20 Trips from Prague
21
of its historical and artistic value, the
column was inscribed on the UNESCO
World Heritage List. Its height and
monumentality will impress you at first
sight. It is so large that it even contains
a small chapel.
About five kilometres northeast
of Olomouc lies the large pilgrimage
site of Holy Hill (Svatý Kopeček),
which is a destination of pilgrims
and admirers of Baroque beauty alike.
You can visit the elegant Basilica
of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary,
which Pope John Paul II elevated
to a basilica minor during his visit
in 1995. Also be sure to visit the local
zoo with a lookout tower, fromwhich
you will have animals, the basilica and
Olomouc at your fingertips.
You should also taste the local
specialty – the famous Olomouc
tvarůžky. It is a ripened cheese
which is completely unique
in its zingy flavour and characteristic
aroma.
The famous composer and conductor
Gustav Mahler stayed in Olomouc
in 1882. Mahler is also associated with
one of the houses on the square, which
now houses a café bearing his name.
GPS: 49°35‘30.831“N, 17°16‘43.764“E
280 km; 2 hours 40minutes.
Direct connections from
the Main Railway Station leave twice
an hour; journey time approximately
2 hours 20minutes.
Olomouc
Since the Middle Ages, Olomouc has
been the stage for major events in Czech
history and is the traditional spiritual
and historical centre of Moravia. After
Prague, it is the second most significant
urban conservation area in the country.
Today, it is also a lively university town
with a picturesque historical centre full
of pleasant nooks, Baroque fountains and
cosy cafés. More than 100,000 visitors
come to Olomouc each year, and if you
are not yet among them, it’s time
to do something about it!
Start your tour with the towers
of the St. Wenceslas Cathedral, then visit
a treasury of art and ecclesiastical works,
explore the nearby underground, or learn
about the history of the foundations
of the Přemyslid Royal Palace. On the
upper square, Horní náměstí, direct
your gaze up to the Holy Trinity Column,
a UNESCO monument. On the same
square stands the Town Hall from 1378
with an astronomical clock designed
in the spirit of Socialist Realism, which,
after Prague’s Old Town Orloj,
is the second largest astronomical clock
in the country. Be sure not to miss
the symbol of ecclesiastical power,
the Archbishop’s Palace, which will
dazzle you with the splendour of its halls.
The city of Olomouc was protected
by a unique system of fortifications,
consisting of twenty forts and other
military objects. During the Napoleonic
Wars, General Lafayette was imprisoned
here and Marshal Suvorov stayed
here. Now they are connected
by a 30-kilometre educational trail
for hikers and cyclists.
Reason to visit
The pride of Olomouc is the Holy
Trinity Column, which was consecrated
in 1754 in the presence of Empress
Maria Theresa. The column represents
the largest grouping of Baroque
statues in Central Europe. Because
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