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The cathedral and castle

Occupying the northeastern shoulder of the square, the red-brick tower of Kaunas’s austere cathedral stands at the western end of Vilniaus gatvė. Dating back to the reign of Vytautas the Great, the cathedral was much added to in subsequent centuries. After the plain exterior, the lavish gilt-and-marble interior comes as a surprise; the large, statue-adorned Baroque high altar (1775) steals the limelight. Predating the cathedral by several centuries is Kaunas Castle, whose scant remains survive just northwest of the square. Little more than a restored tower and a couple of sections of wall are left, with temporary art exhibitions inside, but in its day the fortification was a major obstacle to the Teutonic Knights.