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Jagiellonian University's Collegium Maius

Krakow

Tours and Sightseeing

It's free of charge to see arcaded courtyard. The courtyard clock carries a show with wooden figures being historical persons locally. You'll see the show at either of the hours: 9.00, 11.00, 13.00, 15.00, 17.00.

The Grand College, or Collegium Maius, of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow was purchased in 1400 by King Wladyslaw II using funds bequeathed by his late wife Queen (and later Saint) Jadwiga. Established only 36 years previously as the Krakow Academy, the university would go on to become one of Europe's oldest and greatest. The building's current form took shape in the late 15th century, featuring the arcaded courtyard topped with cloisters that you can see today. From these not-so-humble beginnings, the university expanded, creating a University Quarter on the southwest of the Old Town.

Probably the most famous alumnus of the old university was Nicolas Copernicus, astronomer and polymath, who studied there in the 1490s. Visitors can see a room in the college honouring Copernicus, furnished in a style typical of the time and containing the sort of apparatus an astronomer in those days would have used. For many years subsequently the building housed the university library.

Today the building serves as a museum of the Jagiellonian University, and amongst the many works of art, furnishings and other treasures, particular attention must be brought to the vast collection of scientific and astronomical instruments, endowed in 1492 and added to ever since. Rooms have been maintained in the style of the times, and the treasures therein are numerous and give the visitor a fascinating glimpse of medieval academic life.

A café on the ground floor level allows one to rest in the shady courtyard, and on a hot summer day the quiet of the warm redbrick cloisters and central fountain give a welcome respite from the bustling city. Visitors should note that most days the museum closes mid-afternoon.

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Directions

ul. Jagiellonska 15, Old-Town, 31-010

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