Olomouc and The Olomouc region

Olomouc and The Olomouc region

The Olomouc Region is situated in the northeastern part of the Czech Republic. It covers an area of 5,267 square kilometres. Almost 650,000 inhabitants live in its five districts (Olomouc, Prostějov, Přerov, Šumperk and Jeseník). The northwestern part of the district of Jeseník belongs to Czech Silesia. The bounderies of the Olomouc Region are formed by its northern state border with the Principality of the Lower Silesia and the Principality of Opole in Poland; in the east lies the Moravian-Silesian Region, in the southeast the Zlín Region, in the southwest the South-

Moravian Region and in the west we can find the Pardubice Region.

The Olomouc Region is a land of natural beauties. In its northern part there is the Hrubý and Nízký Jeseník mountain range with a large protected landscape area of the Jeseníky Mountains which are shared by the Olomouc Region and the Moravian-Silesian Region. Along its ridge there used to be an old historical border between Moravia and Silesia. We will also find here the highest mountain of both regions Praděd (1,492 metres). The Rychleby Mountains in the very northern part are charming,not yet visited by many tourists. In Javorník there is a beautiful chateau Jánský vrch and a nearby village of Travná used to be a place of meeting for young people. The spa of Jeseník and Dolní Lipová are also much sought by tourists. From the east the Drahanská Highland protects a fertile area of Haná in the region of the Central Moravia.

The river Morava flows through the Olomouc Region from north to south. The protected landscape area where the river creates interesting meanders is called Litovelské Pomoraví. Near Troubky known from devastating floods in the recent years, the river Bečva flows into the river Morava and then the river already leaves the Olomouc Region. A small part of the region in the northeast belongs to a river basin of the river Odra.

Besides agricultural area of Haná there are various industrial centres in the particular towns of the Olomouc Region. The regional capital Olomouc is an important industrial centre. It is not necessary to say that in the Olomouc Region we can find many interesting towns, castles and chateaux with a rich history besides valuable natural monuments. Bouzov, Helfštýn, Plumlov or Velké Losiny and many others, important spas, well-preserved folklore areas such as Historical Village Reserve of

Příkazy or Kojetín with a celebration of the Ride of the Kings.

The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) has ten congregations in the Olomouc Region – we will visit Olomouc, Přerov, Šumperk and Hrabová. Each of these places has its own interesting story connected to a history of the particular town in which it is located.

In the southern part of the Olomouc Region, in the centre of Haná lies its capital Olomouc. It was built on the confluence of the rivers Morava and Bystřice at an altitude of 219 metres. The sixth largest town of the Czech Republic is a home for more than 100,000 inhabitants. It is an important railway junction and it is surrounded by a highway network. Olomouc is a seat of the Archbishops of the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church but also the University of Palacký, Oldřich Stibor’s Theatre and the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra.

Olomouc was probably founded during the reign of Václav I but already in 1063 Vratislav II founded a bishopric here. After Prague, Olomouc is the second oldest and the second largest historic town reserve. Here we can find buildings which are national cultural monuments: a Romanesque castle from the reign of the Přemyslid dynasty with a cylindrical tower and with the rests of a palace belonging among the most valuable monuments and representing one of the most important Romanesque architectural monuments in our country.

Near the tower in a later residence of the capitular deanery, Václav III was murdered on the 4th of August 1306. By his death the Přemyslid dynasty died out by the sword. A part of the castle is St. Wenceslas’ Cathedral which was founded in the year 1109. Also the Hradisko Monastery, St. Moritz’s Church with a unique organ and a set of Baroque fountains are national cultural monuments. There is the Holy Trinity’s Column from the 18th century on the Upper Square which has been listed as UNESCO cultural heritage since the year 2000. From a tower of the Renaissance town hall from the year 1530 you can get a beautiful view of a town and its surroundings – Svatý kopeček with the Premonstrate monastery and with the Visitation of Our Lady’s pilgrimage basilica from the 2nd half of the 17th century.

The Protestants in Olomouc have their history, too. Eventhough, such a strongly Catholic town had refused Jan Hus’ teaching long time ago, the situation was however changing during the years. Many German inhabitants lived in Olomouc and they began to support Martin Luther’s teaching. Hus’ thoughts and memories of the Unity of Brethren did not fully disappeared in the town, either. After the Battle of the White Mountain the local Protestants began to be harshly punished for their participation in the revolt of the Estates in the year 1618.

No Protestants were found in Olomouc after the declaration of the Toleration Patent by Joseph II; so thorough the recatholization had been. The first Protestant worship took place on the 20th of January 1811. Even the soldiers from a local garrison participated in it. The biggest problem similarly as in other beginning congregations was to get a place for gathering. The Body of Christ’s Chapel was temporarily lent to the Protestants but only until the German Protestants built their own “red“ church in 1902. It was not however allowed to serve the Czech worship there – it was from nationalist rather than confessional reasons.

The congregation of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren was founded in Olomouc in 1906. They built their house of prayer in today’s Hus Street. Soon the building was not sufficient and therefore in 1913 architect Otto Kuhlmann from Charlottenburg was asked to design an extension. The preparations were interrupted by the First World War but on the 4th of July 1920 a new church with a tower was solemnly consecrated. The spacious building is very suitable, both of its original parts are ingeniously linked. A room for worship is located on the 1st floor. Big windows bring light into it, new chandeliers and pews were installed. The last adaptations of the interior were made after the big flood in 1997. A bell was moved from the “red“ church. It initially belonged to the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren after the Second World War. However, in the 1960s the church had to be given for the needs of the University Library in Olomouc.

The Conservatory of the Evangelic Academy of the ECCB has its seat near the Archbishop’s palace. This school was moved here from Kroměříž. In Olomouc the Czechoslovak Hussite Church (CHC) has also its own church. The Orthodox St. Gorazd’s Church stands near the Protestant church on the other side of the river Morava.