Olomouc monuments

Olomouc

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Olomouc (102 thousand inhabitants) is one of the most important cities in the Czech Republic. Due to its rich history, time-honoured university, culture and crafts traditions, but above all its central location in Moravia, Olomouc has always been an attractive location for tourists, merchants, and businesspeople.

In according to its central location in the Czech Republic, motorway connections to Olomouc are excellent, and the completed motorway D11 and expressway R35 further strengthen and improve the importance of the city - the only Czech city outside of Prague on the intersection of two primary national and international motorways. From the economic perspective, Olomouc could be characterised as industrial, with a developing service industry.

Thanks to its fine location, economic traditions and skilled workforce, the city has strong growth potential. The city of Olomouc, and the entire region as well, is open to all who would like to take advantage of the comparative assets of this spot in the centre of Europe..

 

Caesar Fountain

Caesar Fountain

The Olomouc burgher and master stonemason Wenzel Render was assigned the construction of the fountain by the town council in the year 1725. Render consequently invited the young sculptor Johann Georg Schauberger to co-operate on the work. This talented young sculptor created the horseback sculpture of Caesar prior to his twenty-fifth birthday as his masterpiece.

 

Hercules Fountain

Hercules Fountain

The fountain was created by two artists, the Gdansk sculptor Michael Mandík and the Olomouc stonemason Wenzel Schüler, over the years 1687–1688 and it is the second oldest Olomouc fountain. It was originally located on the site of the Holy Trinity Column on the Upper Square. When beginning the column’s construction in the year 1716 the fountain was moved to its present location in front of the northern side of the Town Hall.

 

Jupiter Fountain

Jupiter Fountain

The sculpture of Jupiter replaced the original statue of Saint Florian. This statue and the fountain basin were the work of the master stonemason Wenzel Rendel from Olomouc. This change occurred in the year 1735 as a result of an effort to unify the thematic subjects of the sculptural parts of all the Olomouc Baroque fountains. With the exception of Florian Fountain, all of the other newly created fountains had sculptural depictions of figures from classical mythology. The employment of mythological themes at that time was connected with the celebration of secular power.

 

Marian Column

Marian Column

The Marian column was built over the years 1716–1723 in order to commemorate the victims of the plague from the years 1713-1715. The stone work was entrusted to Render’s workshop while the sculptural decoration was initially carried out by Render’s friend, the sculptor Johann Sturmer from Královec in Prussia. The work was later taken over by a young talented sculptor Tobias Schütz, of whom it is assumed that he worked in the workshop of Matthias Bernard Braun a famous sculptor working out of Bohemia prior to his arrival in Moravia. Schütz’s statues (St. Paula, St. Rosalia, St. Catherine, St. Barbara and St. Roch) are of high quality from an artistic perspective and bear signs typical for Braun’s work – a marked dynamism, open profiles and picturesque modelling of the figures.

The statue of St. Sebastian was damaged during the bombardment of the town by the Prussians in the year 1758 and had to be replaced. The original twisting column had to be replaced by a new copy during the last restoration work over the years 1985–1992 due to its poor condition.

 

Mercury Fountain

Mercury Fountain

The fountain came into being in the year 1727 as a result of co-operation between the Olomouc stonemason Wenzl Render and the sculptor Phillip Sattler from Tyrol. Phillip Sattler was one of the young artists connected with Wenzl Render who co-operated on renowned town projects.

 

The Holy Trinity Column

The Holy Trinity Column

The Holy Trinity Column came into existence at the initiative of the local master stonemason Wenzl Render who supervised the work from the year 1716 and even financed it at the beginning. By the time of his death in the year 1733  Render had managed to construct the first floor with the inner chapel. Participation on the part of a number of additional craftsmen and sculptors continued up until the year 1854. Apart from Philipp Sattler the main contributor to the sculptural work was Andreas Zahner. After its completion the column was consecrated by the Olomouc Bishop, Cardinal Troyer with the personal participation of the Empress Maria Theresa and her husband Francis I of Lorraine. The Holy Trinity Column is a monument of world renown and was registered onto the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage in the year 2000.

 

St. Wenceslas Cathedral

Katedrála sv. Václava

Construction on the Church of St. Wenceslas was begun prior to the year 1107 by the Olomouc Appanage Prince Svatopluk and the Church was consecrated in 1131 by Bishop Jindřich Zdík. Gothic reconstruction took place after a fire in 1204, from which the pillars and the hall character of the building are still left. Bishop Stanislaus Pavlovský had the St. Stanislaus Chapel built over the years 1582–1591 on the south side of the church. The beginnings of Baroque construction in the Czech Lands saw the building of an early Baroque presbytery over the years 1616–1618 carried out at the bequest of Cardinal Franz von Dietrichstein. The monumental impact of the presbytery with dimensions of 35 x 23 metres lost none of its effect even after the Neo-Gothic reconstruction of the Cathedral that took place in the years 1883–1888 as a result of the initiative of Archbishop Friedrich von Fürstenberg. The Archbishop’s head engineer Gustav Meretta designed and partially carried out the regothicization of the church. The Cathedral has been a Bishop or Archbishop church throughout the entire period of its existence. Additionally, it has been a locale where important historical events, for not only the town but for the wider region, have taken place. These include for example the year 1469 when part of the Bohemian and Moravian lords along with town representatives declared here the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus King of the Czech Lands.

 

Hradisko Monastery

Hradisko Monastery

Hradisko Monastery was founded by the Benedictines in the year 1078. The Benedictines were, however, replaced by the Premonstratensians prior to the middle of the 12th century who stayed at Hradisko up until the monastery’s dissolution in the year 1784.

