Sacred Vilnius: Pilgrimage from the Gates of Dawn to Kalvarija Way of the Cross

At the Vilnius Picture Gallery and the Church Heritage Museum

Fragment of the exhibition. Photo by Gintarė Grigėnaitė

Vilnius Picture Gallery and Church Heritage Museum presents an exhibition Sacred Vilnius: Pilgrimage from the Gates of Dawn to Kalvarija Way of the Cross. This exhibition is part of the series of events dedicated to Vilnius by the Lithuanian National Museum of Art. This edition aims to reveal the sacred world of the city.


Fragment of the exhibition. Vilnius Picture Gallery. Photo by Gintarė Grigėnaitė

The theme of the sacred heritage in the Lithuanian capital is broad and embraces contributions by different religious confessions, yet the scope of this exhibition led to the decision to present, at this event, only the objects of Catholic heritage.


This two-part exhibition is hosted by two museums: the display of the Picture Gallery of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art deals with the iconographic features of the temples and shrines along the pilgrim route, while the Church Heritage Museum invites to see different pieces of art connected to these temples and chapels. These two displays are linked by the extant paintings from the chapels of Vilnius Calvary, part of which were thought to have been lost in the wake of the 1963 destruction.


The display of the works of art evokes the former charm of the landscape of Kalvarija and presents, to the public and even researchers of Christian art, the little-known pieces of sacred art, rescued from the blown-up chapels of Kalvarija, the Chapel of Šnipiškės, and other places.


With the aim to demonstrate the bond of Vilnius Calvary with the city, the display follows the ‘long’ pilgrim route as it emerges from historical sources, walked by pilgrims arriving into the city from some more remote locations. The usually started at the Gates of Dawn, stopped at the Chapel of the Holy Stairs next to the Church of St Francis and St Bernardino, then at the Chapel of Christ Carrying the Cross at Šnipiškės, and headed along the road, which with time took the name of Kalvarijų Street. Integrated into this progress are also centrally located extant and lost monuments of significance to Christian identity of Vilnius.


Vilnius Calvary is truly unique in aesthetic terms. The harmony of nature and architecture, and the symbolical and spiritual meanings emerging in the cultural landscape shaped by architectural and artistic means have attracted the attention of artists and photographers. The ensemble at Kalvarija and the tradition of pilgrimages to it was reflected in diverse works of art from the 19th and the 1st half of the 20th century: oil paintings, watercolours, prints, and photographs. Some photographers, like Johann Hiksa, Stanisław Fleury, Jan Bułhak, Bolesława and Edmund Zdanowscy have produced series of photographic views capturing the exceptional beauty of the place.


Fragment of the exhibition. Vilnius Picture Gallery. Photo by Gintarė Grigėnaitė


Exhibition curators: Rasa Adomaitienė, Rūta Janonienė, Sigita Maslauskaitė-Mažylienė

Project coordinators: Rasa Adomaitienė, Rita Pauliukevičiūtė

Organiser Lithuanian National Museum of Art

Main partner Church Heritage Museum

Exhibition architect Saulius Valius

Graphic designer Juozapas Švelnys

Sound designer Dominyka Adomaitytė

Video projections by Mindaugas Dudėnas, Vykintas Labanauskas



Supported by Archdiocese of Vilnius

The project is partially funded by



Visiting hours

Vilnius Picture Gallery
Tuesdays–Saturdays 11.00–18.00
Sundays 12.00–17.00

Church Heritage Museum
Tuesdays–Saturdays 11.00–18.00


The exhibition will be open until 4 July




-10€ ticket is valid in both exhibits at the Vilnius Picture Gallery as well as the Church Heritage Museum. 
-5€ ticket is valid only in Vilnius Picture Gallery (available for purchase at the Vilnius Picture Gallery).
-8€ ticket is valid only in the Church Heritage Museum exhibit (available for purchase at the Church Heritage Museum).

Full discount list for visitors at the Vilnius Picture Gallery (not applied for the 10€  ticket to both exhibits – the tickets may be purchased with a discount when visiting separate locations)



Current safety regulations require the visitors to wear face masks and maintaining social distance of at least 2 m. Please follow the instructions given by the museum personnel and the signage that is placed throughout the museum floor to help encourage proper social distancing. Don’t forget to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow before coughing or sneezing.

4 Didžioji st, Vilnius, Lithuania
+370 5 212 08 41; +370 5 212 4258