Charles University is the oldest university in Central Europe. It was founded in 1348 by the Holy Roman Emperor and Czech King Charles IV, in the Old Town of the city of Prague. The preserved gothic building, Karolinum, contains the University administration and the Great Hall (Aula Magna). The rest of the university occupies historical buildings all over the city centre and also new buildings more on the periphery.
Four original Faculties (Theology, Law, Medicine and Arts) have multiplied into seventeen, with 34,000 students and 3,400 teaching and research staff. After the dramatic and repressive period of German occupation (1939-1945) and the Communist regime (1948-1989), Charles University has once again become an autonomous institution of higher learning, observing the principles of academic freedoms as declared in the Magna Charta of European universities. It maintains and develops links with over 170 universities throughout the world. Since 1990, the University has been actively involved in a wide range of international educational and research programs.
Charles University ranks 210th in the world by the Webometrics World Ranking 2023. In the QS World University Ranking 2023, it ranks on 288th place and in the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020, it is ranked on the 301st- 400th place.