For more than 400 years, students have studied at Vilnius University; for more than 400 years, professors have carried out their research here; and for more than 400 years, the first step ad astra has been taken from here to the stars of science, culture, philology and philosophy. Vilnius University was founded in 1579 by Jesuits and given a blessing by the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Stephen Báthory. The prosperous university had a printing house and lecturers who came from other Catholic universities in Western and Central Europe to give lectures that applied their teaching principles and intensive study programmes. Vilnius University’s Faculty of Theology was renowned in Europe for its modern ideas.
Today, voices of students from all over the world can be heard amid the university’s walls, which are adorned with masterpieces of art and architecture – and it is a place where scientific developments and discoveries are made that startle the world.
The architectural ensemble of Vilnius University situated in the Old Town houses the faculties of history, philology and philosophy. The ensemble’s numerous courtyards will tell you the whole story of the evolution of the architecture and its decoration, with the artistic forms of the buildings reflecting all the architectural styles that have predominated over time in Lithuania – namely, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism. How many courtyards are there? Be sure you don’t lose count when you try to add them up.