Vilnius University is the oldest university in the Baltic States and one of the oldest in Northern Europe. The university was founded in 1579 as the Jesuit Academy of Vilnius by Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland – Steponas Batoras (Stephen Báthory). It was the third oldest university in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the aftermath of the Third Partition of Poland (1795) and the November Uprising (1830–1831), the university was closed down and suspended its operation until 1919.
In the aftermath of World War I the university saw failed attempts to restart it by Lithuania and invading Soviet forces. It finally resumed operations as Stephen Báthory University in Poland.
Following Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, the university was briefly administered by the Lithuanian authorities and then after Soviet annexation of Lithuania, punctuated by a period of German occupation after German invasion of the Soviet Union, administrated as Vilnius State University by the Socialistic Lithuania. The Polish community of students and scholars of Stephen Báthory University was transferred to Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń.
After Lithuania regained its independence in 1990 it resumed its status as one of the prominent universities in Lithuania: Vilnius University. In modern times, the university still offers studies with an internationally recognized content. Notable alumni of Vilnius University are – Adomas Mickevičius (Adam Mickiewicz), Ignas Domeika (Ignacy Domeyko), Simonas Daukantas, Joachimas Lelevelis (Joachim Lelewel), Česlovas Milošas (Czesław Miłosz) and may others.
The complexes of Vilnius University were formed over several centuries and, as a result, consist of the buildings built in Gothic, Baroque and Classical styles. The medieval architecture of the premises contrasts with the vibrant student atmosphere.
Thirteen internal courtyards, arcades and galleries inject even more color into the buildings. The courtyards are named after famous graduates and professors of the university; commemorative plaques in their honor can be seen in the Grand Courtyard.
Internet site (muzeum): http://www.muziejus.vu.lt
Internet site (university): http://www.vu.lt