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marianne Olomouc - A travel report by Marianne
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Olomouc,  Czech Republic - flag Czech Republic -  Olomoucky Kraj
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marianne's travel reports

Fountains Galore

  20 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4
Olomouc a city of cobblestoned streets, squares and fountains, reminders of the waters that once flowed through the city and supplied the inhabitants with drinking water.


Dolni Namesti
Dolni Namesti
Olomouc gets its fair share of tourists. No wonder, because the city is a showcase of baroque fountains and buidlings.

The fountains are fed by fresh water springs and were built in the 17th and 18th cent. Their purpose was to supply the city with drinking water and at the same time decorate the city with beautiful sculptures. Many other Czech cities had similar fountains, but after the cities got piped water the fountains were no longer needed and removed. However, the Olomouc authorities decided to preserve their fountains.

The latest fountain was built in the 1990s but is, of course, no longer needed for its water supply. Instead this fountain is a children's paddling pool in summer. Legend already has it that if you rub the turtle, one of the statues that make up the fountain, you will return to Olomouc.

One afternoon is more than enough to see the historic centre as it is compact and all tourist sights are within walking distance.

The train station is 2 km south of the centre. Tram numbers 1-2-5 or 6 run to the city centre. The tourist information is in Horni Namesti, the city's main square.

Olomouc is also a very green city because a ring of parks separates the historic centre from the newer suburbs. The parks follow the path of the fortifications which were built in the 18th century to protect the city from attacks. These days only 2 km of this defensive wall survive.

Favourite spots:
Trinity Column and Horni Namesti
Trinity Column and Horni Namesti


HORNI NAMESTI

The first thing in Horni Namesti we saw was the Holy Trinity Column. It is difficult not to see this 35m high Baroque sculpture which is said to be the largest of its kind in central Europe.

The base is large enough to house a (small) chapel. This can only be visited when accompanied by a guide (ask at the tourist office). The rest of the monument is a monumental medley of gold and grey, is free-of-charge and available round the clock.

The lower column depicts a group of saints and apostles and three allegorical figures representing Faith, Hope and Charity. The top part of the column is graced by the Holy Trinity covered in gold leaf.

What's really great:
Astronomical Clock
Astronomical Clock
The building with the slender spire in the middle of the square is the townhall and dates back to early 17th cent. Olomouc astronomical clock adorns one of its sides. Over the centuries it was remodelled several times to suit the taste of time.

The clock is similar to the one in Prague but with one difference; all representations of religion were removed in communist days. The monks, angels and saints were replaced by bare-chested labourers and muscular sports people. The background mosaic depicts a larger than life scientist and mechanic.

This 1950 re-design of the clock is in socialist-realism style. Each day at noon the blacksmiths indicate the hour by hammering 12 chimes. Next the proletariate figures begin their procession accomapnied by local tunes. The whole spectacle takes some 7 minutes. I liked this show better than the one-minute show of the astronomical clock in Prague. Not only because because the show is longer also because of the realism of the communist workers.

Sights:
Arion Fountain
Arion Fountain
Horni Namesti boasts three of the six Olomouc fountains.

Hercules Fountain is easy to recognise because of its statue of Hercules holding an eagle under his arm while warding off a many-headed monster with his other hand.

Caesar Fountain depicts Julius Caesar on horseback. At the base are two men each holding a pitcher from which water flows back into the fountain. At the back there is a seated dog. The sculpture is highly symbolic. Caesar founded Olomouc. The two water bearers represent the Morava and Danube rivers, the dog symbolises loyalty to the Emperor of Vienna.

Arion Fountain on the southern tip of the square is the most modern fountain, completed in 2002. Arion was a greek poet and musician who had become a rich man in Italy. When he returned home by boat, the sailors threw him overboard because they were greedy for his riches. Arion was rescued by dolphins who were enchanted by the song he sang before he was pushed into the sea.

Accommodations:
Hotel Sigma
Hotel Sigma
We stayed in Hotel Sigma. It is a 9-storey building right opposite the train station, but we almost missed it because the 'hotel' sign was very small. It is a 3* hotel and offered all that we expected: a spacious ensuite room, television (no English channels) and buffet breakfast.

