The city of Cracow belongs to the most important educational centres of Poland. There are thirteen state owned universities, academies and colleges where a total of 150 thousand students follow higher education. In Cracow one finds all imaginable branches of studies offered for example by the University of Economics, Academy of Music, AGH University of Science and Technology, University of Technology, College of Education and so on. But the most famous and best university of Cracow is the so called Jagiellonian University with its 15 departments and 40 thousand students.
The Jagiellonian University, once called Cracow Academy, was founded in the year 1364 by the Polish king Casimir the Great. That's why the Jagiellonian University is the second oldest one in Central Europe after the University of Prague. Then in the year 1400 the Cracow Academy was renewed by the Jagiellonian Dynasty and at that time new buildings situated in the very centre of Cracow next to the Market Square were bought for this purpose. In this way the Collegium Maius was created with its wonderfull late gothic inner courtyard enclosed with a ring of arcades.
The Collegium Maius constitutes the oldest university edifice in Poland as well as the former headquarters of the Jagiellonan University in Cracow. A few centuries ago lectures for students were held in the ground floor, whereas the professors lived and worked in the first floor. Nowadays the Collegium Maius houses the Jagiellonian University Museum. There tourists can admire a library, auditorium and the instruments of the famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus who studied at the Cracow Akademy in the 15th century.1-2-1-5