The Minor Basilica of the Visitation of the Holy Virgin Mary, built on the Samogitian Calvary, is renowned for its transitional Baroque to Neo-Classical architectural style. The towers of the basilica have been renovated and rebuilt a few times, and some of the altars are identified as Neo-Baroque in their styling. The present day Minor Basilica of the Visitation of the Holy Virgin Mary is the fourth to have been built in the Samogitian town of Kalvarija.
The building of the church began in 1780, funded by contributions of the faithful, and was finished in 1822. On the 7th July of the same year, the first formal Holy Mass was held by the Holy Cross during the great parish festival. The church was designed by the architect Augustinas Kosakauskas.
In 1896, a serious fire damaged the church – hundreds of documents and books were destroyed, with the book recording the miracles that took place in the Samogitian Calvary amongst them. Two church bells were damaged during WWI, and then during WWII Soviet soldiers established their base there. During the era of the Soviet occupation, the building was renovated a number of times.
On 6th May 1988, Pope John Paul II granted the title of basilica to the church. On the 8th of October 2006, the miraculous painting of the Mother of God with Child was crowned by Pope Benedict XVI with sanctified crowns, and it was given the title of the Queen of Families.
- Audio guide (1.5 MB )