Festival city Olomouc
Olomouc is an academic city with rich culture tradition. Nowadays it is the centre of Olomouc region and historical capital city of Moravia. There is around 110 000 people living in the city, which makes it the 6th largest city in the Czech Republic. Olomouc is also residency of catholic archbishopric.
Whole historical centre is a considered as the second most important in the Czech Republic (after Prague). Dominant feature of historical center is the town hall with very beautiful and unique astronomical clock.
The city of Olomouc is a very popular touristic destination and culture centre because of its historical atmosphere and important events. Traditionally the festival of documentary movies called Academia Film Olomouc takes place in the city. Other important culture events are International organ music festival Olomouc, festival Colores Flamencos or International music festival Dvořákova Olomouc. Very important part of culture life in Olomouc are events organised by Festa Musicale. The most important is International choir competition Festival of Songs with more than 40-years tradition. Others are festival of religious music Musica Religiosa and new International Christmas choir festival Natale Festa Corale.
Olomouc was an important centre of the Great Moravian Empire during the 9th and early in the 10th century. Later it became for long time the capital of the province of Moravia. The bishopric of Olomouc was founded in 1063, and raised to the rank of an archbishopric in the year of 1777.
In 1306 King Wenceslas III stopped here on his way to Poland, but here he was assassinated. With his death the whole Přemyslid dynasty died out.
During the Second World War II. (1939–1945), most of the towns’ German residents sided with the Nazis and the Germans run town council renamed the main square after Adolf Hitler. The Czech residents changed the name again after the town was liberated in 1945.
When the retreating German army passed through Olomouc in the final weeks of the war they opened fire on the town’s old astronomical clock), leaving only a few pieces (the rest of authentic clock can be seen in the local museum).
In 1950s Communist renewed astronomical clock but it features a procession of proletarians rather than saints. Most of the German-speaking population was expelled after the war.
The principal secular building in is the town hall, completed in the 15th century, flanked on one side by a Gothic chapel, transformed now into a museum. This museum possesses a tower with an astronomical clock.
Olomouc possesses six Baroque fountains. The fountains survived thanks to cautious policy of the city council. While most European cities were removing old fountains after they had built their water supply piping, Olomouc decided to keep them as water reservoirs in case of fire. For their decoration ancient Roman depiction was used. Five of them depict Roman gods such as Jupiter, Mercury, Neptune, Triton, and Hercules, and one depicts Julius Caesar.
The most prominent church is the St. Wenceslas cathedral. In the end of the 19th century was rebuilt in neo-Gothic style, but it kept many parts from the original church, which had also been rebuilt many times (Romanesque crypt, Gothic cloister, Baroque chapels). The church neighbors with the Bishop’s Palace, a 12th century Romanesque building. Visiting the St. Maurice church, a fine Gothic building of the 15th century, and the St. Michael church are also recommended. The Neo-baroque chapel of St. John Sarkander stands on the place of a former town prison. Catholic priest John Sarkander was imprisoned here in the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War. Other churches to see: the St. Maria church, the St. Mary Snow church etc.
SIGHTSEEING RELATED TO MUSIC
W. A. Mozart´s memorial tablet reminding his stay in Olomouc during the smallpox epidemy in 18th century. You can also visit G. Mahler’s house and also Engler’s organ located in the St. Maurice church.