Charles IV founded the university in 1348 for all citizens of the Kingdom of Bohemia. At the time of its establishment it represented the only university situated North of the Alps. Since its foundation, the oldest institution of this kind in Central Europe had four faculties analogous to French Sorbonna: faculty of art, medical faculty, faculty of law and theological faculty. Initially, lectures were given in churches, monasteries or private flats. The college system involved a number of colleges where masters lived together with their students and where lectures were given.
Carolinum – The University Complex
The Charles College was founded in 1366, and was formerly situated at the edge of the Jewish quarter, but as the teachers and students realised that they needed a building that would represent the university, the son of Charles IV, Wenceslas IV, donated the imposing Gothic house of Jan Rotlev together with two adjacent houses to the University. These buildings were reconstructed for use by the university and the Charles College moved into this new complex re-named Carolinum. The whole complex was further enlarged with a new university chapel and a big hall for ceremonial assemblies – the aula magna. The university contained a number of lecture-rooms, assembly halls, flats for lecturers, its own spa as well as its own prison.
The university experienced a lot of important events throughout Czech history. The well-known religious reformer John Huss used to act here as the professor and university rector. After 1620 the university was taken over by the Jesuits. They connected Carolinum with their college in Klementinum.
Nowadays, the Carolinum represents a large complex of edifices between the streets Celetná, Železná and Ovocný trh. Its largest aula – the Carolinum Assembly Hall has been hosting University ceremonial occasions up to present day. Its main wall is decorated with a tapestry depicting the motive of Charles IV. kneeling in front of St. Wenceslas. In front the tapestry there is a bronze statue of Charles IV. The chapel, arcade and walls of Carolinum still survive. Notice especially its fine Gothic oriel window from 1370. Carolinum is open to the public during ceremonies, special events and open days.
If you want to sleep few minutes from the Carolinum, book one of our cosy private double rooms!