The University of Wroclaw

 

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The University of Wroclaw was established by Jesuits in 1702 as the Leopoldina Academy. One of nine Polish universities, it is generally regarded today as the third, behind Warsaw and Cracow, most important institution of higher education in Poland.

At the start of the 19th century, the University of Wroclaw had five faculties: philosophy, catholic theology, evangelical theology, law and medicine. In the decades that followed, the university has been rapidly expanded by other sections, laboratories and also a natural museum. In the short span of one hundred years, the University of Wroclaw produced nine Nobel Prize winners: Theodor Mommsen, Philip Lenard, Eduard Buchner, Paul Ehrlich, Fritz Haber, Friedrich Bergius, Erwin Schrödinger, Otto Stern and Max Born. From the perspective of the river Odra, the building amazes with its 170-metre-long Baroque facade. Entering the University of Wroclaw, the visitor is welcomed by the personifications of the four cardinal virtues: Justice, Valor, Wisdom and Moderation. The initials of the founder of the University – Emperor Leopold I – are engraved on Habsburg eagles that adorn the doors leading to the vestibule. On the ground and the first floor of the university building, the Museum of Wroclaw University is situated. The exhibition presents the history of the university since its foundation in 1702 and includes items related to history, e.g. furniture, equipment, as well as scientific instruments and archives related to the university and its people. The Museum of Wroclaw University comprises of four buildings: Aula Leopoldina, Under the Pillar, Mathematics Tower and the Oratorium Marianum Music Hall. Named after the Austrian Emperor Leopold, Aula Lepoldina is considered to be the most outstanding baroque interior in Lower Silesia. It represents a harmonious blend of architecture, painting, sculpture and furnishing. The interior features illusionist frescoes made by J. Ch. Handke, stucco works by I.A. Provisore and impressive sculptures by F.J. Mangold. It also features a throne with Emperor Leopold I, and at the sides his two sons, heirs – Joseph I and Charles VI – are standing. As far as the second building is concerned, in the past there was an astronomical observatory in the Mathematics Tower, because the 17th geographical longitude runs through the place. The Mathematics Tower also offers a great panoramic view of the city. The last building, Oratorium Marianum, is a music room which held concerts of music world celebrities including Karol Lipinski, Ferenc Liszt, Johannes Brahms or Edward Grieg.



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