University of Salamanca, Spain



Students of the University of Bologna, 15th cemntury image, PD

Students of the University of Bologna, 15th century image, PD

  1. University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    > Founded 1088
    > Not only Europe’s, but also the world’s, oldest university, and in continuous operation too.
    > The word “university” (universitas) was actually coined at its founding to refer to the community of teachers and students who came to the place of study.
    > Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) World University Rankings  2015: Nº 204. National: Nº 4
  1. UNIVERSITY OF SALAMANCA, Salamanca, Spain
    > Believed to have been founded in 1134 but likely earlier.
    > Next to the University of Bologna, it is Europe’s oldest university in continuous operation.
    The first European university to receive the formal title of“University” . Title granted by King Alfonso X in 11 64 and recognized by Pope Alexander IV the following year.
    >CWUR World University Ranking: Nº 637. National: Nº 18
  2. UNIVERSITY OF PARIS, Paris, France
    > Founded c. 1150
    > Ceased to exist altogether in 1970 following the civil unrest of May 1968. Thirteen different universities were created out of it (University of Paris I- XIII).
    > The University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne is perhaps the better known internationally, often referred to as La Sorbonne. But even though all 13 maintain the high academic standards of the original university, the best ranked by the CWUR is University of Paris Sud.
    > CWUR World University Rankings 2015: Nº 58; Nº 3 nationally
  3. UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, Oxford, England
    > Some claim Oxford has been in existence since AD800. But the more conventional belief is that it was founded in 1167.
    > Teaching was suspended in 1209 due to town execution of two scholars and in 1355 on account of the riot on St. Scholastica Day.
    > Remains one of the most prestigious universities in the world
    > CWUR World University Rankings 2015: Nº 5. National: Nº 2

    Light show on Senate House facade celebrating Cambridge's 800th anniversary

    Light show on Senate House facade celebrating Cambridge’s 800th anniversary

  1. UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, Cambridge, England
    > Breakaway university from Oxford
    > Established in 1209 after dispute with Oxford over the execution of the two scholars.
    > Granted royal charter in 1231
    > Remains a most reputable university to this day.
    > CWUR World University Rankings: Nº 4. Nº 1 nationally
  1. UNIVERSITY OF PADUA, Padua, Italy
    > Founded as a school of law in 1222, likely earlier, by professors and scholars from the University of Bologna seeking academic freedom.
    > Rapid curricular expansion led to the forming of three distinct universities from the original University of Padua: Universitas Iuristarum for civil  and Canon laws, Universitas Artistarum  which taught astronomy medicine, philosophy, dialectic, grammar and rhetoric  and the Universitas Theologorum for theology.
    > The turbulent history of the University of Padua prevented teaching in 1237–61, 1509–17, 1848–50.
    > CWUR World University Rankings: Nº 169. National rank: Nº 2
    > Founded 1224
    > One of the oldest universities in the world named after its founder, the Holy Roman Emperor Federeco II.
    > One of the world’s oldest universities in continuous operation
    > The famous philosopher and theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas, was one of its most famous alumni.
    > CWUR World University Rankings: Nº 268; local, Nº 7
  3. UNIVERSITY OF TOULOUSE, Toulouse, France
    > The first University of Toulouse was founded in 1229 but there have been successive universities of that name. In 1969 the university bearing that name was split into three distinct universities and numerous specialized institutions of higher learning.
    > Today’s University of Toulouse was founded on 27 March 2007, actually a federation of universities, grandes écoles (elite schools) and institutions of higher education formally called Université fédérale de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées with more than 100,000 students.
    > Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier CWUR World University Rankings: Nº 236. National rank: Nº13

    Frescoes on the ceiling off the courtyard, Rectorate, University of Siena

    Frescoes at the Rectorate, University of Siena

  4. UNIVERSITY OF SIENA, Siena, Tuscany, Italy
    > Founded 1240
    > One of the first publicly funded universities in Italy.
    > On 7 November 1990, at the start of the academic year, the university celebrated its 750th anniversary.
    > Its current student population is almost half the entire population of Siena.
    > CWUR World University Rankings: Nº 446; national rank, Nº 23
  5. UNIVERSITY OF VALLADOLID, Valladolid, Spain
    > Established 1241 in Valladolid. The university still functions today and has over 31000 students and 2000 teachers.
    > CWUR World University Rankings: Nº 841. National rank: Nº 31


> Featured image: University of Salamanca plateresque facade by Victoria Rachitzky Hoch (, CC BY 2.0
> University of Bologna/PD

> University of Cambridge: Light show on the Senate House for the university’s 800th anniversary by McAnt (, CC BY-SA 3.0
> Frescoes at the Rectorate, University of Siena, by Sailko (, CC BY-SA3.0