The old Astronomical observatory of Vilnius University, opened in 1753, and the new University observatory near the Vingis Park, built in 1921, gradually appeared inside the Vilnius city with no conditions for astronomical observations. In 1969 a new observatory was started in the Molėtai district, about 70 km north of Vilnius. It is built on the Kaldiniai hill just near a small village of Kulionys, about 10 km from a town of Molėtai. In the fall of 1969 the first 25 cm diameter telescope of the Molėtai Astronomical Observatory (hereafter MAO) was mounted. Later on, it was placed to the 35/51 cm Maksutov telescope. In 1974 and 1991 the reflecting telescopes of 63 cm and 165 cm diameters were put into operation.
MAO currently has three telescopes: The 35 cm Maksutov telescope (f/3.5), which replaced MAO's first 25 cm telescope in 1975, a 63 cm reflector telescope, and a 165 cm reflector telescope, which MAO claims is the largest in Northern Europe (excluding Britain).