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Postcard (circa 1900) of the new building of the Albertina, with Paradeplatz in front. The new building was inaugurated in 1862.
The old building of the Albertina amongst some trees on Kneiphof. Königsberg Cathedral is behind the building. The old building is where Kant taught. It no longer exists, because of World War II.
Albert of Prussia on the book cover on one of the books of the famous Silberbibliothek ("silver library") which was part of the university library. Like the equally famous Wallenrodt library it is lost since 1945.
The new building of the Albertina is now part of the Immanuel Kant State University of Russia. Its facade is very different from what it was in German times.

The University of Königsberg (German: Albertus-Universität Königsberg) was the university of Königsberg, East Prussia. It was founded in 1544 by Albert, Duke of Prussia, and was commonly known as the Albertina.

Following World War II, Königsberg was transferred to the Soviet Union, after the Potsdam Agreement, and renamed Kaliningrad. The Albertina was closed and the German population expelled from former East Prussia.

Today, the Immanuel Kant State University of Russia (IKSUR) in Kaliningrad claims to maintain the traditions of the Albertina.

Contents

History

Albert, Duke of Prussia, opened the Albertina in 1544 as a Lutheran counterpart to the Roman Catholic Cracow Academy. It was thus the second oldest protestant university (after Marburg) in the world. The Duchy of Prussia was a fiefdom of Poland from 1525–1657, after which Brandenburg acquired sovereignty over it. The Albertina was the second oldest university in Brandenburg-Prussia and comprised four colleges: Theology, Medicine, Philosophy and Law. Its first rector was the poet Georg Sabinus, son-in-law of Philipp Melanchthon. Subsequent rectors included numerous Prussian royals, who had never been to the university.

In the 17th century, the university was known as a home to Simon Dach and his fellow poets. Tsar Peter I of Russia visited the Albertina in 1697, leading to increased contacts between Prussia and the Russian Empire. Notable Russian students of the university were Kirill Razumovsky and Mikhail Andreyevich Miloradovich. The philosopher Immanuel Kant was the Albertina's rector for a time. The university and the City had also profound impact on the development of Lithuanian culture. The first book in Lithuanian language was printed here in 1547 and several important Lithaunian writers attended the Albertina.

The Albertina's magnificent botanical garden was inaugurated in 1811 during the Napoleonic Wars. Two years later, Friedrich Bessel established his outstanding observatory next door to the garden. Other university professors included such giants of the science world as the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1806–07), the biologist Karl Ernst von Baer (1817–34), the mathematician Carl Gustav Jacobi (1829–42), the mineralogist Franz Ernst Neumann (1828–76) and the physicist Hermann von Helmholtz (1849–55).

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the university was most famous for its school of Mathematics, founded by Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi, and continued by his pupils Ludwig Otto Hesse, Friedrich Richelot, Johann G. Rosenhain and Ludwig Seidel. It was later associated with the names of Hermann Minkowski (Albert Einstein's teacher), Adolf Hurwitz, Ferdinand von Lindemann and David Hilbert, who was one of the greatest modern mathematicians. The mathematicians Alfred Clebsch and Carl Gottfried Neumann (both born in Königsberg and educated under Ludwig Otto Hesse) founded the Mathematische Annalen in 1868, which soon became the most influential mathematical journal of the time.

In 1862, the new building of the Albertina was inaugurated. The building was created in the neo-Renaissance style by Stüler. The facade was adorned by an equestrian figure in relief of Albert of Prussia. Below it were niches containing statues of the Protestant reformers Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. Inside was a handsome staircase, borne by marble columns. The Senate Hall contained a portrait of Emperor Frederick III by Lauchert and a bust of Immanuel Kant by Hagemann and Schadow. The adjacent hall ("Aula") was adorned with frescoes painted in 1870.

The Albertina library, which contained the municipal library in 1900, was situated on Dritte Fliess Strasse and contained over 230,000 volumes. Also on Dritte Fliess Strasse was the Palaestra Albertina, established in 1898 for the encouragement of the higher forms of sport among the students and citizens. Nearby were the government offices, adorned with mural paintings by Knorr and Schmidt. In 1900, the university had 900 students.

On 17 August 1944, the university celebrated its 400th anniversary. Over a week later, during the nights of 26/27 and 29/30 August 1944, Königsberg was extensively bombed by the Royal Air Force. The historic inner city was devastated by the attacks, and 80% of the university campus was destroyed.

Notable alumni and faculty

This statue of Immanuel Kant was first exhibited by Christian Daniel Rauch in 1864. Removed in 1945, it was restored to the former Paradeplatz area in 1992.

See also

External links

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