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 Crown Fortress is a very well preserved and complete part of the former bastion fortress of Olomouc. Its construction started in 1754. The redoubt consists of one five-sided bastion No. 24 and two half-bastions No. 25 and 23. The curtain wall between the bastion No. 25 and 24 is penetrated by an entrance gate. A Baroque gunpowder magazine and a torso of an Empire style guardhouse are to be seen here. In the mid-19th century its interior was complemented by two large artillery laboratories. The Crown Fortress served as a special entrance to the city with gardens and an alley along a road leading to the town centre.
After the abolition of the Olomouc Fortress, the Crown Fortress remained in the hands of the army, but was open to the needs of city residents as an outdoor place for drying laundry.
The Crown Fortress was definitely closed to the public after 1945. In the next years, it served the army as special storage premises. A part of it got integrated in the Botanical Garden and the Rose garden in 1967. By the end of the 20th century, the army returned it back to the city. Since February 2008 the complex is managed by the non-governmental organization Museum of Olomouc Fortress.
EXPOSITION AT THE POWDER HOUSE
A new exhibition has been launched at the Powder House (a gunpowder magazine). Those interested in military history will get to know about the construction of the Olomouc Fortress and its appearance during its active years and about preserved military buildings in the city and in its surrounding area. There are photographs, drawings, military maps and archaeological findings on display. On the first floor, there is a plaster model of the Olomouc Fortress in the 18th century by an academic sculptor, Jiří Žlebek. The building of the Powder House itself is unique in the Czech Republic.
April – October
Tuesday - Sunday 9 – 17
closed on Monday
November – March
Telephone pre-booking essential
(+420 725 250 215, +420 604 183 977)
Last tour at 16:30
Full: CZK 60
Reduced: CZK 30
(children 6 -15 years, seniors over 65, students, disabled persons - ZTP, ZTP / P)
Family I: CZK 120
(2 adults + 1 child from 6 to 15 years)
Family II: CZK 150
(2 adults + 2-3 children from 6 to 15 years)
At the end of 2014, a new interactive museum will open in a redoubt called the Fortress of Knowledge. Its expositions with more than 200 original exhibits will take you to the mysterious recesses of science. The museum will also include the first planetarium in the region. There will be information terminals with touchscreens and applications for smartphones and tablets, laboratories, ateliers and studios, as well as other state of the art technology. The premises are also intended for both school and after-school activities of pupils and students from far and wide, for parents or grandparents with children and for tourists from home and abroad.
The realization currently employs a team of experts from the Palacky University in Olomouc. The museum will be the first centre of science and research popularization in central Moravia. It will also host festivals and other successful events held by the Palacky University: Academia Film Olomouc, Science and Research Fair and children's summer schools.