Inside Vilnius University
The University of Vilnius, one of the oldest and most famous establishments of higher education in Eastern and Central Europe, was founded in 1579 as the Jesuit Academy of Vilnius by Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Stephen Bathory. Functioning for a long time as the only school of higher learning in Lithuania, it was a preserver of cultural and scientific traditions, and has played a significant part in the cultural life not only of Lithuania, but the neighboring countries as well. During more than four centuries of its existence, the University of Vilnius has seen periods of growth and decline, revival, and closure. The University is a unique witness to the history of the Lithuanian state and it is the largest university of Lithuania.