After a Long Lockdown, Architectural Ensemble of Vilnius University is Opening Up – Guests Can Once Again Visit the Highest Building of Vilnius Old Town

As from 29 June, the Vilnius University Museum once again welcomes guests and residents of the Lithuanian capital at VU’s prominent architectural ensemble in Vilnius Old Town. Researchers of the university’s ensemble will also be able to go up the St. John’s Church bell tower – the highest building of Vilnius Old Town (68 m).

“We are very glad to continue our operations and welcome the city’s guests at Vilnius University Architectural Ensemble after such a long break. Even though the Architectural Ensemble has been closed to visitors for a long time, work in the museum has not stopped. We rethought our activities and developed new projects that we are hoping to present to the visitors of the museum very soon,” enthusiastically commented Monika Ramonaitė, Director of the Vilnius University Museum.

Historical sights

Located at the heart of Old Town, the university’s architectural ensemble encapsulates a history of almost 500 years, and is framed by four streets: Universiteto (formerly Vyskupų), Šv. Jono and Skapo. This Architectural Ensemble has preserved the main architectural styles that were predominant in Lithuania: Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classicism.

Throughout a rather long period, the university’s courtyards accumulated extensive historical heritage. They encapsulate the history of the first Lithuanian Jesuits as well as the life stories of the famous Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski, Mikalojus Daukša, Simonas Daukantas, and other Lithuanian creators, which unfold as you walk in the university’s courtyards. Now, the old university chamber is home to the faculties of History, Philology and Philosophy, the Institute of Foreign Languages, the Rector’s Office, the University Library and the Museum.

After taking a walk in the university’s courtyards, everyone is welcome to visit the St. John’s Church bell tower to see a magnificent view of the city of Vilnius. Go up using an elevator, or if you’re up for it – by climbing all 193 authentic steps, to reach the bell tower’s viewpoint, from which you will see a wonderful view of St. Anne’s Church, Gediminas Castle Tower, and the oldest street in town – the Pilies street. In the bell tower, you can learn about the architectural features of the Renaissance and late Baroque. From here, you can have a bird’s eye view of the life in the Old Town, observe wooded horizons far in the distance, and feel the magnificence of the city. Fun fact: the bell tower also has the Foucault pendulum which demonstrates the effect of the Earth’s rotation around its axis.

You are welcome to visit any department of the VU Museum individually; for group visits, a registration will be required.

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