Laser Scanning St. Anne's Church in Vilnius, Lithuania

CyArk and Christofori und Partner Digitally Preserve Gothic Masterpiece

by Dirk Häusleigner
July 28, 2010
This post was written by Dirk Häusleigner of Christofori und Partner before departing for Vilnius. Dirk has worked on 3D laser scanning projects around the world, including several projects in the CyArk Archive. These include St. Sebald Church, The Stone Bridge of Regensburg, and Babylon.

We are very excited about this upcoming project of scanning the St. Anne church in Vilnius. The church is probably the most famous structure in Vilnius.

It is a masterpiece of late, Flamboyant Gothic architecture, nearly unsurpassed in the world. The brick church was designed by Benedikt Rejt and constructed on the initiative of Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander in 1495-1500.The church has survived into the present almost unchanged.

The church was renovated in 1902–1909 when the side arches were uncovered and the walls were strengthened with iron and again in 1960–1970 when the towers were in need of restoration.

It is a surprisingly light and graceful building. It is noted for a rhythmical composition of vertical and curved lines; no solid masonry is placed above the portal, only pilasters, quadrangular poles, arches and elegant towers. Bricks of 33 varieties were used for decoration.

Many legends are associated with St. Anne's Church. The most popular story is about Napoleon. It is said that upon seeing St. Anne's, Napoleon expressed the desire to place the church on the palm of his hand and carry it back to Paris. He was not able to do it in 1812, but now by laser scanning and modeling we will be able to bring the church not only to Paris, but everywhere thanks to the CyArk database.
We are excited to scan and model the beautiful church and fulfill the wish of Napoleon Bonaparte nearly 200 years later.

The church and the whole old town of Vilnius has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994, and bringing the church to the CyArk database also brings attention to the local media. Two Lithuanian newspapers have had big articles about CyArk and the laser scanning session in Vilnius. Also Thursday, 07/29, a press conference will be held about CyArk scanning the first heritage site in Lithuania, with the national tv-station reporting about our on-site field work.

The preparation work in our office is done and we are now starting our 20 hour ride to Lithuania.

We are looking forward to the work this week in Lithuania, and hope that we can provide you with good pictures and stories about our work and about the press conference.
Image of the facade of St. Anne's Church in Vilnius, Lithuania. <i> Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia user Juliux. </i>