The Jesuits came to Jičín on Albrecht von Wallenstein’s invitation. The vast complex of the Jesuit buildings near St. Ignatius of Loyola included the college itself, the buildings of a grammar school, seminary, pharmacy, hospital and the alum building.
The Jesuit grammar school, which has alums such as the writer and historian Bohuslav Balbín, was founded in 1624 in Jičín. Four years later, construction of the college itself began. St. James the Elder’s gothic church became part of the compound, but the patron saint was later changed to St. Ignatius of Loyola – one of the Jesuit order patrons. The Jesuit order was disbanded in 1733 as a result of a papal brief issued by Pope Clement XIV.
The buildings remaining after the order’s dissolution were used by armies; first, it was the Emperor’s army, then the Czechoslovakian army, only to be succeeded by the soviet occupation army. The baroque site was damaged by the insensitive treatment of this string of users. It has been falling into disrepair since 1990 while the town has been unsuccessfully looking into how to find a purpose for the buildings.
A small, repaired part of the compound is used by the Police of the Czech Republic. The remaining buildings are still awaiting reconstruction. Better times may be on the horizon thanks to Balbineum; in cooperation with this organization, the town commenced minor repairs of the ground floor, where exhibitions, plays, concerts, workshops and seminars will take place. The plan being to have a community centre, which would bring the college back to life, while repairing it bit by bit.