I first became intrigued with the city of Olomouc during my Czech class in St. Paul.  As a reading  exercise we read a "letter" from someone who was supposedly visiting friends in Olomouc.  As the writer explained the sites and city, I immediately desired to go.  Upon getting my Fulbright placement, I realized how near I would be to this city.  As weeks and months went by, my hopes and plans to visit this city weren't actualized until this week for my mid-term conference.

Town Hall (left) and the column (right)
It is often called the most historical city in Moravia and a "student city" due to the large proportion of students in the population.  Shortly after arrival, a portion of our group sought out some lunch.  As we searched around with difficulty (it was a Sunday afternoon), we stumbled upon the main square which features two of the most notable sites in Olomouc, the astronomical clock and the Holy Trinity Column.

The astronomical clock is part of the chapel which adjoins the city hall.  It originally featured saints, but as the Nazis retreated through the city at the end of WWII, they opened fire on the clock.  It was reconstructed under the Communist regime in a Socialist Realist style, transforming this Christian monument into a piece of propaganda.  Now workers are prominently featured throughout, parading around during the strikes of the clock and or statically posing in the surrounding mosaic.  One unique feature of the clock is it's lowest dial which is a name day calendar.  Each Czech name has a day in the Czech Republic, and on this dial, the Communists inserted Communist holidays in red alongside the name days,  such as the anniversary of Stalin's death.

Within this same square is the Holy Trinity Column, an UNESCO World Heritage site.  This column was erected in the 18th century to thank God for the ending of the plague.  Made in the Baroque style, it was too intricate for me to really look any details in the face.

Holy Trinity Column

The days in Olomouc were quite cold with a biting wind.  I was thankful for the warmth of our conference room which overlooked the city.  I enjoyed its view in between reports of the Fulbright ETAs, scholars, and researchers.  We did enjoy a tour of the city, but the biting cold made it a bit unbearable at times. 

Many of the sites we went by were significant for religious reasons.  Moravia is more religious than Bohemia typically and throughout the city you can view churches from nearly every major architectural period.  One of my favorite moments on the tour was when the guide pointed out where a forcibly confined bishop would preach in his garden.  People would gather below the outer wall to listen to the sermons.  At the end of our tour, we went to the Archdiocesan Museum located next to St. Wenceslas' Cathedral.  There I viewed ruins, paintings, and sculptures.  One highlight was a cube puzzle which could be rearranged to show images of six different paintings in the museum.

The site of the renegade preaching
The city's beauty captured me enough to venture out for about 3 hours today, and by the end of it, I had numb toes and a plan to return in the spring or summer months.


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