The church of St Anne is a masterpiece of the late Gothic period. There is no nonsensus about its originator or its construction period. Popular legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte, who was fascinated by the beauty of the church, wanted to take it back to Paris in the palm of his hand. Unfortunately, the reality is not that romantic: during the march of the Napoleonic army through Lithuania, the church was consigned to the French cavalry forces. However, Napoleon did mention in a letter to his wife that „Vilnius is a very beautiful city“.
St Anne’s Church, which has survived to the present day without changing for over 500 years, has become a symbol of Vilnius. At a closer look, one can see the letters A and M in the main facade of St Anne‘s. The letters A and M could stand for the Latin Ana Mater Maria or Ave Maria, i.e. „Saint Anne – Mother of Mary“ or „Hail Mary“. Some experts claim that the Pillars of Gediminas have been highlighted in the composition of the facade with the three towers of the church corresponding to the three pillars.
Next to the church there is a bell tower initating the Gothic style and built in the 19th century.