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 annexation of Moravia to the Bohemian Přemyslid state was an important historical point in the history of the city. Břetislav, the son of the Bohemian prince Oldřich, was the first Moravian appanage prince to settle in Olomouc in 1030.
Břetislav and his wife Jitka lived in Olomouc and their first son Spytihněv was born here as well. However, the first historical mention of the “Olomouc Castle” was recorded in the Cosmas Chronicle only in 1055. After this date, Olomouc became the centre of one of the three newly established Moravian appanage domains - Olomouc, Brno and Znojmo.
The Moravian diocese was founded in the early medieval Olomouc in 1063. The first independent monastery in Moravia followed in 1078. The monk Jan from Prague – Břevnov was the first bishop of Olomouc and the Prague Benedictines became the first inhabitants of the newly-founded monastery.
Jindřich Zdík, politician, diplomat and cultural figure, reputedly the son of the chronicler Cosmas and his wife Božetěcha, became the Olomouc Bishop in 1126. A new Bishop’s residence, completed in 1141, was built by artisans brought by Zdík from Palestine. Its preserved rich decoration has no parallel in the Czech Lands. In 1130, Prince Wenceslas entrusted Zdík with construction of the St.Wenceslas Cathedral, initiated prior to 1107 by Wenceslas father Svatopluk. Zdík relocated the episcopal see from the Church of St. Peter to the new Cathedral in 1141 and established here a cathedral chapter.