Historical Residence of CU
Carolinum is a national cultural monument, a symbol of Charles University. From the 14th century there was a residence of the oldiest building of the Prague University- Charles´ or the Great Hall of residence (Collegium Caroli) which was founded by Charles the IV for the twelve masters of the Prague university college.
The newly-established Imperial Hall on the first floor has been given the name because of the three portraits of empress Marie Teresie and her sons Joseph II and Leopold II. The portraits were painted in 1799 by the notable artist Barbara Kafftova-Steinerova. She is also the authoress of the three portraits of the professors of Prague faculty of medicine on the side wall of the hall. In the adjacent corridor there is a marble crucifix from 1870 which is a masterpiece of the sculptor Emanuel Max.
The statue of the university founder Charles IV by a sculptor K.Pokorny (1950) dominates the hall. Above the front part of the auditorium there are the crests of the royal countries of the Kingdom Bohemia. A Gothic oriel of the Great Auditorium and the original university chapel belong to the most charming architectural parts of the building. In front of the oriel there is the marble tomb of professor Mathias Kollin of Choterina, a humanistic professor of classical languages in the half of the sixteenth century. A Gothic side portal, the so-called Hus´Gate, and an early Baroque main entrance portal from the beginning of the 17 century belong to the oldest architectural links of the hall. A Baroque organ situated above the Allegories of the Muses by V.Sychra (1949) comes from a Jesuit monastery in Chomutov and has been placed here during the postwar reconstruction of the hall.
Connecting space between the Great and Small Auditoriums serve as a cloackroom for academic dignitaries and as an assembly point for students and graduates. In the vestibule of the Great and Small Auditoriums there are portraits of the Prague archbishops who held the office of university chancellor ( the portrait of cardinal Arnost Adalbert Harrach, a replica of the 17 century is the oldest one). A shield of stone (a red lion) of the Rotlews who were the original owners of the palace is situated above the portraits. The vestibule ceiling is covered with wooden boards with painted symbols of the sciences, a masterpiece of R.Wiesner (1948). Above the staircase in front of the Great Auditorium entrance there is a plaque to the memory of the victims of the totalitarian regimes and of the World War Two. At the foot of the staircase on the first floor there is a bust of LLD Milada Horakova, the CU graduate, who was executed by the communist totalitarian regime on 17 June 1950.
A Baroque oil painting of the patrons of medicine, St. Cosmas and Damian, at the head of the hall, and portraits of Prague medicine professors remind of the original purpose of the Small Auditorium which served as a medicine faculty lecture hall. The Small Auditorium is decorated with paintings of the Baroque painters J.Heintsch, P.Brandl, J.Molitor and others. The early-eighteen-century portraits of rectors Jan F.Low of Erlsfeld and Nicolas Franchimont are the oldest ones. A Small Auditorium played an important role in university life because the elections of university rectors took place here.
The staircase of the Small Auditorium leads to the third floor, to the lecture hall and conference halls, where a part of Carolinum picture gallery is situated- especially portraits of Hapsburg rulers reminding of foundation rights of the state towards the university, and portraits of the Prague archbishops as university chancellors.