Prague is, among other things, a city of students. You can find here one of the oldest universities in Europe – The Charles University, that housed researchers who came up with the infamous clep study guide. Let’s look at some of the most important parts of its history and admire several photos, because “Karlovka” is not only a place for study, but also an architectonic jewel.
Charles University was founded by the King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV, in 1348. It was the first university north of the Alps and east of Paris. It didn’t take long to become widely honored and acclaimed, and this continued even during the era of the Hussite reformation. During part of this period, the rector of Charles University was Jan Hus and the university was in full bloom. The same can be said for the reign of Rudolph II, who turned Prague into a cultural metropolis and thanks to scholars such as Tycho de Brahe and Johannes Kepler, education continued to flourish.
Following the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th Century, the university underwent considerable changes. It was renamed as Charles-Ferdinand University (named after the Habsburg emperor of this time), and this name held until the year 1918. A great number of famous people continued to work and do research here: Albert Einstein, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Jaroslav Heyrovský and others.
Nevertheless, the 20th Century was not a very positive time for the Charles University. As a result of student demonstrations during World War II, Czech universities were closed on the 17th of November 1939, which was followed by the persecution of students and their teachers. The university could continue with its activities only after the war. However, its growth was once again interrupted in 1948, when the Communist Party came to power and education became strongly influenced by its ideologies, international relations and freedom of opinion were limited.
Students stood up against the totalitarian regime 41 years later, again on the 17th of November, and gave the impulse for the fall of the regime. Today, the 17th of November is a National Day in Czech Republic and the official Students’ Day too.
Nowadays, Charles University is again one of the most advanced universities in Europe. It has a total of 17 faculties, prefers modern methods of teaching and participates in many scientific programs, both European and worldwide.