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50 litas 2004 Lithuania coin – Vilnius University


50 litas proof coin with box.
Silver Ag 925;
quality proof;
diameter 38.61 mm;
weight 28.28 g.
Mintage 2000 pcs
Issued in 2004


The reverse of the coin displays an image of Vilnius University, encircled with the inscription VILNIAUS UNIVERSITETAS 425 (Vilnius University 425). The right side contains the years 1579 and 2004, which appear when the coin is tilted at a certain angle.

The obverse of the coin depicts the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Lithuania, arranged in a circle around a floral ornament. At the top runs the inscription LIETUVA (Lithuania) in the shape of a semi-circle, and, at the bottom, respectively, 50 LITŲ (50 litas).

Vilnius University, which celebrates its 425th anniversary this year, is the oldest establishment of higher education in Lithuania. Established in 1579, for a long time it became the eastern-most European university spreading the light of learning not only to ethnic Lithuania, the multinational Grand Duchy of Lithuania, but also to Central and Eastern Europe. Some works of the University graduates (Mathias Casimir Sarbievius, Kazimieras Semenavièius et al.) exerted influence over the civilisation and culture of the whole Europe

The genesis of Vilnius University was both a consequence of the development of European civilisation and a fruit of the state’s policy. It was a Christian establishment of education, founded just 200 years following Lithuania’s Christianization. Lithuania managed to follow this route – from Christianization to university – considerably faster than a number of other European countries. Shortly after Christianization, parish schools spread across Lithuania and in the mid-16th century high schools – colleges – began to appear

The founding of Vilnius University was spurred directly by Reformation and competition among the advocates of Catholic renewal in the field of education development. As the Protestants hurried to establish a college of their own, the Jesuits did not wait and, on the initiative of the Bishop of Vilnius Valerijonas Protasevièius, in 1570 founded Vilnius Jesuit College which was soon to be transformed into a university. On 1 April 1579, Stephen Bathory, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, issued a note of privileges for the opening of Vilnius Academy. On 29 October of the same year, Pope Gregory XIII issued a bull that confirmed the transformation of Vilnius Jesuit College into a university, officially named Academia et Universitas Vilnensis Societatis Iesu