Charles University, CU, known also as Charles University in Prague, is the oldest and largest university in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1348 by a charter of Charles IV, King of the Romans and of Bohemia, it was the first university in Central Europe and one of the oldest universities in the world.
Thanks to Charles’ foresight and his good relations with Pope Clement VI the newly founded university had four faculties: theological, legal, medical and arts - a pattern which corresponded to medieval concepts of a complete university.
Today, CU is a modern, multi-disciplinary and research-oriented institution that is home to more than 50,000 students undertaking bachelor, master’s and doctoral programmes.
Hundreds of specialists in the various disciplines carry out teaching and research activities. The prime purpose of Charles University is the diffusion of learning and protection of acquired knowledge, the cultivation of free thought, independent academic research and the arts, and the encouragement of the free creative spirit of humanity. The university provides an inclusive international vibe for talented students, accomplished teachers and top researchers from the Czech Republic and all over the world.
Ranking Web of World Universities indicated CU at 181st place among world universities in 2016.
Among notable alumni of the university are Franz Kafka, novelist, writer and lawyer; Jaroslav Heyrovský, chemist, Nobel laureate; Jan Janský, discoverer of blood types; Ivana Trump, socialite, fashion model and designer and many others.
The university comprises 17 faculties including Law, Arts, Pharmacy, Science, Mathematics and Physics, Education, Social Sciences, Physical Education and Sport, Humanities, Theology, and five separate Medicine Faculties.
Charles University does not have one joint campus. Most of the university campus is spread throughout Prague, with two other centres located in the nearby cities of Hradec Králové and Pilsen. The historical main building from the 14th century called Carolinum is situated in the Old Town of Prague and constitutes the university's center. It is the seat of the rector and of the Academic Senate of Charles university.
The Botanical Garden of Charles University, maintained by its Faculty of Science, is located in the New Town of Prague.