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Gymnasium Karlovac

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Title: Gymnasium Karlovac  
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Subject: Nikola Tesla, XV Gymnasium
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Gymnasium Karlovac

Gymnasium Karlovac
Gimnazija Karlovac
Rakovac 4
Karlovac, 47000, Croatia
Principal Damir Mandić
Language Croatian

Gymnasium Karlovac (Croatian: Gimnazija Karlovac), sometimes historically referred to as Higher Real Gymnasium,[1][2] is a gymnasium in the city of Karlovac in Croatia. Housed in a dedicated building constructed in 1863, the school considers itself to have been founded as early as 1766.[3] At that time, Karlovac was part of the Croatian Military Frontier under the rule of the Austrian Empire. Starting in 1766 and under the direction of Maria Theresa of Austria, piarists were sent to Karlovac to teach subjects to two grade levels, the main subject being the Latin language.

The gymnasium's most famous alumnus is inventor, physicist, and electrical and mechanical engineer Nikola Tesla who attended the school from 1870 until 1873. Starting his studies in Karlovac at the age of 14, Tesla had decided upon his career before graduating from the Higher Real Gymnasium at the age of 17.

In early 2010 the gymnasium was accepted as the 37th member of the German global school network in Croatia. This designation allows students to attend German universities without having to complete the usual prerequisite German language entrance examination.[4]

Notable alumni

Inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla attended the gymnasium starting in 1870 until he graduated with honours from the four-year course in only three years when he was 17 years old.[5][6] Stricken with malaria shortly after his arrival in the mosquito-infested swampy lowlands of Karlovac, Tesla was bedridden at times and often took his school books home to read and memorize them when he was unable to attend class. James O'Neill, in his book Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla, states that a physics professor from the gymnasium had a most profound effect on Tesla. O'Neill states that Tesla had a favourable impression of the professor, who was a "clever and original experimenter" and had "amazed [Tesla] with the feats he performed with laboratory apparatus", and that it was because of him that Tesla had made up his mind and "selected his career."[7]

Other notable alumni include actress Zrinka Cvitešić,[8] poet and writer Ivan Goran Kovačić,[9] politician and founder of the Croatian Peasant Party Stjepan Radić,[10] and explorers and brothers Mirko and Stjepan Seljan.[11]



  1. ^ O'Neill 1944, p. 32
  2. ^ Stewart 1999, p. 26
  3. ^ (Croatian) Povijest naše škole, Accessed March 25, 2010.
  4. ^ Karlovac high school becomes German school partner, Croatian Times, January 26, 2010. Accessed March 25, 2010.
  5. ^ O'Neill 1944, p. 32
  6. ^ Stewart 1999, p. 26
  7. ^ O'Neill 1944, p. 33
  8. ^ (Croatian) Zrinka Cvitešić, Accessed March 25, 2010.
  9. ^ (Croatian) Ivan Goran Kovačić, Accessed March 25, 2010.
  10. ^ (Croatian) Stjepan Radić, Accessed March 25, 2010.
  11. ^ (Croatian) Mirko and Stjepan Seljan, Accessed March 25, 2010.


External links

  • Official website (Croatian)

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