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.
Nördlingen ranks among the cities with which Olomouc keeps the longest and most active partnership. Though compared to the Moravian metropolis it only has about a fifth of its population, it stands out for its many historic sights. Nördlingen is a small historic town with 20 thousand inhabitants located in the federal state of Bavaria near the border with Baden-Württemberg on the so called Romantic Road.
The region, in which Nördlingen is located, is called Donau-Ries by the Danube River and the Ries crater that was created by a meteorite impact in this area 15 million years ago. This area was inhabited in the Stone Age already and in the first and third century AD, a Roman settlement was established here. From the 13th century, the town saw steady growth thanks to the granting of rights of free imperial city. Since the 14th century the town has had a complete system of fortifications with eleven defensive towers, an old bastion and walls with a walkway. They have been preserved until today, which makes Nördlingen exceptional throughout Germany. With its flourishing trade and crafts the town had belonged to the most important German cities until the Thirty Years' War.
Both cities have established links shortly after the revolution in 1989. This was greatly influenced by Nördlingen’s patronage over the Patriotic Union of Olomouc and Central Moravia which brings together Germans displaced after World War II from our region. Its archive is of important help for Olomouc historians working on the upcoming Great history of Olomouc. The residents of the town and the whole region always show considerable interest in Olomouc. This is evidenced by, for example, the fact that you will find even an Olomouc Street and an Olomouc fountain in Nördlingen.
The town centre is dominated by the parish Church of St. George from the 15th century with its well known, 19-meter-high tower called Daniel overlooking the entire city. Nördlingen is characterized by the half-timbered architecture - historic buildings in the city centre, such as Tanzhaus, Leihhaus, Town Hall and the original Klösterle monastery later converted into a granary and now serving as a town hall auditorium and a hotel with a restaurant. Worth visiting is the unique geological Rieskrater Museum documenting the impact of the meteorite in this area, as well as the Nördlingen city museum and the city wall museum.
Official mutual visits of city officials are complemented with cultural exchanges. The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Olomouc and e.g. the Věrovanka band both have performed in Nördlingen and vice versa the Nördlingen Municipal Band has performed in Olomouc. Representatives of the Regional Museum and the State District Archive undertook a traineeship in Nördlingen in recent years. There is a flourishing collaboration between artists of both cities. While the German side presented itself at the Freska symposium in Náměšt na Hané and repeatedly via exhibitions in Olomouc galleries, the same space has been given to Olomouc artists in Nördlingen. Students of the Nördlingen Economic High School and Olomouc Business College take part in exchange programs. A travel agency in Nördlingen offers tours to the Moravian metropolis. The Nördlingen town council together with local companies has sponsored planting of two trees in Olomouc parks.