Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Olomouc, Czech Republic

Olomouc (pronounced “O-lo-mow-ts), with around 100,000 inhabitants, is the 5th largest city in the ČR.

Olomouc was founded in the mid-13th century. In the Middle Ages it was the biggest town in Moravia and competed with Brno to be the capital. During the Thirty Years‘ War, the city was occupied by the Swedes for eight years (1642-1650). Olomouc was left in ruins and Brno became the capital of Moravia.

On Monday, I went with Steven & Michael on the 1.5 hour train ride to Olomouc. A round-trip ticket from Brno is only 234 Kč (~$12). The outside of the Brno train station looks nicer than the outside of Olomouc’s. However, I've got to say that the inside of the Olomouc station is 100 times nicer than Brno’s.

It’s a really beautiful city and the center has the largest historic preservation zone outside of Prague. The city is full of fountains. Unfortunately, they were still drained so I guess I’ll have to go back during summer so I can see them with water.

We saw all of the main sites, including the astronomical clock, St. Wenceslas Cathedral, the Holy Trinity column, the city wall, the Virgin Mary column, plus the fountains.

The Town Hall, located at the Upper Sqare, is the most prominent historical building of secular architecture in the city. It still serves as the seat of the elected town government. It is also where you'll find the Orloj (astronomical clock).

Orloj is one of two astronmical clocks in the country. I prefer this one to the one in Prague. I'll do a separate post on this later.
The Neo-Gothic St. Wenceslas Cathedral dates back to 1883-1892. It is located on the site of an original church dating back to 1104-1107. I'll do a separate post on this one too.

The Byzantine style orthodox church was built in 1937.

The front of the Theresian Armory is from 1771-1778.

The Archbishop's Palace was built in 1665-1685. This is where Emporer Franz Josepf I ascended to the throne in 1848.

The Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snows is a Baroque building constructed from 1712-1719.

Legend has it that Julius Caesar founded Olomouc, but it is not true. But the Caesar Fountain is the largest of the six Baroque city fountains. It was built in 1725.

The Holy Trinity Column is the largest collection of Baroque statues within the framework of one sculptural group in Central Europe. It reaches a height of 35 meters and the lower part of the column contains a chapel. The sculpture was blessed in 1754 in the presence of Empress Maria Theresa. In 2000, the column was registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site

The Virgin Mary Column was built between 1716–1723 in order to commemorate the victims of the plague from the years 1713-1715.

In Bezruč Park you can see part of the city walls that were a part of the Olomouc Baroque fortress.

Here's a Rick Steves travel video I found on YouTube about Olomouc.

©Rick Steves

Update:  Siren tests take place differently in Olomouc.


  1. Looks like you did well to squeeze a lot in if you just went for the one day?

    The interior of St Michael's church in Olomouc is quite impressive too, even if it looks a bit plain from the outside.

    And just nearby, the Sarkander chapel conceals a torture chamber below ground level, because it used to be the city's medieval jail. There's kind of a semi-hidden staircase up towards the front and off to the right that leads down to the old dungeon and Sarkander's original gravestone.

  2. Thanks for the tips. I'll be sure to check out St. Michael's and the Sarkander Chapel on my next visit.