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.
A pot of the Globular Amphora Culture, middle of the 3rd millenium BC, site Olomouc-Horní lán (Archeologické centrum Olomouc).
The earliest settlement in what is now the city of Olomouc is evidenced by archeological findings from prehistoric times. The first traces of settlement in the city proper date back to the Old Stone Age (Paleolithic).
Stone tools found on the territory of Olomouc are estimated to be 10-40 thousand years old. Fertile soils in the surrounding area provided good conditions for settlement of farmers already in the Early Stone Age. Excavations have shown continuous settlement from the New Stone Age (4th millennium BC). Earlier archaeological discoveries include finds from a site of volute pottery culture (Early Neolithic, 6th millennium BC). The latest studies also demonstrate the presence of Celtic and Germanic tribes within the area of the city.
Perhaps the most important discovery in recent years, which will change the existing texts in history books, is the finding of the remains of a Roman marching camp from the second half of the 2nd century AD, i.e. from the time of Marcomannic Wars, in Olomouc - Neředín. The northernmost point of the Roman penetration on the territory of the then barbaric Central Europe behind the Danube has thus moved from Trenčín and Mušov to Olomouc. Great Moravian settlements have been excavated by archaeologists in Olomouc at several places. Findings from the Peter’s Hill have even showed a close relationship between the Olomouc settlement and Mikulčice - the centre of the Great Moravian Empire.
Trade routes played an important role in the development of the city. Location on the southern branch of the Eurasian trade road led to a rapid growth of economic and political importance from the mid-10th century. The choice of the first Moravian residence of the Czech rulers, after annexation of Moravia to the Přemyslid state, thus naturally fell on Olomouc.