In addition to a range of music and drama societies and film clubs, the University also hosts many exhibitions during the academic year in the Cross Corridor of the Carolinum. Rare faculty collections from specific fields, often displayed in specialized museums, reflect the University’s rich and fascinating history.
Drama and music societies
Charles University’s rich cultural life includes a range of drama and music societies. Theatre and music lovers – whether undergraduates, graduates or staff members – are immensely active in these societies, organizing a plethora of dramatic performances and concerts. Charles University strongly supports these societies, which often perform under the University’s name. To give just one example: the Charles University Choir has been spreading the University’s renown since its foundation in 1948, making it the oldest Czech university choir.
For 10 years now, Charles University students and staff with time to spare on Tuesday evenings have been able to enjoy sneak previews of films before the official cinema premiere. The film seminar is organized by the Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism, with screenings taking place every week in the Blue Auditorium at the University’s Celetná Street building in Prague.
Important Charles University buildings
The Carolinum is a national cultural monument and the main seat of Charles University; it has been owned by the University since 1383. One of the most important rooms in the Carolinum is the Aula Magna on the second floor, where all the University’s major ceremonies and events take place. The front wall of the Aula Magna is covered by a tapestry designed by Vladimír Sychra, incorporating motifs from the oldest Charles University seal in its centre, as well as excerpts from the Foundation Charter of 1348 and the symbols of the four original faculties. An outstanding architectural feature of the Aula is the Gothic oriel window with the original University chapel. Other important and beautiful rooms in the Carolinum include the Small Hall and the Patriotic Hall (with busts of prominent figures from Czech history). On the ground floor are the Imperial Hall (with portraits of the Austrian monarchs Maria Theresa, Joseph II and Leopold II painted by Barbara Kraft-Steiner in 1799) and the Cross Corridor with its original Gothic vaulted ceiling, now used for exhibitions.
The ‘House for the Professed’
The building of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics on the Lesser Town Square (Malostranské náměstí) in Prague is an important Baroque edifice. It was built in the last third of the 17th century to designs by Giovanni Domenico Orsi and Francesco Lurago as a residence for the professed Jesuits of the Order attached to St Nicholas’ church. The building contains several ceremonial rooms; of particular note is the intricately ornamented refectory. Today it serves as a ceremonial hall; Bachelor’s graduation ceremonies have been taking place here since 2008.
Botanical Garden of the Faculty of Science
As an institution, the Botanical Garden of the University’s Faculty of Science is one of the oldest university gardens in Europe. It has an area of 3.5 hectares. The most valuable exhibits at the Garden are found in the collection of Central European flora, founded in 1904.