Kroměříž - Tour of town

Kroměříž was established as a market town at the crossroads of trading routes. At the time of the church colonisation in the first half of the 12th century it became the property of the Bishops of Olomouc. The village was elevated to town status in the second half of the 13th century, but the religious wars of the 14th century inflicted terrible wounds on the town. The year 1848 was a milestone in the town’s history, when the Constituent Assembly of the Austrian Monarchy was transferred here, and a period of progress began which elevated the town to the highest levels of spiritual culture and art. It is not only interesting for its history and architecture, but also the surrounding nature, which offers visitors a large number of free-time options. Each year the city plays host to a number of music festivals, exhibitions, conferences and congresses, and the gardens and château were inscribed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage List in 1998.

The starting point for our tour will be the information centre on Velké náměstí, from where we walk towards the Archbishop’s Palace. As well as guided tours of the castle we can also visit the picture gallery or the castle tower with its look-out point. From the castle we pass by the Archdiocesan wine cellars and then to the castle gardens. We can then take a walk around the park or have a turn in a rowing boat, which can only improve the visit. After a short stop at the Bishop’s mint we walk up through the town to the Květná zahrada (Flower garden), where an array of unique baroque architecture is awaiting us with its colourful floral ornaments and a colonnade with classical sculptures. From here we return to the centre and Velké náměstí.

The Archbishop's Castle is one of the most important monuments in the town; in 1995 it was awarded national cultural monument status and in 1998 it was inscribed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage List. The history of the castle is inseparably linked with the Bishops and Archbishops of Olomouc, who used it as their summer residence. The Assembly Hall, in which the Constitutive Imperial Assembly of Austrian Nations was held in 1848, forms a unique part of the castle.

Podzámecká zahrada (Garden under the castle) was originally a fruit, vegetable and flower garden. Thanks to its re-landscaping into a decorative garden, it became a unique stylish sixty-four hectare landscaped park. Its ponds, waterfalls, romantic structures, rare trees and a corner of living nature creates an aura of calm, which is today so sought-after.

Květná zahrada (Flower Garden) was established as a result of the reconstruction of the town after it had been destroyed during the Thirty Years' War. The Pleasure Garden, and Italian-style garden landscaped by Italian architects beyond the town fortifications for the pleasure of all its citizens, is sixteen hectares in size. Amongst other things you can find here walkways between high walls, a gallery of classical statues and the Čestný dvůr, which is enclosed by large greenhouses containing tropical and subtropical flora.

The churches of Kroměříž document the close affinity between history and church art. The high Moravian baroque style is represented by the Church of St. John the Baptist (kostel sv. Jana Křtitele) and the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady (kostel Nanebevzetí Panny Marie) is an example of baroque. The Church of St. Maurice (Kostel sv. Mořice) on Sojanovo náměstí was originally a Gothic building dating from the 13th century. The Church of St. Cyril and St. Methodius (kostel svatých Cyrila a Metoděje) is Orthodox, and the chapel of St. Cyril and St. Methodius in the grounds of the Psychiatric hospital is also worth mentioning.

The Max Švabinský lunettes can be found at the former Franciscan monastery, now the Hotel Octárna, where four of Švabinský's mosaic lunettes are on public view. They were originally designed for the loggia in the façade of the National Theatre in Prague, and each lunette depicts an important phase in Czech history.

The Synagogue and Jewish cemetery in Holešov is excellent for a family outing, and it can be easily visited by train or by an easy cycle ride. The Šach synagogue, built in 1560, and the Jewish cemetery with its 1500 gravestones, are unique monuments of their kind in the Czech Republic.

Svatý Hostýn is a day trip by car, or by bus to Bystřice pod Hostýnem, where you get off the bus and walk up to the highest pilgrimage site in Moravia, where the baroque church of The Assumption of Our Lady (Nanebevzetí Panny Marie) stands. This pilgrimage site also has a Via Dolorosa in the folk architecture style by Dušan Jurkovič.

Rymice, a village near to Holešov, possesses a collection of wooden houses which depicts the life of a Hanák village in the 18thth centuries. You can see the original interiors of the houses, which are traditionally furnished and built in the traditional manner using logs and mud plaster or unfired bricks. and 19

The Baroque cemetery in Střílky is situated in the foothills of the Chřib hills, and is a unique example of architecture and sculpture. The sculptures depict human honour and depravity and are the work of Gottfried Fritsch. The entire cemetery with its chapel and the tomb of the Petřvald family are unique in a central European architectural context.