Karolinum, A.K.A Prague’s Charles University
Prague’s university, nowadays called Charles University, is one of the oldest universities in Europe. It was founded in 1348 and for the first few decades of its existence it didn’t have any building of its own – so in fact, the university existed just on paper and used several building near the current Fruit Market (Ovocny Trh in Czech – square in front of university). The first building, to belong solely to the university, was Karolinum (sometimes referred to by its latin name, Collegium Caroli).
Czech king Wenceslas IV awarded this palace, purchased from wealthy merchant Jan Rotlev, to Prague’s university in 1383. An old story says that Rotlev was forced to sell this newly-built palace to save his son’s life. He was found guilty of trying to start a sword fight during a trial.
After a short reconstruction from 1383 to 1386, the building was used by university professors (who lived and taught here), the university’s dean and clerks.
Karolinum was remodeled a couple of times, in styles according to the architecture of the time. Renaissance reconstruction hardly changed a thing. The results of the Baroque reconstruction between 1715 and 1718 can still be seen in many parts of university today.
The most recent time the university was given a new look was between 1945 and1959, when the university’s current distinctive entranceway was created. Karolinum, as the headquarters of Charles University, is often used for conferences as well as different exhibitions, such as Czech Press Photo, World Press Photo, permanent exhibition of university’s history and many others. When coming to Prague, check out what’s currently on – sometimes you can find excellent exhibitions about famous chapters from Czech history.
Address: Ovocný trh 541/3, Prague
Map Ref.: 50.0862339, 14.4233031
Official website: www.cuni.cz