Olomouc and Kromeriz
By Jeffrey Rubinoff on May 27, 2008
Last weekend my wife and I went to Olomouc, a small historical city and ancient Archbishop's seat in central Moravia. It's a UNESCO world heritage site, mainly due to its plague column on the Upper Square, which is the largest Baroque column in Europe. We prefer the 2001 turtle fountain (both visible in photo). Olomouc is very pretty and very quiet on weekends and only a 3 hr train ride from Prague (2.5 if you take the Pendolino, but I don't think it's worth paying almost double). When we went a couple years ago, the only foreign tourists were on tours organized by the Catholic church to see various regional sites of pilgrimage. Now however there were a number of what appeared to be independent family groups. This includes what to me were a surprising number of Americans, in that any Americans at all who weren't doing a year abroad at the University or taking a side trip backpacking between Vienna and Krakow would be a surprising number. Well, good for the city, I say, as the region is rather depressed and needs all the money it can get. One indication of this is that the city's tourist information office is open on Sundays--unheard of! As this was our third visit to Olomouc, we took a day trip to Kromeriz, where the archbishop of Olomouc had his chateau (38 mins by train, one transfer).
Amadeus was filmed at the chateau, and it is a really impressive building, with a surprisingly good gallery of historical paintings. Usually small city chateau collections are full of B-team C. European stuff that the noble family who owned them couldn't be bothered to take when they fled the country ahead of Communist state asset seizure in 1948 (or 1946 if they'd been bad boys in the war).