Olomouc is an old town in the Czech Republic that is really worth a visit, especially if you like slow and peaceful places that also have some spirit. It is located at the heart of Moravia about 250km east of Prague, 100km southwest of Ostrava and 100km northeast from Brno (the other main Czech cities) on one of the main east-west car routes and on the main east-west rail route.
A city of 100,000 on the river Morava, Olomouc is full of parks, fountains and history.
Places to Visit
Upper Square and Lower Square - The Upper is actually lower then the Lower, and they are both surrounded by great architecture.
Jazz Tibet Club - This is the place to hang out for live jazz performances, a cool atmosphere, and the world's prettiest girls, who may be kind enough to explain what Jazz, Tibet, and a medieval city in the Czech Republic have in common.
S-Club - This is where students from Palacky University have their oldies parties every Wednesday night, and where every Saturday night kids, who may or may not be from Palacky University, go to a disco.
City Hall - The original 14th Century building now has a neo-Gothic front and a 75m tower, which is open daily to the public for a small fee. It is the home of the famous Astronomical clock, which is almost certainly interesting enough to make anyone late.
Marian's Column - This monument was completed in 1723 to commemorate the last plague in Olomouc in 1715. It is located in Dolni Square.
The Natural Science Museum - This late Baroque building was a monastery and an artillery barracks before becoming a museum.
The Zoo - Just outside the town there exists a small zoo: too small for elephants, anyway.
Olomouc is a significant spot on the Catholic map of Europe. An archbishop resides there in the Archbishop's Palace, and the Pope made an important stop there at the Basilica at Svaty Kopecek, which is visible from higher places as a distant church on a hill. The St Wenceslas Cathedral, a tall structure near the centre of the city, can also be seen from far away. There are lots of churches all around the centre of the city. Some of the most important are:
- Dominican Church, consecrated in 1468
- St Anne's Chapel, built in 1614
- The Church of St Mary-in-the Snow, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture
- St Moritz's Church, a 14th Century Gothic building
- St Michael's Church, another example of Baroque extravagance
- Orthodox Church, a Byzantine-style building that looks like a cake
Olomouc Walking Tour
When you get tired of churches, go to the centre of the town, and then walk in just about any direction; you are almost bound to pass through one of the many beautiful city parks named after famous Czech artists. These green open spaces play the same important role in the lives of Olomouc's inhabitants as San Francisco's famous Golden Gate Park does in that city, although they are much smaller in scale. The biggest of the three main parks, named in honour of the great Bohemian composer Bedrich Smetana, is where you can find the Buildings of Flora - Olomouc's permanent botanic exhibition, which also hosts many other special events. Well worth a visit with a friend.
The best place to stay during the summer is the student dorms of Palacky University. Throughout the summer they serve as a hostel, and they are located close to just about everything that's likely to appear on a visitor's itinerary... with the exception of the zoo.