Following war, plague and famine, the city revived and new ideas gushed in. The second half of the 18th century witnessed the revival of Vilnius University. At the time, the famous French botanist Jean Emmanuel Gilibert came to lecture at Vilnius Academy in the Department of Natural History and settled in the house on Pilies g. 22. The professor laid the foundation for the Department of Geology and Mineralogy of Vilnius University, which operates to date.
76 carts of plants were housed near the professor’s residential building. This is how the first botanical garden of Vilnius was established. Here a greenhouse was built for plants that required a warmer climate. Over 600 different types of plants grew in a 300-square-metre area. Mr. Gilibert was interested in Lithuania’s flora, explored medicinal plants and published a five-volume anthology entitled “Flora Lithuanica inchoata…”, a few copies of which have still been wandering around the world, though a major part it was destroyed due to overly progressive statements. Not all of his discoveries fascinated his colleagues in Vilnius and he was blamed for promoting promiscuity because he “found” gender in the inflorescences of plants.