Olomouc On a BudgetOlomouc is a city in the eastern province of Moravia in the Czech Republic, best known for its UNESCO town square with landmarks which include its six baroque fountains and the 18th-century Holy Trinity Column.
SightsOne of the city's most important monuments, the Holy Trinity Column, is a centerpiece to the main square which features sculptures of the Holy Trinity, the assumption of the Virgin Mary, all twelve apostles, three virtues, and the most important saints of the Baroque period. With a small chapel at its base, the entire structure is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also in this main square is the historic Olomouc Town Hall which is open for tours through its halls and gallery as well as a 15th century astronomical clock tower. In and around the main square, visitors can also find Olomouc's collection of six stone baroque fountains, depicting ancient Roman themes which include gods like Jupiter, Mercury, Triton, Neptune, and Hercules as well as the legendary founder of the city, Julius Caesar. There are also a number of modern fountains, the best known being the Arion fountain which portrays the legend of a poet thrown overboard and saved by a dolphin.
The city is also home to many beautiful churches. Some of these include the thousand-year-old St. Wenceslas Cathedral with the tallest spire in Moravia, and St. Michael's church which has one of the most beautiful baroque interiors in the country. Other attractions include the Olomouc Zoo, the Olomouc Archdiocese Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Hradisko Monastery.
NeighborhoodsAfter Prague, Olomouc is the second oldest and second largest historic preservation zone in the Czech Republic. Dating back to the Roman Empire, it is a city best explored on foot, with many pleasant walking routes at its historic center. The city center is also a hub for seeing most of the city's attractions, especially at the Upper Square where the historic Town Hall and Holy Trinity Column are located. There are also plenty of opportunities for indoor and outdoor dining in Olomouc's city center, as well as shopping and entertainment.
ActivitiesOne of the most popular activities when visiting Olomouc is to join a walking tour through the city's historic center. It is a great way to experience the main attractions while learning some history along the way. There are also plenty of museums and galleries for learning more about the history, culture, and art of the general area. For a little entertainment, the theatre in the main square is home to the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra and often hosts plenty of musicals, operas, and plays, while the zoo or the botanical gardens offer another kind of experience on the outdoors side of things. Both the zoo and gardens feature many different species of flora and fauna - the gardens having outdoor and greenhouse exhibits with aquariums and terrariums with a range of alligators, snakes, piranhas, and large furry spiders.
Food and DiningCzech cuisine makes up the traditional fare of the general area. A Czech meal will typically consist of two or more main courses, with the first being soup and the second being the main dish. Thick soups and many kinds of sauces are especially popular. These are both based on stewed or cooked vegetables and meats, often with cream, as well as baked meats with natural gravies. A third course might sometimes consist of dessert or fruit compote. A mainstay of Czech side dishes is the dumpling - usually sliced, potato-based, filled with smoked meat, and served with spinach or sour cabbage. Other side dishes include noodles, boiled or risotto rice sometimes made into a kind of pudding, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, and French fries or croquettes. As far as the main course goes, pork is the most common meat though beef, veal, and chicken are also found. These can be cooked into stews, marinated, stuffed into dumplings, minced and baked, or smoked. One particular specialty of Olomouc is a soft cheese with a pungent taste and odor called Olomoucke tvaruzky, often served with mints for its strong flavor.
TransportationBy plane, the nearest major airport is in the Czech capital of Prague which offers international flights and serves as the hub for Czech Airlines. The fastest way to then travel from Prague to Olomouc is by train. The journey will take about 2.5 hours by the hourly IC/EC trains. Buses do operate from Prague to Olomouc, however, they are much slower due to a roundabout route that stops in Brno before heading up towards Prague.
The city itself can be explored by foot, though public transportation is also cheap and easy to use.
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