In the 19th century, prisons were installed in Vilnius’ former monasteries where prisoners had to do hard labour. But there was too little space for prisoners, and besides, punishments had changed. Thus, the city needed a new prison.
The new Lukiškės Prison complex was modern and served the functions of imprisonment and punishment, work, prayer, healthcare and administrative duties. The first inmates were brought there on 26 June 1904. The prison did not lose its function either during both world wars, nor the Soviet period and the restoration of Lithuania’s independence – the last inmates were moved from the prison in 2019.
The Lukiškės Prison complex buildings were used to imprison criminal offenders, political prisoners and people who escaped exile. When passing by, the eye is attracted to Saint Nicholas’ Orthodox Church. In those days, the road to reformation was based on faith; for this reason, a big space was allocated to the church, which was decorated with paintings, carpets and icons made by famous painters.
Not long ago, you wouldn’t have been able to get into the building, which was fenced-off. However, the situation has since changed. The premises of the former prison now attract foreign film productions and advertisers for its architecture – season four of the famous Netflix series Stranger Things was filmed here.