Charles University in Prague was founded by a charter issued on 7 April 1348 by Charles IV, King of Bohemia and King of the Romans, as the first Studium generale north of the Alps and east of Paris. Charles University is thus one of the oldest European universities. It was modelled on the universities in Bologna and Paris, and within a very short time it achieved international renown.
Soon afterwards, the University underwent a transformation under the impact of the Hussite reformist movement which preceded the European Reformation. A very strong influence was exerted over the University by its Rector at this time, the religious reformer Master Jan Hus.
A remarkable period in the history of the University came with the rule of Rudolf II, who turned his capital Prague into a cultural metropolis where university learning flourished side by side with the court (and its scholars Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe).
Following the reforms of 1848-49, the University began to assume the form of a modern higher education institution. It was gradually transformed into a state-owned institution educating the intellectual professional classes. In 1882, at the culmination of the Czech national political movement, Prague’s Charles-Ferdinand University was divided into two institutions – Czech and German.
By the turn of the 20th century both universities had achieved a high academic standard. One of the professors at the German University, for example, was Albert Einstein.
The renewal of free academic life at Charles University was interrupted by the communist coup of 1948. For many years to follow, the regime subjected education and research to tight ideological and political control; this naturally had a detrimental effect on international links and research opportunities. Students, loyal to their tradition of academic freedoms, demonstrated on 17 November 1989 against the totalitarian regime, eventually initiating its fall.
Modern university life began to thrive, drawing strongly on international cooperation. Aware of its mission, Charles University continues to nurture academic cooperation and plays an active role in a broad spectrum of European and global programmes.
Charles University in Prague: http://www.cuni.cz/UKEN-10.html
Faculty of Science: https://www.natur.cuni.cz/eng?set_language=en
The Department of Applied Geoinformatics and Cartography: