2022 is a particular year for Lithuanian higher education. One hundred years ago, the University of Lithuania was founded in Kaunas, then the Provisional Capital of the country, giving birth to today’s most significant universities in the city. Whether rushing from a modern classroom to a state-of-the-art laboratory or just having fun after lectures, first-year students or those who have already warmed up their feet in Kaunas are invited to start the academic year with a map in hand.
“Interwar Student” is the name of the latest edition of the “It’s Kaunastic” series of illustrated itineraries, created by Kaunas IN together with Vytautas Magnus University (VMU). The colourful guide features thirty objects and accompanying stories that happened in interwar Kaunas. These are the buildings where the first lectures of the University of Lithuania took place, the houses and apartments where students and academics gathered, inspiring leisure adventures and high scientific ambitions.
The “Interwar Student” paths stretch not only in the city centre but also in Žaliakalnis, Aleksotas, the Old Town, and the Kaunas district. Some sites today are owned by VMU, Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) or Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU). In contrast, others have long since been re-purposed or rebuilt; some have remained only in photographs and other archival material.
Follow the map’s route to find out what drink was traditional at corporates’ festivals, why students protested at the State Theatre, why the horse-drawn tram annoyed them, or who was the first Lithuanian Egyptologist. Those interested in the history of publishing, semiotics or even cinemas will also discover fascinating facts.
After visiting all the stops on the “Interwar Student” route, the most curious are invited to take some time to see the VMU Rectorate (K. Donelaičio g. 58). On the occasion of the centenary of the University of Lithuania, the palace is now home to the exhibition “Vivat Universitas Vytauti Magni”. It reveals the life of the University from its foundation, through its activities in exile in the post-war period, to its restoration in 1989 and its work today. The interactive exhibition features symbols of the university, the personal belongings of students and professors, and the legacy of the natural laboratories and museums.
The “Interwar Student” itinerary was developed in collaboration with VMU Academia cum laude students Karina Korsakova and Povilas Mikalauskas and their curator Dom Boguševičius. You can pick up a free copy of the “It’s Kaunastic” series map at the Kaunas IN Tourist Information Centre (Laisvės al. 36) or VMU and a digital version here.