Olomouc is surprisingly absent from most tourists' must-see list. But then I suppose so are many wonderful places in the Czech Republic. Now that flights from the UK come into nearby Ostrava and Brno, let us hope that changes. For that matter, Olomouc is also relatively easy to get to from Prague.
I recently visited Olomouc as part of a holiday I had with my husband and partly because I was planning the Real Moravia Tour, which will spend a night there. We did it as a day trip from Brno, but next time we will stay there. As I have said before on this blog, my husband is a lover of architecture. He even has his own blog dedicated to English buildings. And so the historical centre of Olomouc with its stunning collection of historic buildings went down a storm. Whilst he wandered the streets and squares of the city, I headed off to check out the hotel and look for a restaurant where I can take my clients. The restaurant I was looking for is in a very different kind of historic building from the renaissance and baroque town houses Phil was photographing on the main square and surrounding streets.
The Primavesi Villa stands on the edge of the old town near the Italianate church of St Michal, overlooking one of the parks that circle the old town. The Villa was built by the Primavesi family, who were to be important sponsors of the Vienna Werkstätte. According to my old Rough Guide, it was in a parlous state – it is no longer. The Villa has been lovingly restored. Although the top floors are used as offices, it is possible to visit the architecturally important first floor where there is a gallery that is open Tuesdays-Saturdays; downstairs is a restaurant. The visitor can also wander through the garden, gazing up at this important secessionist building, admiring both its design and decoration.
The decoration is at its most intense in the mosaic-covered entrance porch. But as I looked around I saw decoration everywhere, from iron brackets curling like pea shoots to the curving dragon-back of the garden wall. The house was designed by the architects Franz von Krause and Josef Tokla and its interiors were designed and furnished by designer Josef Hoffmann, sculptor Anton Hanak and painter Gustav Klimt. The latter's portrait of Mäda Primavesi can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum. Sadly during the dereliction of the communist era most of the artwork and furniture was dispersed, although some non-moveable elements are still in situ. And it is possible to see furniture by Hoffmann in the Olomouc Museum of Art.
I took a coffee at the restaurant and rejoined my husband in the town square.
You will find more about visit Olomouc here: http://czechholiday.co.uk/townscities/olomouc.html