Under the auspices of Msgre Jan Graubner, Archbishop of Olomouc and Moravian Metropolitan
St. Michael´s Temple
This Baroque structure of outstanding artistic value, characterising the Olomouc skyline with its three cupolas (verdigris-green until recently), is one of the city’s dominant features. It occupies the site of an ancient chapel, donated by King Wenceslas I to the Dominican order around 1238-39, who rebuilt it in the Gothic style in the third quarter of the 13th century. The Gothic church then received a magnificent Baroque reconstruction by G.P. Tencallo in 1676-86. The interior decoration, however, was not finished until 1703. The paintings on the central cupola were made by an Olomouc-based artist Ferdinand Naboth. The Gothic monstrance is the most precious piece among the church furnishings, believed to have been made by goldsmith Wenceslas of Olomouc around 1480. The sculptures in the frontage came from O. Zahner’s workshops. Part of the original 13th-century vestry was not affected by the Baroque rebuilding. The belfry tower is late Gothic, dating back to 1482.
This monastery, originally Benedictine then Premonstratensian (the largest of its kind in Europe), was founded by Duke Ota of Olomouc and his wife Euphemia of Hungary in 1078. Throughout its existence, it has played a major role in the history of Olomouc and all Moravia. It was entirely or partially obliterated several times. The monastery was disbanded in 1784 and the buildings served, until 1790, as a general seminar, presided over by Josef Dobrovský in 1787-1790. The monastery was later on turned into a military warehouse and a military hospital, the oldest one on the territory of the present-day Czech Republic, having been in service since 1802.
Due to its similarity to the Spanish royal palace, the Hradisko Monastery has been nicknamed the Moravian Escorial. It is a monumental Baroque compound, square in its floor plan, divided internally by a central wing with a tall tower in the centre and an outer hexagonal tower at each of the four corners. St. Stephen’s Church adjoins the central wing on the right side. The monastery also comprises a farm yard. The Baroque design was authored by G.P. Tencallo; the architect of the prelature was D. Martinelli; and St. Stephen’s Church was designed by either J. Hildebrand or G. Santini. The internal decorations are by P. Troger, Daniel Gran de Malelo Torre, and K. Handke.
St. Wencelas’ Cathedral
The cathedral was probably founded by Duke of Destiny Svatopluk in 1106; his son Wenceslas continued the work only to commit it, on his deathbed in 1130, to Bishop Jindřich Zdík to finish. Zdík consecrated it on 30 June 1131. It was a triple-nave basilica with two massive Romanesque towers. Only the perimeter wall foundations have been preserved from that structure, along with a crypt buried under the temple floor paving, and the bottom parts of the towers. The temple was rebuilt in the Gothic style following a fire in 1265. Bishop Stanislav Pavlovský had a central tower inserted in between the two end towers in 1589-1595, and Cardinal Dietrichstein had a massive early Baroque chancel built. Requested by Cardinal Fürstenberg, master builder Meretta gave the cathedral an extensive reconstruction in the Neo-Gothic style. He built two smaller Pseudo-Gothic towers on the bases of the originally Romanesque ones over the frontage, added a new 100-metres-tall tower, and completely refurbished the presbytery as well as the entire interior in Neo-Gothic. The Neo-Gothic altar is adorned with four captivating early Renaissance sculptures purchased from Rome’s Santa Maria Maggiore Church. The cathedral nave is separated from the elevated presbytery with a tall grille and embellished with two tombstones: one in memory of the two Přemyslid princes Vladimír and Břetislav, whose remains were transferred here from the Hradisko Monastery, the other in memory of Bishop Mark Kühn, made by ironmaster Hans Straubinger of Nüremberg.
Temple of Visitation of Virgin Mary – The Holy Hurst
The area of the Holy Hurst was covered with forest until the 17th century. A legend has it that an Olomouc burgher Jan Andrýsek had a small chapel built here since he had once made an oath to build a house of worship to Virgin Mary on a hillock east of Olomouc if he ever became wealthy. He kept postponing the fulfilment of the oath until he had Virgin Mary remind him of it twice in his dreams. He could now fulfil his oath, as he had inherited his brother-in-law’s fortune.
The chapel was ruined by the invading Swedes in 1643. The Hradisko Monastery renewed it, and later on, in 1669, commenced the building of a grand pilgrimage church consecrated to Virgin Mary. A Premonstratensian residence and a large inn for the pilgrims appeared by the church later on.
The pilgrimage church of Visitation of Virgin Mary – a basilica minor since visited by Pope John Paul II in 1995 – is a monumental Baroque structure built after a design by G. P. Tencallo in 1669-1679. The frescos in the cupola and the presbytery are J. Steger’s works; J.K. Handke rendered the paintings of St. Augustine, St. Paulina (the patroness of Olomouc) and the Guardian Angel. The stuccoes are by B. Fontana, B. Fossati and J. Hagenmüller. Sculptor J. Winterhalter made the sculptures on the main portal and the pulpit; J. Heinz authored the sculptures on the main frontage. The building of the residence commenced in 1714, along with two single-storey wings on either side of the church, a chapel to St. Anne, and the cloisters. Fourteen statues (St. Sebastian, St. Roque and the twelve apostles) were positioned on the alure of the residence.
