There are cities you visit and the memories go away within a few weeks. There are several destinations where you’d like to go back to. And then there are places that you fall for immediately that will not let you go. Olomouc is one of these places, a city that captivates with its unique atmosphere. Olomouc is more than a thousand years old and currently the fifth largest city in the Czech Republic. It is situated in Central Moravia on the rivers Morava and Bystřice. It has been an important centre during different historical periods, was the capital of Moravia until The Thirty Years War and has been an archbishop‘s seat since 1777. Nowadays Olomouc is an important industrial town, transport crossroads and centre of education.
Thanks to its rich history, there is wonderfully complex display of historical memorials, ancient churches, fountains, and romantic streets accompanied by the gorgeous scenery of the city parks. There are simply a lot of beautiful places in Olomouc which you must see. The highlight is definitely the historical city centre, which has the status of an architecture conservation area and is the second most important one after Prague. The Holy Trinity Column on Horní náměstí (Upper Square) has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000 and it is the highest column in the Czech Republic. You can admire a lot of churches and cathedrals throughout the entire downtown area, for example St Michael’s Church, St Wenceslas Cathedral or St Moritz Church with a nice view from its tower. A good idea is to make a trip to Svatý Kopeček (The Holy Hill) as well – there is a convenient bus connection. The place provides a charming view of the whole city and is home to the wonderful Basilica of Virgin Mary from the 17th century. Pope John Paul II gave a mass here during his visit to Olomouc in 1995. You can also visit the Svatý Kopeček zoo which is open daily.
Besides the food industry, engineering and pharmaceutical firms, there are important cultural institutions in Olomouc, such as the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moravian Theatre, the State Deposit Library, the museum, the Archives, and last, but not least – Palacký University.
It is the university coupled with a great number of other educational institutions that makes Olomouc the top student city in the Czech Republic – simply because every fifth person in the city is a student! The conservation part of the city is home to over 23,000 students from all over the world, who prove every single day that there is a reason why Olomouc is referred to as the Czech Oxford. Students are literally all over the place, which only highlights the friendly or even family-like atmosphere of the city, which you will fall in love with at first sight.
The leading traveller guide Lonely Planet has ranked Olomouc for two years in a row among the top ten European destinations, claiming that: “Olomouc is one of the Czech Republic’s most under-rated destinations, with a great nightlife scene and a mini-Prague feel.” Dozens of parks, cafes, mysterious nooks, theatres, diverse music clubs and varied sports centres will all be at your fingertips. Add the fact that music, theatre, and film festivals are held here almost every week and you can rest assured that the city will stay in your heart months, or even years, after your studies in Olomouc are over; you will always be happy to come back.
Have a look at YouTube: “Olomouc-University City” the official spot created in cooperation with Palacký University and Olomouc city. For more information, visit the visitor centre and its official page: www.tourism.olomouc.eu, www.olomouc.cz, www.zoo-olomouc.cz.
A great map of Olomouc specifically made for international students is available at www.esnup.upol.cz.