The old institutions that have lingered are not only important for their historical legacy but also to prove their ability to adapt to modern contexts and remain relevant in a globalized world despite intense competition. Most of the ancient universities in the world are also among the most prestigious and popular and offer a rich blend of historical heritage and contemporary views.
They marked the beginning of education as we know it today. Here is a list of the oldest universities in the world.
The University of Al-Karaouine
- Location: Morocco
- Founded: 859
- Website: The University of Al-Karaouine
The University of Al-Karaouine, also known as Al-Quaraouiyine University, was founded by Fatima al-Fihri in 859 in Fes (Morocco) as a community mosque with an associated school. The university still exists and offers studies in Islamic studies, legal sciences, comparative jurisprudence, etc.
- Location: Egypt
- Founded: 970-972
- Website: Al-Azhar University
This university in Egypt is the second oldest surviving degree-granting institute Founded in 970-972, this university is a centre for Arabic literature and Islamic learning Sunni. Al-Azhar University focuses on a religious program that pays special attention to the Koranic sciences and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad while teaching all modern scientific fields.
University of Bologna
The “foster mother of studies”, as defined in the Latin motto, was founded in 1088 and was never cancelled, the title of the oldest university in the world. Until relatively modern times, the university offered only doctoral studies, but today it offers a diverse range of programs at all levels.
Based in Bologna, Italy, it has about 85,500 students, including 30,000 postgraduate students. Famous alumni are three popes, countless businessmen and various Italian politicians. The University of Bologna ranks 177th in the QS World University Rankings® 2020 rankings.
University of Oxford
- Location: United Kingdom
- Founded: 1096-1167
- Website: University of Oxford
Although some of the ancient universities in the world have discussed their early foundations, it is clear that Oxford University was the first university in the English-speaking worldwide, although courses would probably have taken place in Latin. In 1167, Henry II forbade English students to study at the University of Paris.
University of Salamanca
- Location: Spain
- Founded: 1134
- Website: University of Salamanca
The University of Salamanca was founded in 1134 and received the Royal Charter in 1218, making it the oldest institution in Spain after the disappearance of the University of Palencia.
Located in the west of Madrid, it is in this institution that Christopher Columbus pleaded for the royal support of his expedition to India at the end of the fifteenth century.
The University of Salamanca is ranked in the 601 to 650 * category of the QS 2020 World University Ranking and can accommodate more than 30,000 students on nine campuses.
University of Paris
- Location: France
- Founded: 1160-1250
- Website: University of Paris
The University of Paris, founded between 1160 and 1250 in the French capital, is often nicknamed “the Sorbonne” and one of the first universities established in Europe, although it was suspended between 1793 and 1896 after the French Revolution.
Today, the University of Paris is dispersed throughout the city, having been divided into 13 autonomous institutions, all of which retain the high reputation of the university of origin.
University of Cambridge
- Location: United Kingdom
- Founded: 1209
- Website: University of Cambridge
Recognized as the second oldest university in the English-speaking world, this university was created by scientists who left Oxford University following a dispute in 1209. Both schools have a long history of the rivalry.
Cambridge is currently ranked among the top five universities in the world and one of the leading universities in Europe. As of 2009, alumni of this university can count on eighty-five Nobel Prize winners. Cambridge now has 31 colleges and more than 150 departments, faculties, schools and other institutions.
University of Padua
- Location: Italy
- Founded: 1222
- Website: University of Padua
The University of Padua – Università di Padova or UNIPD – was founded in 1222 (although before that date) and is one of the many medieval universities in Italy still in operation.
The Università di Padova is currently ranked 234th in the world and is known for its first revolutionary research in astronomy, law, medicine and philosophy.
It currently houses around 62,000 students in the city of Padua, in which William Shakespeare’s famous play Mastering the Muscles takes place. In 1545, the Università di Padova created the Botanical Garden of Padua, which is today one of the ancient universities in the world. It also manages nine museums.
University of Siena
- Location: Italy
- Website: University of Siena
The University of Siena, located in the small town of Siena, in Tuscany, is one of the oldest universities in the world with a solid global reputation, currently ranked between 701 and 750 in the world.
With more than 20,000 enrollments, the University of Siena campus covers nearly half of the city’s total population. The city centre itself, also of historical significance, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited each year by over 163,000 tourists coming for food, arts, museums and medieval heritage.
University of Coimbra
- Location: Portugal
- Founded: 1290
- Website: University of Coimbra
Originally established in the Portuguese capital in 1290, the University of Coimbra (ranked 406th in the world) was relocated several times by fierce kings to end in Coimbra, the third-largest urban centre in the country and the country. of origin of the Roman era history.
With a student community of just over 24,000 people, the University of Coimbra has undergone many major reforms and was the only active university in Portugal for decades of the 18th century.
In 2013, the University of Coimbra was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List because of its historic buildings, open courtyard, cultural traditions and great views of the city.