St. Maurice´s Temple
A triple-nave Gothic church the construction of which started already in the 15th century and went on into the first half of the 16th. The south tower was completed and the nave was commenced in 1403. The north tower had been erected by 1412, but after that the construction was halted until after the Hussite wars. The temple interior was only completed in 1540. The church was befallen by numerous fires, the last one in 1709. The Baroque choir was added in 1723 and had a “king of musical instruments” by a Wroclaw master organ builder Michael Engler installed in 1745. Engler’s organ was refurbished in the 1960s. The sculptural decoration of the church is predominantly by Filip Sattler; the Neo-Gothic altar was erected by J. Halbig of Wuerzburg in 1859. The remnants of a rotunda from no later than the 11th century were unearthed during the archaeological survey in connection to the Prior department store construction. The second St. Maurice church in the succession was probably a Romanesque-Gothic structure, likely completed as early as 1257 and burnt down in 1398. The present-day temple is therefore not the first, but likely the third, building of the same consecration.
The seat of Bishops and Archbishops of Olomouc is located in Wurmova Street. Its unusually broad street facade (85 metres) with three portals and several dozen windows catches the eye of every passer-by. The frontage hints at the building’s wealth and representative beauty that it holds inside. It consists of seven two-storey wings composed around two rectangular courtyards, a splendid private chapel, and a number of solemn representative halls with a wealth of artistic collections. It is therefore one of the greatest and most beautiful palaces in Olomouc.
The construction was started by Archbishop of Olomouc Stanislav Thurzo in the first half of the 16th century. His humanistic literary education lent him a broad purview, and he was a prominent promoter of the then novel Renaissance culture. Jan Dubravius, Thurzo’s successor, had the palace completed. The palace fell prey to a great fire in 1661, during the Thirty Year’s War.
The new structure was erected by Bishop Karel of Lichtenstein after designs by Italian architects F.A. Luchese and G.P. Tencallo. The interior artistic decorations are also predominantly works by Italian masters. The residence building has been preserved it its original form to this day. Only minor modifications followed a fire of 1904.
The latest restoration works were initiated by the Archbishopric of Olomouc in the 1980s, and the present-day splendid state of the outstanding building is thanks to it.
The Archbishop’s Palace has made it into European history on several occasions. Emperor Franz Joseph I ascended the throne here in 1848, and the Austrian imperial court had its seat here in 1848-1849, in hiding from the Revolution in Vienna. Olomouc was then the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Church of St. Mary of the Snows
This monumental Baroque building, a Jesuit and university church, was erected in 1712-19 under the mastership of Lukas Glockl and after a design by Adam Glockl. Václav Render designed the frontage, and the Zirn workshop supplied the sculpture work. The following painters authored the richly decorated interior: J. K. Handtke, K. Harringer, J. Sturmer, J. Wickart, and J. J. Schmidt, assisted by sculptors Thomasberger and D. Zirn. The church contains a tombstone in memory of Bishop Vilém Prusínovský dated 1572; the altar holds a Gothic sculpture of Virgin Mary from the late 14th century. The organ, dated 1726, was made by G. Helbig.
Annunciation Church (The Capuchins’)
A plain Baroque church, built after the stereotypic design for Capuchin churches in 1659-61. The Capuchins had had a monastery in Olomouc already before 1614, but that was torn down in 1620. The original fresco on the church frontage had been by Jan Kohler, but it was replaced with a mosaic by K. Benedík in 1972.
Church of Immaculate Conception (The Dominicans’)
Built in 1454-1468. Its irregular septilateral (seven-sided) polygonal roof is an architectural rarity. The church was consecrated in 1468, the ceremony attended by Hungarian King Matthias Korvin, who was elected Czech King in Olomouc one year later.
A monumental drawing was discovered during a 1983 restoration; it depicts the Battle of Belgrade (22 July 1456), where an army led by Jan Korvin Hunyady (Matthias Korvin’s father) managed to defend Belgrade from Turks. The drawing shows both Hunyady and Jan Kapistrán, who was inside the besieged city praying for its liberation (Jan Kapistrán was a preacher man in Olomouc Bělidla).
Olomouc Mayor Tobias Schwonauer had a chapel annexed to the church in the liking of the Holy Grave of Jerusalem. The Dominican order has resided in the adjoining monastery since 1785; it was reconveyed the monastery buildings after November 1989 and has renovated them gradually to this day.
Huss Congregation House
A triple-nave basilica with an asymmetrically positioned belfry. The main chapel area is situated on the elevated ground floor, accessible via a monumental stairway, over which a portico rises upon six columns with stylised capitals. The house of worship is topped with a domed trough-shaped roof sporting a fleche lantern and a spire. The central nave vault, segmented with ceiling coffers, is independent of the roof structure. The naves are defined by profiled colonnades. Both the apse and the entrance past the vestibule, below the organ loft, have semicircular ceilings. The tower is located asymmetrically in the rear of the church, topped with a chalice. The structure is interwoven with vertical window openings. The monumental nature of this Neo-Classicist building is especially accentuated by its urban position along the northern segment of Olomouc circular avenue. The building was completed in 1924-1926 after a design by local architect Hubert Aust.