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.
In 1867, a Jewish cemetery was founded in the neighborhood of Catholic and Protestant cemeteries in today’s Smetana Park, southwest of the city centre, near the medieval Jewish burial ground. Burials ceased here in 1900, at which time some of the tombstones were transferred to the new cemetery at Neredín.
Essentially, the only well-preserved, tangible monument of the Jewish community in Olomouc is the Jewish section of the municipal cemetery in Neředín. This cemetery, with a cohesive urban design, was established in 1900 and earmarked the whole eastern sector for Jewish graves. The new Jewish cemetery, with an area of 9,040 square meters, is dominated by a neo-Gothic ceremonial hall, whose facade is decorated with a metal Star of David and some traces of a Hebrew inscription. Commemorative plaques, placed originally in the interior and bearing the names of 1520 Jewish victims of the Second World War from Olomouc, have been transferred to the Jewish house of prayer at No.7 Komenský Street.
Around one thousand tombstones, ranging from simple headstones to the most ornate tombs, are found in regular groups. Tombstones of the modern type are made of light or dark granite, marble, and artificial stone, and feature austere decor and minimal symbolism, with German and Czech inscriptions. The opulent tombs are located primarily next to the ceremonial hall.
Also at the Neředín cemetery, there stands a stone memorial to the martyrs of Olomouc who fell victim to the Nazis, including the head precentor Berthold Wolf, the Religious Community chairman Dr. Ludvík Meissner, and the poet Vlastimil Artur Polák.
Both the memorial to the martyred Jews and the ceremonial hall are listed as protected monuments.