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
E-mail: [email protected]
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 pilgrimage site Svatý Kopeček (The Holy Hill) is part of the city of Olomouc. It is located about 8 km from the Olomouc city centre. Today's pilgrimage area on the Holy Hill with a residence and a cloister was built on a traditional pilgrimage place. A small chapel was built here around 1632. According to legend it was founded by an Olomouc citizen and wine merchant Jan Andrýsek. He was asked in a dream by the Virgin Mary to build the chapel.
On the place of the former chapel, a monumental Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Marygrew in the years 1669-1679 according to the plans of the architect G.P. Tencallo. In the years 1714-1721 the present residence area was constructed to the plans of D. Martinelli and the entire complex was completed by the cloister and the Chapel of the Virgin Mary.
The Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary is unique for its orientation. The main axis is not directed from east to west, but the church is rotated with its front to the “mother convent” Hradisko. The priest who blessed the faithful from the altar blessed so by open doors the monastery as well. Today, the fame of the pilgrimage site has been restored and every year unforgettable pilgrimages, worships and church concerts are held here. The church was elevated by Pope John Paul II. to Minor Basilica in1995. The church with its side wings and a four-row linden alley makes a cross visible from far away.
Near The Holy Hill (300 m) there is the Olomouc Zoo, interesting through its large collection of sea animals - sharks, piranhas, coral fish and others.
On the Zoo grounds, there is also an iron lookout tower (32 m high) from which you can see Olomouc and part of the Haná region. On a particularly clear day you can see a large part of Moravia.