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Europe is certainly not lacking when it comes to gorgeous cathedrals. The continent is replete with architectural and historical gems that will stand out in your memory months after you've returned home. While buildings in tourist hotspots such as Venice and London get a fair amount of attention, the structures in the Baltics are often less-known, but anybody who has seen Vilnius Cathedral during a tour of Lithuania can attest they are just as impressive.
A lengthy history
The religious hub of Lithuania, Vilnius Cathedral dates as far back as 1419 and has been a central landmark in the country ever since. Though it has undergone many changes in the ensuing centuries, it has remained of one of the most iconic structures in the country. In fact, it is the final resting place of many of the most important figures in Lithuanian and Polish history such as Vytautas, who ruled Medieval Lithuania for more than 35 years.
Striking architecture and compelling artwork
The first thing you're sure to notice is the Cathedral's seemingly out of place architecture. With its pristine white columns, it seems like it has come straight out of ancient Greece. Yet, while it's outward appearance is among its most recognizable features, once you get inside you'll notice the full appeal of the cathedral. For starters, both the walls and roof are adorned with intricately designed sculptures, which adds an alluring artistic aspect to the church. While the sculptures are impressive, you'll also be struck by the number of frescos and other artwork spread throughout the cathedral.
Visit the surrounding area
While the cathedral is undoubtedly the most iconic part of Vilnius, the square just outside the building has plenty to offer in its own right. For instance, Vilnius' Old Town is the perfect place for architecture buffs, as the historical hub of the town features some of the most compelling architecture you'll find in Europe. Highlights include the Baroque Slushko Palace and Gothic St. Anne's Church.
Transition to other countries
One of the most attractive aspects of Baltics tours is the ability to move to one of several countries relatively easily. After exploring Vilnius, you may want to head toward the beautiful city of Riga, the capital of Latvia, to experience its world-class performing arts scene.
Look down in wonder at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral from your glass-walled pod on the London Eye, then gaze out over the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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