Karolinum (formerly Latin: Collegium Carolinum, in Czech Karlova kolej) is a complex of buildings located in the Old Town of the City of Prague. Karolinum, the seat of the Charles University, is one of the oldest dormitories situated in Central Europe. The dormitory was named after the Emperor Charles IV.
Shortly after the establishment of Charles University in 1348, the young institution encountered several organizational problems. One of the major complications was the lack of lecture and accommodation rooms for teachers and students. Emperor Charles IV, apparently inspired by the organization of the Sorbonne college in Paris and by the newly founded universities in Kraków (1364) and Vienna (1365), decided to donate to the school a new college. In 1366, the university received the house of the Jew Lazar, located in the Prague's Old Town. However, the school was donated really representative rooms only in the early 1380s by Wenceslaus, the son of Charles IV. For this purpose, Wenceslaus chose a residence of the wealthy German merchant Johlin (Jan) Rotlev. Rotlev's son Martin (who financed the second oldest German translation of Bible) was closely linked with the court and supported the reformist tendencies of the university. Though it is known that Martin Rotlev inherited the palace, the way by which it passed into the possession of the university remains unknown. The coat of arms of the Rotlev family is a part of the decoration of an oriel window of the college. In addition to the Rotlev Palace, King Wenceslaus also bought the surrounding buildings and rebuilt them for the purposes of the school.
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