Moravia's most appealing city, the one-time provincial capital and archbishopric of Olomouc is second only to Prague in historical and architectural significance in the Czech Republic.
Lying along the Morava River 48 mi/75 km northeast of Brno, Olomouc features a cobblestoned historical center surrounded by a number of beautiful parks and dotted with several magnificent fountains. Its treasure trove of architectural delights is mainly baroque, though some Gothic and Renaissance examples survive.
The Town Hall contains an interesting Stalinist-era reconstruction of a medieval astronomical clock destroyed in World War II, complete with a frieze of proletariat workers and mechanical works. Next to the Town Hall stands the monumental Holy Trinity Column—erected in the first half of the 18th century, it is the largest in the Czech Republic. It is now a UNESCO-protected monument.
The city also boasts the largest Gothic church in Moravia, the Church of St. Maurice. It houses the republic's biggest organ, which is the focal point of the city's annual summer international organ festival. Other significant sites include the Municipal Museum and Art Gallery, the baroque St. Michael's church and the neo-baroque Sarkander Chapel.
The city is also famous for its floral and horticulture exhibitions and for its strong-smelling Olomouc cheese (tvaruzky). Hopping with university students during the school year, the town maintains a more relaxed tempo in summer.
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