sights / Architecture

Karolinum information

Prague , Czech Republic
Ovocný trh 3
+420 224 491 250
Getting there
Underground Rail: Můstek
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Central Europe’s oldest university, founded by Charles IV in 1348, was originally housed in the so-called Rotlev House. With Protestantism and Czech nationalism on the rise, the reforming preacher Jan Hus became Charles University’s rector in 1402 and soon persuaded Wenceslas IV to slash the voting rights of the university’s German students – thousands of them left Bohemia when this was announced. The facilities of the ever-expanding university were concentrated here in 1611, and by the 18th century the old burgher’s house had grown into a sizeable complex known as the Karolinum. After the Battle of Bílá Hora (1620) it was handed over to the Jesuits, who gave it a baroque makeover; when they were booted out in 1773 the university took it back. Charles University now has faculties all over Prague, and the Karolinum today houses only some faculty offices, the University Club and a ceremonial hall. It is open to the public only on ‘open doors’ days (details from tourist information offices). Among pre-university Gothic survivals is the Chapel of Sts Cosmas & Damian (kaple sv Kosmas a Damian), with its extraordinary oriel window protruding from the southern wall. Built around 1370, it was renovated in 1881 by Josef Mocker.