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.
St Wenceslas' Cathedral with its two-tower face is an integral part of the city skyline. The third, the southern tower standing 100.65 meters high, is the tallest church tower in Moravia (and the second highest in the country). The three-naved hall of the church comes from the original medieval layout.
The Appanage Prince Svatopluk commenced the construction of the Cathedral in 1104-1107. His son Wenceslas continued with the construction and handed over the unfinished building to Olomouc Bishop Jindřich Zdík before his death. The unfinished building was consecrated in 1131. It was completed in 1141 and it became an episcopal Church. The original three-nave Romanesque basilica has undergone numerous modifications and reconstructions. The cathedral was completely rebuilt into a Gothic style after a fire in 1265.
Gothic pillars of the three-nave hall originate from the 13th century. A large presbytery with dimensions of 35 x 23 meters was created as part of an early Baroque building. It got - indeed, like the whole interior and exterior of the building – a Neo-Gothic appearance at the end of the19th century. Under the presbytery there is a crypt accessible by two side staircases. On the south side of the church there is an entrance to the Mannerist St Stanislaus' Chapel. Tombstones from the 16th and 17th centuries are situated on each side of this entrance. A shrine with the relics of St. Jan Sarkander canonized by Pope John Paul II. in 1995, is placed at a Neo-Gothic altar beside one of the pillars. The cathedral’s organ is one of the finest Romantic period instruments in the Czech Republic.