Collegium Maius in Krakow
Collegium Maius in Krakow is the oldest college of the Polish oldest and best university.
The 640-year-old Jagiellonian University moved in to the building at the corner of the Jagiellonska and Sw. Anny streets in 1400, when King Vladislav II Jagiello bought the house with funds his late wife, queen-saint Jadwiga, had earmarked for the renewal of Krakow’s alma mater.
The oldest college of the Polish oldest and best university, was rebuilt by the end of the 15th century as a splendid late-Gothic edifice around a vast courtyard with surrounding arcades and a well of 1517 in the center. Professors lived and worked upstairs, while lecturing downstairs. In the 1490s they had Copernicus among their students, and the astronomer that revolutionized entire European science remains the most illustrious of Krakow university’s graduates together with Pope John Paul II.
Over centuries a whole university quarter has arisen around the Collegium Maius, while the old college became first the university library and then the university museum rich in unrivaled exhibits.
Collegium Maius today
The beautiful college courtyard is accessible free of charge daylong plus on odd evenings when it provides picturesque background for open-air theater or musical events. At 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. the courtyard clock performs little show with wooden figures of kings and famous professors parading to solemn music.
The Museum of the Jagiellonian University in the Collegium Maius shows upstairs its splendid historic rooms with original furnishings, good collection of the old European art, unique science instruments, and varied memorabilia.
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