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Olomouc

Olomouc is a city in Moravia situated on the Morava river in the heart of the so-called Haná region. It has a population of over 100,000 inhabitants. The city is one of the main Moravian administrative centers, so it has well-developed public sector. Recently it has also become a regional shopping center due to arrival of numerous retail chains. Also considerable development in sphere of culture, accommodation, dining and tourism can be clearly seen there. Besides, Olomouc is the ecclesiastical metropolis of Moravia.

Olomouc is one of the oldest Czech cities. Archeologists suppose that it was founded on a site of a Roman military camp and its name has Latin origin. As early as the 9th and the beginning of the 10th century it had already been an important center of the Great Moravian Empire. For the long period it used to be the capital of Moravia and place of residence of bishop and later archbishop.

Since the Middle Ages Olomouc was under rather strong German influence. So the architecture has some German traces there. However, official documents there were written mostly in Czech until the 19th century when the national language went into temporary decline. As the cultural, administrative and religious center of the region, it attracted craftsmen, musician, artists and merchants from all over Europe. So it was kind of melting pot where elements of Czech, Austrian, German and other European cultures created some very fascinating fusion although at times some ethnical tensions used to arise (especially between German and Czech communities).

Despite its rich historical and cultural heritage and undisputed charm, Olomous is not so well promoted as known tourists meccas such as Prague, Český Krumlov and Karlovy Vary. And it is a shame, because this ancient city has a lot to be proud of. Its inner city is the second-largest historical monuments preserve in the country along with Prague. Olomouc is also a home to the ancient Palacký University founded in 1573. The university contributed and still contributes immensely to region’s cultural and scientific development.

Olomouc distinguishes by its prominent and very beautiful architectural monuments. The city’s main square is decorated by 35-meter high Holy Trinity Column constructed between 1716–1754. The Column is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Saint Wenceslas cathedral is the most noticeable church in Olomouc. During its long history the church had been rebuilt many times, for the last time it was reconstructed in neo-Gothic style in the 19th century. The cathedral is situated next to the Romanesque Bishop’s Palace built in the 12th century.

Some more fine example of Olomouc architecture are the Saint Moritz Church and the Saint Michael’s Church as well as a neo-baroque chapel of Saint John Sarkander located on the place of former town prison. Six Baroque fountains survived due to cautious policy of the city council are also significant city’s place of interest. They are decorated in ancient Roman style - five of them portray major Roman gods and heroes (Jupiter, Mercury, Triton, Neptune and Hercules) and the last one is dedicated to the legendary emperor Julius Caesar, thought to be possible city’s founder.

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