As it used to be the Moravian capital, Olomouc obviously needed adequate protection. Today, there are only small fragments of the medieval fortifications still to be seen in the city - for example Bezruč Park features the Jewish Gate, one of the gateways to the town. However, the Baroque defence system is another kettle of fish – the still standing manifold fortification structures draw military architecture fans to Olomouc, which in addition also offers many other places of beauty.
Olomouc is a Moravian gem boasting a plethora of outstanding sites, which make the city centre more than a match for many others. Tourist attractions include the UNESCO-listed Plague Column, Olomouc fountains and much more…
Military history of Olomouc
After the Thirty Years' War, Olomouc was declared a fortress town in 1655 and gradually transformed into a Baroque fortress. The construction peaked with the erection of the so-called Theresian Walls. Thanks to them, Olomouc was ranked among the largest and most sophisticated star forts not only in Bohemia, but also throughout the entire territory of the vast Austro-Hungarian Empire. The fortress was severely tested and proved itself to be impregnable shortly after its completion, when in 1758 it withstood a five-week siege by Prussian troops.
On their exploration of the city, visitors definitely must not miss the unique Theresian Gate. Having been inspired by the ancient Roman style, it has held onto its original appearance up to this day. Typical examples of Baroque military architecture are the Armoury and the Crown Fort located in the city centre and hosting various cultural events.
However, the Olomouc fortifiers did not content themselves with massive defence walls and they continued their endeavours to build a truly unique fortress. Consequently, by the mid-19th century the fortified town centre was encircled with a defensive ring of advanced forts (Křelov, Radíkov, Fort No. XIII and others), thus shifting the defensive line of the town further on. Nowadays these structures are open to the public. Nonetheless, as it stretched over a vast area, the fortification system started hindering the development of the actual city of Olomouc, and so in the late 19th century the city function of a fortress was abandoned.