Once forming part of the city’s original defensive walls and constructed on the site of an earlier wooden church dating from the middle of the 15th century at the behest of an order of Bernadine monks, the current vast Gothic church with Baroque and Renaissance additions dates from the early part of the 16th century onwards. As the old photographs on display show, the church interior was truly breathtaking before the Soviet authorities took control of the building, handing it over to the Vilnius Art Institute who among other things allegedly incorporated parts of the interior into the works of art the academy was producing. Returned to the monks soon after independence, a mammoth restoration project continues to this day. Current highlights include 14 magnificent rococo altars and the oldest known crucifix in the country, dating from the 15th century. The neighbouring monastery is the oldest part of the ensemble. Once famed for its extensive library and independent-minded monks, the monastery was closed soon after the failed Uprising of 1863 and turned into a barracks for tsarist troops before falling into the hands of the city’s Art Academy at the end of WWI. The building now houses the Vilnius Art Academy.