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.
Geographically, the outermost of all the towns that maintain partnerships with Olomouc is the U.S. city of Owensboro. Cooperation between the two cities began in late 1993. In June 1994, the Sister Cities Charter was officially handed over to the city of Olomouc.
Owensboro, the third largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, has over 57,000 inhabitants. The first mention of its existence comes from the year 1798 and in 1866, it was incorporated as a City of Owensboro. Owensboro is located on the banks of the Ohio River, in a coal basin in the western part of the state. The city is often referred to as the „cradle of industry ". The city has developed a range of industries, such as steel, mining, paper and food processing industries, such as the distilling industry (the famous Kentucky whiskey).Owensboro is also a centre of art and culture. There is the second largest art museum in Kentucky as well as a large Natural Sciences Museum introducing the structure of our planet, the history of Native American civilization and archaeology. Owensboro is also often called the "city of festivals". Very popular is the international Bar-B-Q Festival held in May and attended by about 40,000 people every year. The July Summer Festival brings concerts of popular music performed by the local symphony orchestra. The city is also a "bluegrass" centre with an international festival of this musical genre taking place every September. The important cultural centres in the city include the River Park Centre with a hall for 1500 people. In the city there are 20 parks with 32 tennis courts available, a variety of golf clubs and a number of courses for the popular softball and basketball. Near the city, regular horse-racing takes place.
Olomouc collaborates with Owensboro on all sorts of levels, but students and scouts are the most active in this regard. In Owensboro there are several colleges, of which the most known are Brescia College, Kentucky Wesleyan College and Owensboro Community College. The month-long training course for 30 students from Owensboro and Western Kentucky in Olomouc is a traditional annual event which always takes place in June. During the week, students are having lessons by their own teachers who accompany them, while in the afternoons they explore Olomouc and its surroundings and on weekends historic cities like Vienna, Krakow, Budapest, Bratislava and Prague. High schools are actively involved in cooperation too. There are regular exchanges of high school students from Gymnázium Hejčín and in the past, Gymnázium Tchaikovsky was also involved.
Students of Caritas – College of Social Work in Olomouc and their counterparts from Owensboro take part in mutual internships focused on social work and education. In 2006, 15 Scouts from the Velký Týnec and Doloplazy attended a summer camp in Kentucky. Scout exchanges have been operating for several years now alternating on a yearly basis. In addition to scouting exchanges, official visits by representatives from both cities take place as well as city council staff internships and exchanges of visits between representatives of the police and the fire emergency forces. Both cities also promote each other in the area of tourism. Local artists perform regularly in Kentucky and doctors from the University Hospital in Olomouc participate in medical congresses in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2009, together with official representatives of the Olomouc city council, the 35-membered Ateneo University Choir visited Owensboro and performed at local schools, churches and at a regional autumn festival for almost three weeks.