Technical universities are thought of as a modern development in higher education. However, the Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU), one of the oldest techs in the world, opened in 1707.
The university was founded by Emperor Josef I. One of the most important subjects taught in its early days was fortification arts, as the Emperor wanted to improve Czech defences against invaders. Other topics relevant to civilian life were also covered, including surveying, mapping, drainage and constructing mechanisms for lifting heavy loads.
Today the university has dropped fortifications from its curriculum and instead has eight faculties: Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Nuclear Science and Physical Engineering, Architecture, Transportation Sciences, Biomedical Engineering and Information Technology. Over 120 programmes of study are on offer, some with the option to study in English.
Each faculty sets its own admission requirements and some may require applicants to sit an examination.
The university has its own orchestra, the CTU Academic Orchestra, based in the Bethlehem Chapel. The orchestra’s creation was inspired by a visit from the Cambridge University Orchestra; several years later, CTU’s Orchestra was able to perform at Cambridge.
CTU’s home, Prague, is one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe, on par with Paris or Rome. Its Old Town is a maze of cobbled streets, contrasting with the modern eccentricity of its art galleries. The biggest ancient castle in the world rises above the city. Sightseers can enjoy watching the changing of the guards or, for a small fee, look inside at the magnificent old halls.