander I and Nikolaj I. The latter was so delighted by the beauty of the church that he assigned 130 thousands roubles for its reconstruction to the Provoslav one.
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Kaunas city tour

Working days: III - VI Tour starts from: 1. TOWN HALL 10:00, 11:20, 12:40*, 15:00, 16:10 2. PARK INN HOTEL 10:10, 11:30, 12:50*, 15:10 3. DEVIL'S MUSEUM 10:15, 11:35, 12:55*, 15:15 4. KAUNAS HOTEL 10:20, 11:40, 13:00*, 15:20 * Tour to PAŽAISIS MONASTERY with audio guide. DURATION 2.20 h. VII - I Tour starts from: 1. TOWN HALL 10:00, 11:20, 12:40*, 15:00, 16:10 2. PARK INN HOTEL 10:10, 11:30, 12:50*, 15:10 3. DEVIL'S MUSEUM 10:15, 11:35, 12:55*, 15.15 4. KAUNAS HOTEL 10:20, 11:40, 13:00*, 15:20 *Tour with PAŽAISLIS Monastery. •Tour duration 2 h 20 min. •1 hour free time in PAŽAISLIS. •Tickets to the Pažaislis Monastery Museum are not included in the tour price. Languages: English, Russian, Lithuanian, German, Norwegian, Swedish. VII Tour starts from: 1. TOWN HALL 10:00, 11:20, 12:40, 14:20, 15:40 2. PARK INN HOTEL 10:10, 11:30, 12:50**, 14:30, 15:50 3. DEVIL'S MUSEUM 10:15, 11:35, 12:55**, 14:35, 15.55 4. KAUNAS HOTEL 10:20, 11:40, 13:00**, 14:40, 16:00 **30 min. stop at TOWN HALL SQUARE during this tour. Duration: 1.10 h. Languages: English, Russian, Lithuanian, French, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish.
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Kaunas Castle

Supposedly, the first brick castle at the confluence of the rivers the Nemunas and the Neris was built at the 14th century when the attacks of Teutonic Order began. The castle was fence-type, without towers, it had double walls from stones and bricks from the outside. This defensive castle framed a powerful barrier and the knights did not resolve to attack the castle for decades, thus they used to bypass Kaunas in war marches. However, the castle of Kaunas was strongly broken down by a flood of the river Neris. Both northern towers and more than a half of the castle walls were blown down after the water wash.
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Aleksotas funicular

Aleksotas funicular This unique mean of transportation was built in 1935. Authentic traction equipment, which has functioned for more than seventy years, is still in use today, including the genuine pre-war wagon, wooden seats, and stop platforms. Even today the funicular takes people up the Aleksotas hill, from which the panorama of the Kaunas city centre and Old town is wide open. Kaunas is the only city among Baltic States, where such means of transportation is available.
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Žaliakalnis funicular

It is the oldest funicular in Lithuania and was constructed by the engineering office Curt Rudolph Transportanlagen from Dresden, Germany with electric equipment from "AEG" and mechanical parts from Bell Maschinenfabrik, Switzerland. The official opening was on 5th of August in 1931 with one passenger car, while the second car was only a platform ballasted with stones used to counterbalance the passenger car. Kaunas is the only city in Lithuania with this type of transport. In the residential district of Žaliakalnis these "climbing cars" serve both as a means of transport and entertainment. Žaliakalnis funicular provides an easy way of reaching the Resurrection Church from the city centre.
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The Wooden Architecture of Kaunas

“Lithuania has something to show to the world. One of the wonders is wooden architecture.” Gilles Vuillard The tradition of wood construction was widespread in Lithuania. Many old rural homes and wooden church have been studied. Trees were a popular building material in interwar Kaunas because masonry construction costs were too high for many home owners. Today the wooden architecture of the city is perceived as an aesthetic and ethical value. Wooden architecture experts see the value of the houses; they discover it on the educational tours of Žaliakalnis, Panemunė, Šančiai, and Vilijampolė as well. For heritage lovers, the intrinsic value of wooden houses is indisputable. Without these houses the city would lose a very important part of its cultural identity. Unfortunately, only a small portion of the inter-war wooden houses passed the test of time and resisted the social and economic temptations, but they keep alive the interwar Kaunas suburban spirit.
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M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art

Named after Lithuania’s most prominent artist and composer, this gallery displays the largest collection of Lithuanian art. The museum collections: works by M. K. Čiurlionis and his memorabilia, Lithuanian folk art, 17th-20th century fine and applied art, Ancient Egypt art, foreign fine and applied art, numismatics. Archives of folk art of Lithuania. INTERESTING: Kaunas is the city related to creation of M.K. Čiurlionis, the Lithuanian genius artist, composer and painter of the worldwide importance. Oeuvre of M.K. Čiurlionis, one of the grand and characteristic representatives of the Art Nouveau, a progenitor of modern art in Lithuanian and the father of modernism, is housed in the art gallery named after him. In the exposition of his paintings M.K. Čiurlionis is revealed as a lyric symbolist, esoteric and “magic” artist. The gallery also aims to introduce music of M.K. Čiurlionis to the visitors.
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Architecture. Modernism

