Charles UniversityApprox. Time: 2 hours
Activity Level: Easiest

Charles University, the oldest in Central Europe, was founded in 1348 by Holy Roman Emperor and Czech King Charles IV, in what is now the Old Town, the city centre and the oldest part of Prague. The only remaining original gothic building - the Karolinum - contain the University's administration and Aula Magna. The rest of the university occupies historical buildings in the centre or is scattered in various Prague districts. There is no overall University library - each Faculty and Department have their own local library. Students also use the National Library in the Klementinum nearby Charles Bridge.

The original four Faculties (Theology, Law, Medicine and Arts) have multiplied into sixteen, with 34,000 students and 3,400 teaching and research staff. After the dramatic and repressive periods of German occupation (1939-1945) and communist regime (1948-1989), Charles University has become an autonomous institution of higher learning, observing principles of academic freedoms as declared in the Magna Carta of European Universities, maintaining and developing links of academic co-operation with 125 universities throughout the world. Since 1990, the University has been actively involved in various EU educational and research programmes, but 1998 marked both the University`s 650th anniversary and its inclusion into SOCRATES, with steadily growing numbers of student and teacher exchanges.