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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Town Hall
Coat of arms
Country  Czech Republic
Region Olomouc
District Olomouc
River Morava
Elevation 219 m (719 ft)
Coordinates 49°35′38″N 17°15′3″E / 49.59389°N 17.25083°E / 49.59389; 17.25083
Area 103.36 km2 (39.91 sq mi)
Population 110,381 (As of 2006)
Density 1,068 /km2 (2,766 /sq mi)
Founded 10th century
 - First mentioned 1017
Mayor Martin Novotný
Postal code 779 00
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Name Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc
Year 2000 (#24)
Number 859
Region Europe and North America
Criteria i, iv
Location in the Czech Republic
Location in the Czech Republic
Wikimedia Commons: Olomouc

Olomouc (Czech pronunciation: [ˈolomoʊ̯ts]; local Haná dialect Olomóc or Holomóc, German Olmütz, Polish Ołomuniec, Latin Eburum or Olomucium) is a city in Moravia, in the east of the Czech Republic. The city is located on the Morava river and is the ecclesiastical metropolis of Moravia.


Architecture of Olomouc

town hall with astronomical clock

Olomouc contains several large squares, the chief of which is adorned with Holy Trinity Column, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The column is 115 ft (35 m) high and was built in 1716–1754.

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 328 ft (100 m) The church neighbours with the Romanesque Bishop’s Palace (often incorrectly called the Přemyslid Palace), a 12th century Romanesque building. (image) 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 250 ft (76 m) 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 (image), Mercury (image), Triton (image), Neptune (image) and Hercules (image), and one depicts Julius Caesar, the legendary founder of the city. (image)

There are few monasteries in Olomouc, including Hradisko Monastery, Convent of Dominican Sisters in Olomouc and others.


Olomouc is said to occupy a site of a Roman fort founded in the imperial period, the original name of which, Mons Julii, would have been gradually corrupted to the present form. Though this is just a legend, archaeological excavations revealed remains of a Roman military camp from the time of Marcoman Wars close to the city.

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. In 906 the first Jews settled in Olomouc. In 1060 they were forced into a ghetto and instructed to wear a yellow badge. 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 church 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).

In 1454 the Jews of Olomouc were expelled. Later in the second half of the fifteenth century is what can be viewed as the start of Olomouc's golden age. 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.

Olomouc fortress in 1686
Olomouc bastion fortress in 1757

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.[1] After the revolution in 1848, the Jewish expulsion order of 1454 was rescinded. In 1897 a synagogue was built and the Jewish population reached 1,676 in 1900. Olomouc was enclosed with city walls almost until the end of the 19th century. This suited the city council, because demolishing the walls would allow for extension of the city, which would result in the settlement of many 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). On Kristallnacht on November 10, 1938, the synagogue was destroyed and in March 1939, 800 Jewish men were arrested, some being sent to Dachau concentration camp. During 1942-1943, the remaining Jews were sent to Theresienstadt and other German concentration camps in occupied Poland. 285 of the towns Jews survived the Holocaust. During the war 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.[2] Another notable son of Olomouc is football coach Karel Brückner, formerly head coach of the Czech national team and later head coach of Austria.


The main football club is SK Sigma Olomouc.

  • SK Sigma Olomouc - football club
  • HC Olomouc - hockey club [1] (Czech)
  • Skokani Olomouc - baseball club
  • 1. HFK Olomouc - football club
  • DHK Olomouc - women handball club [2] (Czech)
  • AK Olomouc - athletic club [3] (Czech)

International relations


Twin towns — Sister cities

Olomouc is twinned with:


See also


  1. ^ Tichák, Milan (1997). Vzpomínky na starou Olomouc. Olomouc: Votobia. pp. 13. ISBN 80-7198-184-2.  
  2. ^ Last year, after research in various archives, Bernd Herzogenrath located the address where Ulmer was born in Olomouc. In 1904, the address was known as “Resselgasse 1, Ort Neugasse.” Today, the name is Resslova 1. A memorial plaque, designed by artist Bohumil Teplý, commemorating Ulmer's birth home was unveiled on Sept 17, 2006, on the occasion of the Ulmerfest 2006 - the First Academic Conference devoted to Ulmer's work. His daughter Arianné Ulmer-Cipes and her family were present at the event.

External links



1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

OLMUTZ (Czech, Olomouc or Holomauc), a town of Austria, in Moravia, 67 m. N.E. of Briinn by rail. Pop. (1900) 21,933, of which two-thirds are Germans. It is situated on the March, and is the ecclesiastical metropolis of Moravia. Until 1886 Olmiitz was one of the strongest fortresses of Austria, but the fortifications have been removed, and their place is occupied by a town park, gardens and promenades. Like most Slavonic towns, it contains several large squares, the chief of which is adorned with a trinity column, 115 ft. high, erected in 1740. The most prominent church is the cathedral, a Gothic building of the 14th century, restored in 1883-1886, with a tower 328 ft. high and the biggest church-bell in Moravia. It contains the tomb of King Wenceslaus III., who was murdered here in 1306. The Mauritius church, a fine Gothic building of the 15th century, and the St Michael church are also worth mentioning. 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 250 ft. high, adorned with an astronomical clock, an artistic and famous work, executed by Anton Pohl in 1422. The old university, founded in 1570 and suppressed in 1858, is now represented by a theological seminary, which contains a very valuable library and an important collection of manuscripts and early prints. Olmiitz is an important railway junction, and is the emporium of a busy mining and industrial district. Its industries include brewing and distilling and the manufacture of malt, sugar and starch.

Olmiitz is said to occupy the site of a Roman fort founded in the imperial period, the original name of which, Mons Julii, has been gradually corrupted to the present form. At a later period Olmiitz was long the capital of the Slavonic kingdom of Moravia, but it ceded that position to Briinn in 1640. The Mongols were defeated here in 1241 by Yaroslav von Sternberg. During the Thirty Years' War it was occupied by the Swedes for eight years. The town was originally fortified by Maria Theresa during the wars with Frederick the Great, who besieged the town unsuccessfully for seven weeks in 1758. In 1848 Olmiitz was the scene of the emperor Ferdinand's abdication, and in 1850 an important conference took place here between Austrian and German statesmen. The bishopric of Olmiitz was founded in 1073, and raised to the rank of an archbishopric in 1777. The bishops were created princes of the empire in 1588. The archbishop is the only one in the Austrian empire who is elected by the cathedral chapter.

See W. Muller, Geschichte der kiiniglichen Hauptstadt Olmiitz (2nd ed., Olmiitz, 1895).

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