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Vilnius - Lithuania heart

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania. This town is known as the largest and the finest town in the country. MORE

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Vilnius University

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Phone No.: +370 5 219 3029
Email: info@muziejus.vu.lt
Web Page:
Opening Hours: I–VI: 09.00-18.00
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1.50 €
The start of Vilnius University is thought to be the call of the Jesuits. They established Vilnius College in 1569, which was re-organized into the University in 1579 by the order of the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Stephen Batory. The University was influenced by the ideas of the Renaissance and Reformation of the Catholic Church. Vilnius University is one of the oldest in the Middle and Eastern Europe, only the Universities of Prague, Kraków, Pécs, Budapest, Bratislava, and Konigsberg are older. Vilnius University is the oldest and the most known in Lithuania, and the origin for almost all Lithuanian higher schools and universities.

Quite a few contemporaries in the first third of the 19th century observed that Vilnius University was at the same level with the most developed European universities not only when comparing quality of the studies, but also the influence they had on the society. The University was Alma Mater to many poets, cultural workers, and scientists.

Russian authorities closed the University after the Polish and Lithuanian rebellion in 1832 was suppressed. The same year marks the end of the old Vilnius University era.

The University was re-opened in the 20th century; however the times were still uneasy – being an important Vilnius City object the University went from hand to hand, it belonged to Polish, Lithuanians, Soviets, and even Nazis.

The new era started in 1990, when Lithuania declared independency and the University regained autonomy.

Vilnius University is famous for its library, 13 courtyards of various sizes, astronomical observatory, and the Church of St. John.

The establishment of the Vilnius University library dates back to 1570, when Jesuits opened the college in Vilnius and formed a library next to it. The basis of the library consisted of the collections of the Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Sigismund Augustus and suffrage bishop of Vilnius Georg Albinius. The Jesuits ruled the University for 200 years. During this period the collection grew from 4,500 to 11,000 volumes. Year 1832 was one of the gloomiest periods in the library history – University was closed, and a large part of the library funds was taken away and distributed between various educational institutions in Russia. The library rose again after the re-opening of Vilnius University in 1919. The library collection in 1914 consisted of around 300,000 volumes and was the fourth largest between the libraries of the Russian Empire. The library was devastated during the Wars, but in spite of this the collection remained quite rich.

The library maintains close relationships with 380 other libraries and educational institutions in 55 countries around the World. Currently the collection of the library consists of about 5.2 million items. The pride of the library is the collections of the old publications, manuscripts, and engravings. The oldest part of the library fund is the archive material of the Manuscript Department, which consists of the documents in various languages, issued in 13th – 20th century.

13 courtyards of different sizes is another sightseeing object in Vilnius University (Courtyard of the Library, M. Dauksos, Bursu, M. K. Serbievijaus, S. Daukanto, Arkades, L. Stuokos – Guceviciaus, A. Mickeviciaus, S. Staneviciaus, K. Sirvydo, The Great Couryard (P. Skargos), Obervatory (M. Pocobuto), and Printing – House).

The Astronomical Observatory of Vilnius Universi

ty was established in 1753 and is one of the oldest in Europe, and the oldest one in the Polish – Lithuanian Commonwealth. Mathematician and astronomer Thomas Zebrowski was the initiator of the Observatory. The golden years started during the rule of Marcin Poczobut. The building was devastated by the fire in 1876, six years later the Observatory was closed by the order of Czar Alexander III, and the majority of instruments were distributed among other institutions in the Russian Empire.

The Church of St. John is one of the most impressive works of the Baroque architecture. The Church was started right after the Christening of Lithuania in 1387, and finished in 1426. It was build following the principles of the Gothic architecture, but after the renovation in 1738 – 1749 (following the renovation plan of the architect Jonas Kristupas Glaubica) it obtained the features of the late Baroque. A square bell tower stands next to the church, and is one of the tallest buildings in the Old Town (63 meters).


The Grand Courtyard of Vilnius University Vilnius University Bell Tower Vilnius University Bell Tower The Grand Courtyard of Vilnius University The Grand Courtyard of Vilnius University Vilnius University Bell Tower Vilnius University Library doors The Grand Courtyard of Vilnius University The Courtyard of Vilnius University Coat of Arms of Vilnius University


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