Modernism ideas which spread fast among most countries of the Western World after World War I soon emerged in Lithuania as well. In 1920 when Poland occupied Vilnius, Kaunas became the capital of the independent Republic of Lithuania (1920–1939) and the most important Lithuanian city. As the economy was growing, it was sought to make the capital a modern European city. Lithuanian architects started to design and build houses in the style of modernism, in German called the Bauhaus, which was avant-garde in Europe and the USA at that time. Up to the present day Kaunas is probably the only city in the world where so many buildings of this style were built and have remained intact. Each of the architects who created here had their own individual style which was distinguished for different modern variations. These variations included historical elements, a search for national style or just attempts to convey the main modernism principles. The European Commission officially confirmed that Kaunas, famous for its unique modernist architecture of the interwar period, is awarded the European Heritage Label. Buildings: Officers Club Ramovė (A. Mickevičiaus g. 19), Architects: Stasys Kudokas, Elmar Lohk, Herbert Johanson, Vladimiras Dubeneckis, Jonas Kriščiukaitis, Kazys Kriščiukaitis, Mykolas Songaila, Jonas Kova-Kovalskis; Central Post Office (Laisvės al. 102), Architect: Feliksas Vizbaras; Kaunas City Municipality (Laisvės al. 96), Architects: Arnas Funkas, Bronius Elsbergas; Vytautas the Great Military Museum (K. Donelaičio g. 64), Architects: Vladimiras Dubeneckis, Karolis Reisonas, Kazimieras Kriščiukaitis; M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art (V. Putvinskio g. 55); Christ's Resurrection Church (Aukštaičių g.4), Architect: Karolis Reisonas; Firehouse (I. Kanto g. 1), Architects: Edmundas Alfonsas Frykas, Pranas Markūnas. The best way to discover it is of course on foot. There's a great guide to help you to do that and it fits right into your smartphone, the app named 'Kaunas of 1919-1940' and and audio guide Pocket Guide Kaunas.
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Devil's Museum

The most unusual collection of devils in the world. The Devils' museum, as the name suggests is the museum where all the devils are housed. With three floors and over two thousand exhibits of devils of various sizes, shapes, colours and materials, this is a very amazing museum that boasts of having the largest collection of devils in a single place in the whole world. A large part of the collection comes from the personal collector named Antanas Žmuidzinavičius and it is present on the first floor of the Devils' museum.
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Sugihara house

Sugihara house was a Japanese consulate in 1939-1940 where a famous Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara have been working. This diplomat became famous when he saved the lives of about 10,000 Lithuanian, Polish and German Jews during the years of World War II. He issued “life visas” to Japan without any official approval of Japanese Government. Many Jews called the gates which once were next to the house the “gates of hope”. On 2 August 1940 all foreign consulates in Lithuania were closed; however, the Japanese consulate moved to the accommodation of the Kaunas restaurant Metropolis and continued to issue visas. Even before leaving Lithuania and sitting at the table on the railway platform Sugihara managed to issue several tens of visas. In 1999 the museum was founded by the efforts of Lithuanian and Belgian intellectuals and businessmen, seeking to commemorate the Japanese diplomat. The museum exhibits Chiune Sugihara’s life moments and stories of his saved people and their relatives who live all over the world.
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Museum of the Ninth (IX) Fort of Kaunas

In 1959, the museum was opened here, and in 1984, the memorial was completed. It consists of the administration building, a new museum, the old fort with its wards and tunnels, and the monument to the 9th fort victims close to the field of death. The monument is 30 m tall. The museum contains collections of genocide and holocaust, executed during Soviet's and Hitler's occupation, also are accumulated and protected historic materials of Kaunas strong hold and 9th Fort.
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Christ's Resurrection church

It started to be built in 1932 under the project of the architect K. Reisonas. The church is assumed to be the symbol of the Lithuanian independence. It was built from the contributions of people. When Lithuania lost its independence, the construction was already ending, however, there was no interior and the outside was not daubed. In 1940, the church was confiscated, and machine shop of the Radio factory was founded in 1952. In 1989, the building was returned to religious community and after 70 years from the construction beginning the church was sanctified on December 24th in 2004. Visitors have the possibility to go to the observation deck on the church roof to enjoy the panoramic view of the city.
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The Historical Presidential Palace

The building was constructed in 1860. In 1876, the czarist government bought it and established the residence of the governor. When Lithuanian Independence was restored and Kaunas became the provisional capital of Lithuania, this building from 1919 to 1940 was the Presidential Palace of the Republic of Lithuania. Presidents of Lithuania A. Smetona, K. Grinius and A. Stulginskis used to live and work in this palace. Today the Historical Presidential Palace of the Republic of Lithuania in Kaunas functions as a memorial-educational institution of Lithuanian modern statehood. The permanent exposition at the Palace reflects the history of the First Republic of Lithuania (1918 – 1940). Periodic temporary exhibitions commemorate outstanding historical figures and events.
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