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 visit of Mother Teresa in 1993 and Pope John Paul II. in 1995 are evidence of the lasting importance of Olomouc as a religious centre.
THE SPIRITUAL CENTRE OF MORAVIA, FILLED WITH SUPERB CHURCHES AND MASTERWORKS
Olomouc is exceptional in its concentration of churches, chapels, palaces and monasteries within a single location. As the spiritual metropolis of Moravia for one thousand years, the town offers a uniquely magical atmosphere.
The stateliness of the neo-gothic St.Wenceslas Cathedral, with the tallest church spire in Moravia and the second tallest in the Czech Republic, is heightened further by the important historical events which took place on this site. The almost one thousand year old Romanesque Bishop's Palace blends into the unique complex of theArchdiocesan Museum, the interiors of which are decorated by treasures and works of art from the collections of the Olomouc bishops and archbishops.
Church of St. Maurice contains the second largest organ in Central Europe, and its monumental medieval tower provides a superb view of the city. Undoubtedly a huge tourist attraction is the Archbishop's Palace, the site of the coronation of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I. The preserved rack in the chapel of St John Sarkander is a reminder of the torture of the priest, who was canonised here by Pope John Paul II. in 1995.
The town is dominated by the unique Olomouc baroque style. The superb St Michael´s church, the Holy Trinity Column and the complex of the Jesuit school and church are amongst the most striking features. Due to its size and grandeur the Hradisko monastery is known as the “Moravian Escorial”. The basilica at Svatý Kopeček is a magical location at the foot of the Jeseníky mountains, with a view of the fertile Haná plain, which was visited by Pope John Paul II. in 1995.