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:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.