History and mystery in Vilnius Cathedral Square: Crypts

Monika Grinevičiūtė | Live the World

November 23, 2022

I don't know about you, but when in some stories I hear the word “crypts”, it can not be more interesting and mysterious. The same goes for the Vilnius Cathedral Crypts - it is a heaven for the archaeologists and history lovers. An invisible part of the Cathedral** is hiding many secrets and treasures from the earliest times of Vilnius. The exhibition of the Vilnius Cathedral Crypts introduces you to the Lithuanian funerary traditions from the earliest times and archaeological findings. So, passionate archaeologists and crypts lovers, keep reading the interesting and mysterious history about the Vilnius Cathedral Crypts.**

Picture © Credits to RomanBabakin

The history

Like the Bell tower, the Vilnius Crypts also have an interesting history. Let’s begin with the fact that Lithuania was the last country in whole Europe that accepted the Christianity, so the Vilnius Cathedral with its crypts was built as a symbol of the Lithuanians christening. The main purpose of the crypts was to be a funeral place for the Church and Lithuanian Grand Duchy noble people. The floor of the Cathedral was renewed 12 times during its history, and the first floor is around 2,7 meters deep. Sounds interesting, right? One more amazing fact is that under the Cathedral, there are 27 various size and depth crypts, in the 20 of them the most famous Lithuanian people and dukes were buried. The Cathedral underground has several types of crypts - Kings Crypt, Chapel Crypt, and Bishop’s Crypt. The most spacious and most picturesque crypt is the Chapel Crypt.

The mystery

The biggest mystery of the crypts, in my opinion, is the story about the relics of Vytautas the Great, who was one of the coolest guys in our history, and just because of him, in the 15th century, Lithuania was the biggest country in whole Europe! So, after his death (he died after he fell from his steed) his relics were tombed into the Cathedral Crypts. Of course, during the history and all the wars, the crypts were suffering from the fires and thieves, and till today nobody knows where exactly the relics of Vytautas the Great are. But there are the legends, that the relics are hidden in the various parts and spaces of the Cathedral. And also, there are dozens of legends about all the treasures hidden in the crypts during the wars and people who never came to take it back.

Useful information

The crypts are open for everyone just with a suite of the guide. The English speaking tours are held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 4 PM, and the ticket prices are 4,5 € for the regular ticket, 2,5 € for students, school-age children and seniors.

As you see, the Vilnius Cathedral Square has many interesting stories and objects - from the Bell Tower till the hidden underground Crypts, with the relics of famous people and mysterious history around them.

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