After the desolation of the monastery by the Swedish army during the Thirty Years‘ War, gradual construction renewal began in the second half of the 17th century and the first third of the 18th century. In the year 1686 the foundation stone was laid as the beginning of the complete reconstruction of the building. The design was prepared by Giovanni Pietro Tencalla, a North Italian architect whose name is connected up with a number of additional construction projects at that time in Moravia. The northern half of the monastery with the convent, library and main tower were constructed according to his design up until the year 1702. Another phase of the construction work followed later in the year 1726. A fire destroyed the entire building of the prelacy in the year 1705. The author of the entrance part of the prelacy, which ranks amongst works of Central European high Baroque architecture, was another Italian architect working in Central Europe - Domenico Martinelli. He apparently also changed part of Tencalla’s original plan. A Church of St. Stephen, the structure of which reflects more mature elements in terms of style, was built on the site of the older prelate chapel over the years 1726–1732. Its oval design is still the subject of disputes regarding the authorship of the plans.

French prisoners of war were interned in the spaces of Hradisko Monastery in the year 1800 and as of the year 1802 up until the present day the building of the monastery has been used as a military hospital. By the end of the 20th century the monastery was in a considerable state of disrepair. Consequently, complete restoration work was carried out including supplementary construction to the earlier damaged central tower.

 

The Archbishop’s Palace

The Archbishop’s Palace

The Baroque Bishop’s Palace was built on the foundations of an original Renaissance palace, destroyed in the Thirty Years‘ War, by Bishop Karl II von Liechtenstein-Castelcorn over the years 1665-1685. The author of the design was in all probability a North Italian architect working for the Viennese court, Filiberto Luchese. His successor and fellow countryman Giovanni Pietro Tencalla carried out a number of smaller adaptations to the structure. Italian stuccoers and the painter Carpoforo Tencalla contributed to the interior decoration of the palace, the monumental frescos of which were destroyed by a fire in the year 1752.

The Bishop’s and later the Archbishop’s Palace has been the witness to numerous historical events. During the revolutionary year of 1848 the Imperial Court moved to Olomouc for five months. After the abdication of Emperor Ferdinand V, the young Francis Joseph I, the longest reigning ruler in the history of the Czech Lands, ascended the Imperial throne in the Archbishop’s Palace on the 2nd of December.

 

The Old Jesuit Konvikt

The Old Jesuit Konvikt

This was the first Jesuit Baroque structure to be built in Olomouc. It came into existence over the years 1660 – 1667 according to a design by the master stonemason and builder Peter Schüler who also supervised the construction work.

The Jewish quarter with a synagogue was originally located in the area of the Olomouc Jesuit Konvikt. In the year 1454 the Jews were expelled from the royal towns by the Bohemian King Ladislas Posthumous and the Olomouc synagogue was later reconstructed into the Corpus Christi Chapel. The only preserved visible construction relic of the original Jewish quarter is the Gothic Jewish gate. After the arrival of the Jesuits in Olomouc in the year 1566 and after the founding of the Olomouc Jesuit University in the year 1573, the Corpus Christi Chapel became the home chapel of the Renaissance Jesuit Konvikt, only to be replaced at the beginning of the 1670s by the Baroque Old Konvikt. The present-day look of the chapel came about in connection with the construction of the New Konvikt which was the final work on the unique Baroque complex of Jesuit buildings.

 

Astronomical Clock

Astronomical Clock

The astronomical clock apparently came into existence between the years 1419–1422. The first accurate information, however, about it dates from the end of the 15th century. It is possible that it was created as part of the framework of the late Gothic reconstruction of the building of the Town Hall which took place in the year 1474. Over the course of centuries the astronomical clock acquired various different looks. The most precious artistically was undoubtedly its Baroque adaptation according to a design by the painter Johann Christoph Handke from the year 1747. The most well-known, however, was the Neo-Gothic adaptation according to a design by Karel Bitterlich from the year 1898, modified in the year 1926 by Jano Köhler.

In the year 1945 the astronomical clock was damaged so much during the battles for liberation that the town representatives of the day decided against reconstructing its original look and instead decided to replace it with a contemporary work The new astronomical clock came into existence in the mid 1950s according to a design by Karel Svolinský (the mosaic work) and his wife Maria (the moving figures). The clock mechanism from the year 1898, the only original part of the piece, was repaired by the Olomouc clockmaker Konrad Schuster.

 

The Town Hall

The Town Hall

Construction of the Olomouc Town Hall was officially allowed by a privilege from the year 1378. It originally consisted of a wooden structure which consequently burned down at the beginning of the 15th century. New construction began up again at the beginning of the 1420s. The extensive building with three wings served two functions, a Town Hall and a Marketplace. A basic change in this grand seat occurred in the year 1474 when the building was raised by another storey. A ceremonial hall (now used for marriages) was built in the northern wing of the upper floor. A late Gothic Chapel of St Jerome built in the year 1488 brought this stage to an end.

The Renaissance portal on the eastern side of the building comes from the period around the year 1530. The loggia are the work of the sculptor Hans Jost from the year 1591. Apart from making a gala entrance into the council hall of the town council, the loggia also served a ceremonial purpose. A symbolic culmination to the second century of the existence of the Olomouc Town Hall became the increase in height to the tower to its present 75 metres over the years 1601–1607. Baroque adaptations came about over the years 1718–1720 resulting in a new look to primarily the facades. Over the years 1901–1904 major reconstruction work took place in the Romantic historicizing style according to a design by Georg Berger.