The most prominent church is the Saint Wenceslas cathedral. In the end of the 19th century it 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 highest of its three spires is The church neighbours with the Romanesque Bishop’s Palace (often incorrectly called the Přemyslid Palace), a 12th century Romanesque building. Romansky sloh.jpg The real Přemyslid Palace, i.e. the residence of Olomouc members of the governing Přemyslid Dynasty, used to stand nearby.
The Saint Maurice Church, a fine Gothic building of the 15th century, and the Saint Michael’s Church are also worth mentioning. The Neo-baroque chapel of Saint 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. He was accused of collaboration with the enemy and tortured here, but did not reveal anything because of the Seal of Confession, and died. The torturing rack and Sarkander’s gravestone are preserved here. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II during his visit in Olomouc in 1995.
Another place that John Paul II visited here was Svatý Kopeček, a part of Olomouc lying on a hill, with the magnificent Baroque church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary looking down at the city. The Pope promoted the church to Minor Basilica.
The principal secular building is the town hall, completed in the 15th century, flanked on one side by a gothic chapel, transformed now into a museum. It possesses a tower high adorned with an astronomical clock.
The old university founded in 1573 and suppressed in 1860, was reopened in 1946 and called Palacký University.
Olomouc is also proud of its six Baroque fountains. The fountains survived in such a number 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 motifs were used. Five of them depict Roman gods Jupiter Jupiterova kasna detail.jpg, Mercury Mercury Fountain.jpg, Triton Kasna Tritonu.jpg, Neptune Neptun Fountain in Olomouc.jpg and Hercules Herkulova kasna.jpg, and one depicts Julius Caesar, the legendary founder of the city. Caesarova kasna.jpg
Since the 7th century there was a local power centre in the present-day quarter Povel. Olomouc was an important centre of the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th and early 10th century. The centre shifted to the area of Předhradí, a quarter of the inner city (Eastern, smaller part of the medieval centre). At a later period it was long the capital of the province of Moravia. The bishopric of Olomouc was re-founded in 1063 (there are references to bishops of Moravia in the 10th century), and raised to the rank of an archbishopric in 1777. The bishopric was moved from the church of St Peter (now non-existent) to the chruch of St Wenceslas in 1141 (the date is still disputed, other suggestions are 1131, 1134) under bishop Henry Zdík and the bishop's palace was built in Romanesque architectural style. The remnants of it are one of the most precious monuments of Olomouc; a bishop's palace, a secular building of that early age is unique in Central Europe. The bishopric acquired large tracts of land especially in northern Moravia and was one of the richest in the area.
Olomouc became one of the most important settlements in Moravia and a seat of the Přemyslid government, seat of one of the appanage princes. In 1306 King Wenceslas III stopped here on his way to Poland, where he wanted to fight Wladislaus I the Elbow-high to claim his rights to Polish crown, and was assassinated. With his death the whole Přemyslid dynasty died out.
The city itself was founded in mid-thirteenth century and became one of the most important trade and power centres in the region. In the Middle Ages it was the biggest town in Moravia and competed with Brno for the position of the capital. Olomouc lost finally after the Swedes took the city for eight years (1642-1650). Its golden age can be seen in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In the second half of the fifteenth century it hosted several royal meetings and Matthias Corvinus was elected here Czech king by the estates in 1469. In 1479 two kings of Bohemia (Vladislaus II and Matthias Corvinus) met here and concluded an agreement (Peace of Olomouc of 1479) for splitting the country.
During the Thirty Years' War, in 1640, Olomouc was occupied by the Swedes for eight years. They left the city in ruins and so it ceded its position to Brno. Olomouc was then fortified by Maria Theresa during the wars with Frederick the Great, who besieged the city unsuccessfully for seven weeks in 1758. In 1848 Olomouc was the scene of the emperor Ferdinand's abdication, and in 1850 an important conference between Austrian and German statesmen called Punctation of Olmütz took place here. At the conference German Confederation was restored and Prussia submitted its leadership to the Austrians.
Largely because of its ecclesiastical links to Austria, Salzburg in particular, the city had a German influence since the Middle Ages. It is difficult assess the ethnic makeup of the town before an accurate census was taken. However, official documents from the second half of the 16th century and early 17th century reveal that the town's ecclesiastical constitution, the meetings of the Diet and the locally printed hymnal, were all in the Czech language. Also, the first treatise on music in the Czech language was published in Olomouc in the mid 16th century. The political and social changes that followed the Thirty Years War increased the influence of courtly Habsburg culture. The "Germanification" of the town was probably more a result of the cosmopolitan environment of the town than by design. As the cultural, administrative and religious centre of the region, it drew officials, musicians and traders from all over Europe. Despite these influences, the Czech language still persisted, particularly in ecclesiastical publications throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. When the Austrian-born composer and musician Philip J. Rittler accepted a post at the Wenceslas Cathedral in the second half of the seventeenth century, he still felt it necessary to learn Czech. However, the use of the Czech language in official matters went into decline and by the 19th century, the official statistics record that the number of Germans was three times higher than the number of Czechs. Olomouc was enclosed with city walls almost until the end of the 19th century. This suited to the city council, because demolishing the walls would allow extending the city, which would result into settling a lot of Czechs from neighbouring villages. The city council preferred Olomouc smaller, but German. Expansion came after the WWI and establishing Czechoslovakia, when Olomouc integrated two neighbouring towns and 11 surrounding villages and thus gained new space for its growth.
There were serious tensions between the Czech and German-speaking inhabitants during both world wars (largely brought on by outside provocation). During World War II, most of the towns' German residents sided with the Nazis and the German-run town council renamed the main square after Adolf Hitler. The Czech residents changed the name again after the town was liberated. 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 (that can now be seen in the local museum). The one that can be seen today is a 1950s reconstruction and features a procession of proletarians rather than saints. Most of the German population was expelled after the war..
Despite its considerable charms, Olomouc has not been discovered by tourists in the same way that Prague, Český Krumlov and Karlovy Vary have. Its inner city is the second-largest historical monuments preserve in the country, after Prague.
One of Olomouc's famous sons was the film-maker Edgar G. Ulmer, who was born in Olomouc in 1904, but who always preferred to give Vienna as his birthplace, as this sounded less provincial. Another notable son of Olomouc is football coach Karel Brückner, formerly head coach of the Czech national team and now head coach of Austria.
Research from University of Olomouc, Department of Experimental Physics yields new findings on acoustics research.
Dec 28, 2010; Researchers detail in 'Electroglottographic wavegrams: a technique for visualizing vocal fold dynamics noninvasively,' new data...