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.
The Bezruč Park was set up at the turn of the century (1898) when the first garden adjustments were made. Due to leaking sewage from houses standing on the medieval and Theresian city walls, catastrophic hygienic conditions prevailed beneath the walls as late as the 1830s.
The change occurred only in 1835 after construction of a sewerage system and a subsequent construction of a promenade path that passes through the park today. When creating and renovating the park, the architects managed very well to take advantage of the local scenery landscape – rocks, city walls and the Morava river branch, the Mill Creek, which forms a watershed between the park and the fenced part of the Botanic Garden. The tree layer consists of common tree species. Groups of slim Serbian spruces (Picea omorika) are of more recent date. Banks of the Morava are covered by a continuous growth of low forms of yew.
As for the original species of our flora, the ivy-leaved toadflax grows on the rocks.
In the Bezruč Park, there is a Mausoleum of Yugoslav Soldiers containing remains of Yugoslav soldiers killed in Moravia and Silesia in the First World War. The eleven meters high building in an antique-style décor designed by architect Hubert Aust from Olomouc was built in 1926 on land that was donated by the city of Olomouc to the then Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Memorial of Petr Bezruč by Olomouc-based sculptors Rudolf Doležal, Karel Lenhart and Vojtěch Hořínek was unveiled in 1947.
The Botanic Garden, part of the Bezruč Park, was established due to the intention to extend the outdoor grounds of the Exhibition Centre as far as the Crown Fortress (in the 1960s). In the 1970s, a new park began to emerge here representing progressive horticultural plans. Thanks to the concept that was different from that which characterizes the historic parks, its territory is divided into smaller units, including the so-called National Gardens, Alpinum and Rosarium with a unique collection of 10,000 rose bushes in more than 670 domestic and international varieties.