Rich in culture, art and scenic beauty, it is no wonder that Kroměříž is one of the most visited towns in the Czech Republic and has earned the name Athens of Haná.
It was founded in the 13th century as the heritage town of the bishops of Olomouc, who had their summer residence built here, and even today its fame is still linked to the bishop’s power and the sumptuous clerical palaces, but the town is lively and waiting to be discovered.
Let yourself be enchanted by the delightful town centre of Kroměříž with its countless alleys, squares, gardens and inviting pubs.
The jewel of Kroměříž is the sumptuous Bishop’s Palace, which includes 40 rooms, several libraries, an art gallery and a music archive. The Assembly Hall is considered one of the best examples of Rococo art in Central Europe; the imperial councils of the Habsburg dynasty were held here in the revolutionary year of 1848. Some scenes from Milos Forman’s film Amadeus were filmed inside the palace.
The art gallery exhibits works by international artists such as Paolo Veronese, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Luca Giordano, Anthonis van Dyck and Tiziano Vecellio. Another important permanent exhibition in the castle includes a collection of over 10,000 coins and is one of the Czech Republic’s numismatic treasures.
The real attraction of the castle are the two marvellous gardens, called the ‘Castle Gardens‘ and the ‘Flower Garden‘: together they form an exceptionally beautiful oasis of tranquillity, where you can stroll for hours.
The first date back to the 16th century and were transformed over the centuries to reflect the changing tastes of the various eras. The current appearance dates back to 1850. Today, the gardens occupy an area of 64 hectares with over 200 different species of trees and plants, adorned with ponds, small lakes and fountains.
The 1650 Flower Garden, also called the Czech Versailles, is based on a sophisticated layout of symmetrical lines and floral ornaments and is one of the most impressive examples of landscape art in the world.
Bishops aside, the distinguished citizen of Kroměříž is the artist Max Švabinský, who lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and is considered one of the most important Czech painters. The city has dedicated a permanent exhibition to him housed in the Kroměříž Museum.
His most famous work, The Lunettes, can be seen inside a former monastery that today houses the Hotel Octárna. Originally intended for the National Theatre in Prague, this work depicts four key events in the history of the Czech Republic.
The Karel Kryl Exhibit is another museum dedicated to a famous inhabitant of Kroměříž, the Czech songwriter, guitarist and composer who wrote famous protest songs against the communist and post-communist regimes. This is a special museum, where you won’t find any of the artist’s personal items or other museum artefacts: it is an ’emotional’ tour that aims to take you straight to the heart of the emotions that inspired the artist.
Kroměříž is about 300 km from Prague and the fastest way to get there is by car. The train journey takes about three hours with a change in Hulín.
We do not recommend the bus as there are no direct buses: you will have to make at least one change and depending on the connections you will find, the journey can take between four and seven hours.
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