Karolinum is a complex of buildings located in the Old Town of the City of Prague. Karolinum, the seat of the Charles University in Prague, is one of the oldest dormitories situated in the Central Europe.
Shortly after the establishing of Charles University in 1348, the young institution encountered several organizational problems. One of the major complications was the lack of lecture and accommodation rooms for teachers and students. Emperor Charles IV, apparently inspired by the organization of the Sorbonne college in Paris and by the newly founded universities in Kraków (1364) and Vienna (1365), decided to donate to the school a new college. In 1366, the university received the house of the Jew Lazar, located in the Prague's Old Town. However, the school was donated really representative rooms only in the early 1380s by Wenceslaus, the son of Charles IV. For this purpose Wenceslaus chose a residence of the wealthy German merchant Johlin (Jan) Rotlev. Rotlev's son Martin was closely linked with the court and supported the reformist tendencies of the university. Though it is known that Martin Rotlev inherited the palace, the way by which it passed into the possession of the university remains unknown. The coat of arms of the Rotlev family is a part of the decoration of an oriel window of the college. In addition to the Rotlev Palace, King Wenceslaus also bought the surrounding buildings and rebuilt them for the purposes of the school.
The architectural shape of Karolinum changed significantly during its history. In the early 18th century, it was rebuilt in Baroque style, according to the plans of the architect František Maxmilián Kaňka. However, the reconstruction was only provisional and the structural condition of the building in the following decades was very bad. In 1786, during a visit in Karolinum, the Emperor Josef II expressed his dissatisfaction with the state of the 'seat of muses'. It was even planned to sell the building, but in 1802 it was decided that Karolinum would remain in the hands of the Charles University. The decision was apparently influenced by renewed romantic and patriotic enthusiasm, (regarding the historical building as a significant monument for education in Bohemia). From 1879 to 1881, several parts of the building were rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style by the architect Josef Mocker.
Following the World War I and the establishment of the Czechoslovak state, the buildings of Karolinum remained a property of the Charles University. Karolinum is a National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic.
The official publishing house of the Charles University is named Karolinum.References:
Situated in the basement of Metropol Parasol, Antiquarium is a modern, well-presented archaeological museum with sections of ruins visible through glass partitions, and underfoot along walkways.
These Roman and Moorish remains, dating from the first century BC to the 12th century AD, were discovered when the area was being excavated to build a car park in 2003. It was decided to incorporate them into the new Metropol Parasol development, with huge mushroom-shaped shades covering a market, restaurants and concert space.
There are 11 areas of remains: seven houses with mosaic floors, columns and wells; fish salting vats; and various streets. The best is Casa de la Columna (5th century AD), a large house with pillared patio featuring marble pedestals, surrounded by a wonderful mosaic floor – look out for the laurel wreath (used by emperors to symbolise military victory and glory) and diadem (similar meaning, used by athletes), both popular designs in the latter part of the Roman Empire. You can make out where the triclinium (dining room) was, and its smaller, second patio, the Patio de Oceano.
The symbol of the Antiquarium, the kissing birds, can be seen at the centre of a large mosaic which has been reconstructed on the wall of the museum. The other major mosaic is of Medusa, the god with hair of snakes, laid out on the floor. Look out for the elaborate drinking vessel at the corners of the mosaic floor of Casa de Baco (Bacchus’ house, god of wine).