Olomouc at the top
Three years, three excellent awards by the world’s prestigious guidebook. Lonely Planet made a list of the most beautiful, yet lesser known tourist destinations. It wasn’t the hot springs of Iceland, Gibraltar Rocks, Odysseus' Ithaca or Luxemburg that ranked in first place but the historical center of Olomouc!
The mini guidebook, Secret Europe, presents tourists with fifty cities from different parts of Europe. The largest, world-renowned guidebook publisher attracts tourists to Olomouc by saying that “in terms of tourism Olomouc can be equated to an authentic restaurant which is your own, small, personal secret. The Main Square is amongst the most enchanting in the country. It is surrounded by historical buildings. It is adorned by the Holy Trinity Column listed as the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Magnificent churches, many of which host an exciting history, are scattered in the streets of the historical center. Explore the foundations of the ancient Olomouc castle in the Archdiocese Museum which is a must-see and then set out to one of the many pubs or mini-breweries”. In 2012, the publisher also awarded Olomouc by ranking it in the top ten most beautiful hidden treasures in Europe. One year later it was once again on the list of the recommended destinations in Moravia. “It’s beautiful as well as surprising for us. Lonely Planet is to tourist guidebooks what Michelin is to gastronomy. I perceive it as a win in the tourist Olympics,” responded Olomouc mayor, Martin Major, when he first heard of the award. “I am very pleased that the professional editor-in-chief of this publication truly appreciates the beauty of our city, its picturesque atmosphere and its uniqueness.
Apart from other things, Olomouc captivated them by the fact that it offers the same architectural treasures as Prague but without the crowds of tourists. It is definitely Olomouc’s advantage in comparison with our capital. However, despite repeated acclaim from the renowned guidebook, it may only be temporary”, mentioned the mayor, Major, with a smile. The deputy mayor, Jan Holpuch added, “I believe that this is an opportunity to introduce our beautiful city to many other tourists.” “I think that being awarded as a hidden treasure or undiscovered city will give Olomouc an even stronger stamp of attractiveness and will evoke more interest in potential visitors.”
Olomouc has been trying to advertise its beauty in a high-quality and systematic way. In the past years, this attempt has proved effective. Statistically as well as simply looking into the streets of the city center confirms that the number of tourists to Olomouc has truly increased. Olomouc is on the list of destinations offered by travel agencies as for example, one-day trips from Prague or as a part of the Vienna – Krakow route. “Greater advertising in cooperation with the agency CzechTourism certainly helped.
This agency gives Olomouc more space than before”, says Karin Vykydalová, head of the tourism department. “Acclaim from Lonely Planet obviously helps. Ideally, a visitor comes here based on the recommendation, is satisfied here and then recommends Olomouc to his friends back home”, adds Dušan Gavenda of the same department. Lonely Planet Secret Europe can be downloaded for free at: www.lonelyplanet.com/secret-europe.
Horní náměstí (Upper Square)
Town Hall's archway
779 11 Olomouc
Opening hours: daily 9:00am –7:00pm
Tel.: (+420) 585 513 385, 392
Olomouc region Card
Olomouc Region Card is a tourist discount card that allows you to visit Olomouc significant savings. Its purchase to make sure you completely discounted or free admission.
Lennart Torstensson, Count of Ortala since 1646, participated in the Swedish campaign during the Thirty Years War. In 1641 he was appointed as generalissimo of the Swedish forces, with which he managed to conquer Olomouc in June 1642. The army damaged or completely destroyed much of the town’s monuments, such as the Hradisko Monastery, and in the same time the troops re-fortified the city.
Frederick II of Prussia was King of Prussia from the Hohenzollern dynasty reigning in the years 1740-1786 and one of the greatest military leaders of the 18th century. He raised Prussia to the rank of the great power and extended the dominions of his family. He was an excellent commander, but was less successful during the sieges. In 1758 he tried to conquer the Olomouc fortress, but even after many weeks he wasn’t able to capture the town.
Ernst Gideon von Laudon, one of the most successful Austrian commanders, came from a poor aristocratic family of Scottish origin settled in Livonia. He became famous during the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) attacking bravely a transport of supplies intended for the Prussian army besieging Olomouc.
The famous French general Marquis de La Fayette was imprisoned on May 19th 1794 in Olomouc in the so-called Jesuit barracks-prison (now the building of the Military Administrative Archive on the Republic Square). There is a memorial plaque commemorating the 200th anniversary of the departure of the General from Olomouc placed on the Archive‘s building.
Joseph Radetzky von Radetz, Czech nobleman and Austrian general, was already a legend in his lifetime. He served in the Austrian Army and was adjutant of the field marshal Laudon. He was promoted during the Napoleonic wars. In 1829 he became commander of the Olomouc fortress. He stayed in Edelmann‘s Palace, where a memorial plaque has been placed since 1892.
Josef Bryks was born in Lašťany near Olomouc in 1916. He served as a lieutenant in the No. 33 Squadron in Olomouc in the forties. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his participation in the Battle of Britain. After February 1948 he was accused of treason and sentenced to 30 years in prison. In 1991 he was posthumously promoted to the rank of colonel. Josef Bryks has a memorial plaque in Lašťany by Olomouc.
The heraldist and soldier Jiří Louda has been a prominent Olomouc personality for decades. He was active in the Czech resistance on the Western Front and is the author of the conception of the Coat of Arms of the Czech Republic and Coat of Arms of many Czech towns. Jiří Louda also recently adapted the Olomouc coat of arms newly with letters SPQO and created the coat of arms of the Olomouc region.