Kaunas, the second largest Lithuania‘s city, which keeps the authentic spirit of the country‘s national character alive. The city is located at the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers, surrounded by the hills and situated at the crossroads of the most important roads in Lithuania. Due to its geographical position, today, Kaunas is Lithuania‘s most important center of communication.
It is a home of a variety of festivals & events, from operettas to modern dance, from classical music to Jazz. Kaunas was chosen as the European Capital of Culture 2022. And as a Capital of Culture 2022 Kaunas is changing: from the TEMPORARY CAPITAL to CONTEMPORARY. The city is famous for its Interwar architecture which was awarded the European Heritage label and is on its way to UNESCO. Kaunas is the only city in the world where so much of the style of the buildings has survived to the present day.
Kaunas is colorful city, famous by its street art, with probably the only square in the world that you can‘t get into – George Maciunas square, inspired by FLUXUS movement.
Kaunas is not only a city of old traditions, but also a large centre of business and industry. It can also lay claim to be a city of young people with over 35,000 students (the largest number in Lithuania). For business and investors, the city offers friendly, open, and creative space for partnerships and cooperation.
Green streets, tree–lined avenues and wide–open squares create surroundings to match everybody’s moods. Kaunas is proud of its great number of museums, theatres, universities, colleges, fine hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars.
KAUNAS INTERWAR MODERN ARCHITECTURE
The interwar architecture is a Kaunas city icon. The city became Lithuania‘s centre in the first part of the twentieth century and is still modern and forward-thinking.
Kaunas interwar architecture accumulated over 20 years, its dense concentration in the city is a unique phenomenon in Europe; in the context of international modernism it reflects both the then Bauhaus style trends and unique style of Lithuanian nationalism which distinguishes a modern, highquality Kaunas interwar architecture from the European mainstream. Kaunas is the only city in the world where so much of the style of the buildings has survived to the present day.
The castle at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers was built in the 14th century to defend against the onslaught of crusaders. This is not only one of the first stone castles in Lithuania, but also the only one that has two rows of defensive walls. A settlement that grew into the current city was created around the Gothic defences. Kaunas castle first mentioned in written sources in 1361. According to legend, Queen Bona Sforza’s troops mysteriously disappeared in the tunnels underneath. Although it was restored multiple times, the castle lost its importance in 1408 when Kaunas was granted Magdeburg rights and the life of the whole city moved to the Market (Town Hall) Square. The castle was home to a prison in the 16th century and the souls of the prison’s inmates have not found peace to this very day, haunting the castle still by night. At present, the castle is a Kaunas city museum branch and annual cultural events are held in and around it.
M.K. ČIURLIONIS NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ART
M.K. Čiurlionis was a globally recognized Lithuanian painter and composer. His creative period lasted only a little more than a decade, but during this time he managed to create more than 400 works of music and painted more than 300 pictures. The artistic ideas of romanticism, symbolism, and Art Nouveau are interlaced in the works of M. K. Čiurlionis. The museum contains the creative legacy of the most famous Lithuanian composer and painter, M. K. Čiurlionis, Lithuanian folk art and artistic life in Lithuania archives, 15th-20th century Lithuanian fine and applied art, foreign fine and applied art, arts of the ancient world, as well as numismatics. Today, together with M. K. Čiurlionis museum, the Military Museum is located in the same building, only on the opposite side.
KAUNAS TOWN HALL AND SQUARE
Kaunas was granted the Magdeburg rights in 1408, which meant the city could have self-government and control of trade. The marketplace and elected government (magistrate) headquarters comprised the nucleus of the city. The main trade route went through the current Town Hall Square; there was a market, too. Merchants’ families stayed around this square, building houses and setting up shop. When the city joined the Hanseatic League, the square became even more important because it operated as a commercial centre for the city and the surrounding area. The most important building in the Town Hall Square is Town Hall. Construction began in 1542. The stately building is filled with a Gothic, Baroque, and early classicist spirit; at all, slender tower like a swan’s neck sprouts in the sky the main facade. Town Hall is often referred to as the White Swan because of its shape and colour. Currently, the Town Hall holds ceremonies and official events. At the town hall entrance you can see a unique 15th century wax melting furnace. Kaunas City Museum is located in the Town Hall (www.kaunomuziejus.lt).
This is one of the most beautiful ba roque ensembles in Lithuania. It was built in the 17th century for the Camaldolese Monastery under the supervision of craftsmen from Florence (Michelangelo Palloni, Joan Merli, Pietro Perti). The beauty of the monastery was wellknown in Europe. Swedish king Charles XII, as well as the Russian Emperors Alexander I and Nicholas I visited the monastery. International Pažaislis music festivals take place here every summer since 1996. In the southern part of the complex is a monastery officina where you will find an open sacred Pažaislis monastery ensemble museum, and next to it a unique hospitality complex is situated in “Monte Pacis“, where you can taste historic monastic dishes with modern interpretations.
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