music by kevin mcleod from incompetech.com
Olomouc, Czech: locally Holomóc or Olomóc; German: Olmütz; Latin: Olomucium or Iuliomontium; Polish: Ołomuniec) is a city in Moravia, in the east of the Czech Republic. Located on the Morava River, the city is the ecclesiastical metropolis and historical capital city of Moravia. Today it is an administrative centre of the Olomouc Region and sixth largest city in the Czech Republic. The city has about 102,000 residents, but its larger urban zone has a population of about 480,000 people.
Olomouc is said to occupy the site of a Roman fort founded in the imperial period, the original name of which, Iuliomontium (Mount Julius), would have been gradually corrupted to the present form. Although this account is not documented except as oral history, archaeological excavations close to the city have revealed the remains of a Roman military camp dating from the time of the Marcoman Wars.
During the 6th century, Slavs migrated into the area. As early as the 7th century, a centre of political power developed in the present-day quarter of Povel (situated in lowland, southerly from the city centre). Around 810 the local Slavonic ruler was defeated by troops of Great Moravian rulers and the settlement in Olomouc-Povel was destroyed.
A new centre, where the Great Moravian governor resided, developed at the gord at Předhradí, a quarter of the inner city (the eastern, smaller part of the medieval centre). This settlement survived the defeat of the Great Moravia (c. 907) and later gradually became the capital of the province of Moravia.
In 906 the first Jews settled in Olomouc. In 1060 they were forced into a ghetto and instructed to wear a yellow badge.
The bishopric of Olomouc was founded in 1063; centuries later in 1777, it was raised to the rank of an archbishopric. The bishopric was moved from the church of St. Peter (since destroyed) to the church of Saint Wenceslas in 1141 (the date is still disputed, other suggestions are 1131, 1134) under bishop Jindřich Zdík. The bishop's palace was built in the Romanesque architectural style. The bishopric acquired large tracts of land, especially in northern Moravia, and was one of the richest in the area.
Olomouc became one of the most important settlements in Moravia and a seat of the Přemyslid government and one of the appanage princes. In 1306 King Wenceslas III stopped here on his way to Poland. He was going to fight Wladislaus I the Elbow-high to claim his rights to the Polish crown, and was assassinated. With his death, the whole Přemyslid dynasty died out.
The city was officially founded in the mid-13th century and became one of the most important trade and power centres in the region. In the Middle Ages, it was the biggest town in Moravia and competed with Brno for the position of the capital. Olomouc lost finally after the Swedes took the city for eight years (1642--1650).
In 1454 the city expelled the Jews of Olomouc, as part of a wave of anti-Semitism also seen in Spain and Portugal. The second half of the 15th century is considered the start of Olomouc's golden age. It hosted several royal meetings and Matthias Corvinus was elected here as King of Bohemia (in fact antiking) by the estates in 1469. In 1479 two kings of Bohemia (Vladislaus II and Matthias Corvinus) met here and concluded an agreement (Peace of Olomouc of 1479) for splitting the country. Olomouc contains several large squares, the chief of which is adorned with the Holy Trinity Column, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The column is 115 ft (35 m) high and was built between 1716 and 1754. The city has numerous historic religious buildings. The most prominent church is Saint Wenceslas Cathedral founded before 1107 in the compound of the Olomouc Castle. At the end of the 19th century, the cathedral was rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style. It kept many features of the original church, which had renovations and additions reflecting styles of different ages: Romanesque crypt, Gothic cloister, Baroque chapels. The highest of the three spires is 328 ft (100 m), which makes it the second-highest spire in the country (after Cathedral of St. Bartholomew in Plzeň). The church is next to the Bishop Zdík's Palace (also called the Přemyslid Palace), a Romanesque building built after 1141 by the bishop Henry Zdík. Its remains one of the most precious monuments of Olomouc: such an early bishop's palace is unique in Central Europe. The Přemyslid Palace used as the residence of Olomouc dukes from the governing Přemyslid dynasty used to stand nearby.