The historical centre is 20 mins on foot. On leaving the hotel turn left, 1 Maje Street and follow the tram tracks over the Morava river and Bystrice, its tributary, past Namesti Republiky and Tritons fountain. Take either Ztracena Street or Ostruznica Street on the left and you will find yourself on Dolni Namesti.

If Hotel Sigma would have been fully booked (highly unlikely because it has a capacity of 172 beds) Pension Antica would have been our second choice. The pension is in a 13th century building, the rooms are furnished with period furniture. It is on #1 Wurmova, the third street on your left after crossing Bystrice river.

Nightlife:
Marian Plague Column
Marian Plague Column
Of the twelve churches we only visited the cathedral of St Wencelas, the country's national patron saint. It is a Gothic church with beautiful ornate altars. If you want to read a detailed description go to: http://www.olomouc-tourism.cz

This is site gives good information about Olomouc's monuments and museums. It also has a list of hotels and pensions.



DOLNI NAMESTI

This is the second most important square and surrounded by pastel-coloured houses. In summer there are various cafés and coffeebars in the middle of the square. The main monument in the square is the Marian Plague Column erected in memory of plague victims. It is flanked by two fountains.

Hangouts:
Mercury Fountain
Mercury Fountain
The Neptune fountain representing this sea god with a trident in his hand is surrounded by four sea horses half emerged in water.

The Jupiter fountain at the northern end of the square represents Jupiter, king of the gods.


*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***


Take Rijna street on the northern side of Horni Namesti. It will take you to the Mercury fountain, God of Trade, and Merchants and therefore very appropiately situated next to Prior Department Store.

At the entrance of Prior Department Store turn left into Kvetna Street, continue straight on and follow either Pekarska or Denisova Street until you get to Namesti Republiky and the last fountain: Tritons fountain.

The sculpture consists of two men-mermaids and two dolphins carrying shells with cherubs. The main statue is a boy holding a dog on a chain. The sculptor was inspired by Fontana del Tritone in Rome.


Restaurants:
Horni Namesti and the Town Hall
Horni Namesti and the Town Hall
There are lots of restaurants on the two main squares: Horni Namesti and Dolni Namesti.

Vegetarians have a hard time because Czech cuisine is meat, lots of meat, accompanied by sauerkraut and knedlíky or dumplings, either potato or bread dumplings.

Brambory means potato and was one of the first Czech words I learnt, closely followed by pivo, which means beer.

One of my favourites dishes was palacinky. These are crepes, and double as a main dish or a desert. As a main dish they are often filled with creamed spinach as a desert with jam or fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Another all time favourite is beef goulash with dumplings.



Other recommendations:
Olomouc travelogue picture


A closer look at the proletariate figures of the Olomouc astronomical clock.

Published on Monday November 6th, 2006


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Mon, Apr 30 2012 - 07:03 AM rating by louis

Another great report about Czech city. As I go there in two days, I found it very helpful

Tue, Feb 27 2007 - 04:45 PM rating by travler

This was very interesting and your pictures were marvelous.

Sun, Nov 12 2006 - 02:12 PM rating by st.vincent

Nice report on what looks like an interesting little town Marianne. As you say, the astronomical clock seems better than the one in Prague.

Wed, Nov 08 2006 - 09:09 AM rating by rangutan

Another excellent city tour.

Wed, Nov 08 2006 - 12:56 AM rating by eirekay

Marianne, this is a terrific report! Your walking tours are always so fantastic! Wonderfully done!

Mon, Nov 06 2006 - 06:51 PM rating by mistybleu

Nice report, I wish I could write such descriptive reports. Nice pictures as well. Amanda

Mon, Nov 06 2006 - 03:47 PM rating by davidx

Your reports get better and better - but you still can't have a rating better than 5*!

Mon, Nov 06 2006 - 02:44 PM rating by frenchfrog

Very nice report Marianne, lovely! Is is far from Prague? Very good In fo provided (as always!!).

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