Next to the cathedral on the edge of the main square (Katedros aikštė) is the impressive 52 m high bell tower (Varpinė). Although the square was only created in the 19c when the cathedral was being refurbished, replacing old houses, some dating back to the middle ages, the bell tower was one of the original towers forming the city walls and part of the lower castle.
There is also a story that in the base of the tower was a small pagan temple dedicated to Perkūnas which was demolished to form the base of the bell tower. Whatever the truth the lower parts of the tower are mediaeval with the oldest underground section, built on the river bed, dating back to the 13c. Upper parts of the tower were added in the 18c and again in the 19 c. You can see the original city layout in one of the rooms in the Castle.
On subsequent visits the tower always looked impressive – in all weathers.
Now more work is being carried out. I was told by locals that they were planning to open it to the public.
If it is to be opened to the public it will be a popular place to visit, especially if you like taking photographs!
And it would be interesting to see the 17c clock, which keeps perfect time, at close quarters – although it would be noisy when the bells are pealing.