Pažaislis Abbey Ensemble - a hidden gem of Camaldolese monks

Monika Grinevičiūtė | Live the World

November 23, 2022

A stunning Baroque architecture, Giovanni Battista Frediani's design with moldings of Lombardy’ craftsmen and frescoes of Mikelios Arkangelo Palonio - that's Pažaislis Abbey Ensemble, a hidden gem of Camaldolese monk. Standing in the middle of a forest, this shrine keeps the legends and secrets from the 17th century.

Picture © Credits to Krivinis

A stunning architecture

The story starts in the 17th century, when the Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania - Kristupas Žygimantas Pacas built a sanctuary for the Camaldolese monks near the city of Kaunas, in the thick forest at that time. There are a lot of legends around why Žygimantas Pacas had built it. Nobody knows the truth. Some stories are saying that he built it because he made a sin and had a baby with his daughter, who was so similar to his dead wife. Other stories are telling that Žygimantas saved the land because in that place, where shrine is standing, there was a forest full of devils. But the most important thing about Pažaislis Monastery's founder is that he had a perfect taste for arts and architecture. He had invited the best Italian masters to build and decorate this shrine. The hexagon church plan and a concave facade were used here for the first time in Europe. Moreover, the monastery has 140 frescoes painted by Michelangelo A. Palloni, also* therethe you can find the painting of Mary Belle Mother and Child *and the oldest church clock tower in Lithuania.

Picture © Credits to DAVID ILIFF

Camaldolese monks and historical wings

Pažaislis Abbey was built for the Camaldolese monks, as they liked to be more closed from the outside world. At that time, when the monks were living in the Pažaislis, the outsiders were creating the legends about them and telling stories that monks never talk to each other and sleep in the graves with pillows from the stones. Of course, those stories are just creepy legends of people who didn't know about the daily routine in the abbey. Going through the history, the abbey has survived the World Wars and the Soviet Occupation, just with some consequences. During the Soviet Eran the Pažaislis Abbey Ensemble was completely closed for some time. Later on, it was used as a psychiatric hospital, national archive and a tourist camp. In 1992, the sisters of Casimir's Congregation returned to Pažaislis and till now they take care of the monastery's ensemble.

Also, near the Pažaislis Abbey, there is a hospitality complex Monte Pacis, and they are offering the best gastronomical masterpieces and the latest trends from all over the world.

Picture © Credits to Wojsyl

Pazaislis Music festival

Every summer, for already 23 years, the Pažaislis Music Festival is coming back to Pažaislis Abbey Ensemble and other parts of Lithuania. Starting from June till September, numerous concerts and performances are held not only in the abbey but Kaunas regional as well. Pažaislis is becoming full of world-class music and musicians, the virtuouses from all over the world.

Picture © Credits to wrangel

Pažaislis Abbey Ensemble - the hidden gem of Camaldolese monks is a must-see place with stunning Baroque style architecture and outstanding surroundings. Whether you are going along the Panemunė road or just visiting Kaunas, you need to look for this shrine and feel its aura.

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