Most possibly the churchyard of Vytautas the Great church contained the oldest cemetery in Kaunas. Reviewing the graves which were discovered randomly during construction work, pagan traditions were noted: in a grave located partially under the foundation of the church an iron knife was found. Such finds are extremely widespread in pagan burials, and are found in Christian burials as well. This circumstance allows the presumption that the cemetery existed before the construction of the church. The burials in the churchyard continued for a long time, probably until the end of the 18th century when a new cemetery was established outside the town wall in 1796, and the Tsarist government banned burials in the churchyards of towns. The churchyard was reorganised in the middle of the 19th century, when the stone riverfront with driveways was built in 1853. The old town maps indicate that until the middle of the 19th century the churchyard and cemetery extended for a much larger area – from the southern church wall to the river.