Among the important days in Czech history there is 7th April 1348, when Czech king Charles IV established a university in Prague, which includes theological, law, medical and philosophical faculties. At the head of the university there used to be a chancellor and the first one elected was Prague archbishop Arnošt of Pardubice.
At first the single colleges were scattered in various houses in the Old Prague Town. Later on the colleges were replaced into a single complex, called Carolinum no. 541, between Železná, Kamzíková and Ovocný trh Streets, formed by several houses, which had been reconstructed in a block by master of the mint, Jan Rotlev. The present top-baroque appearance rose during 1715-1718, based on design by arch. František Maxmilián Kaňka. Modern reconstruction occurred in the years 1947-1958, based on design by arch. Jaroslav Fragner. A gothic bay, a part of the former chapel of St Kosmas and Damian, the patrons of medical faculty, stands out in the southern frontage.
Nowadays, Carolinum is formed by a four-wing closed building with a new building of the fifth access wing. The fifth wing, whose structure consists of reinforced-concrete skeleton, was constructed in a modern architecture style based on design by arch. Jaroslav Fragner, in the years 1963-1968. Entrance to the building is covered by a metal marquise hang on suspension links.
The Honorary Court, which is irregular in its floor plan, has been separated from the Fruit Market (Ovocný trh) by a metal fencing. In the courtyard, in front of the new rector’s wing, there is a large fountain. It was put there in 1975 and it was realized as a flat basin on round floor plan of glazed Hudčická granite and with stylized sculptures of two-tailed lions on three sides on glazed pedestals of the same material as the basin is of. Authors of the fountain are arch. Jaroslav Fragner and sculptor Stanislav Hanzík.
The Charles College – Carolinum is the oldest preserved university building in Prague. Thus even today it is of extraordinary importance within the Charles University, as a rector’s seat and ceremonious meeting place. In the Carolinum auditorium numerous outstanding personalities were given the honorary doctorates.