|The main square at night|
Olomouc – where did all the Germans go?
|The King takes a selfie|
One of the biggest clues to its fate was the odd atmosphere that we felt as we walked around. Despite the happening Easter market with the bizarre, Communist-sounding people’s choirs, the town was otherwise empty. Regular restaurants throughout the old town were fairly sparse, however the bars and kebab and pizza shops were plentiful. In all, it told me that story of endless fun during the school year nights.
A castle, or something like it
Olomouc’s castle is very similar to Prague’s in that you wouldn’t have realized you were in a castle until someone told you that you were. There are no walls, just a big square, a big church, and old palaces everywhere. The city itself was walled with a wet moat, though much of that has since disappeared. But doesn’t that deter you from going for a medieval experience. Some of the city walls still exist – and some even house dance clubs and coffee shops – and the entire place is something of a cobbled wonderland of churches and Baroque architecture. The two highlights of our short tour was the 15th century Church of St. Maurice, with its tower that’s crowned with battlements. I can’t find anything on why that style was chosen, though I do know off-hand that many Crusader orders decorated their churches back in Europe like this. Whether St. Maurice had any connection to the Templars or Hospitaliers though, I can’t say. Maybe the style was chosen as a dedication to their soldier saint patron.
St. Maurice was originally born in Thebes, Egypt and became a Roman commander of the Theban Legion under the Emperor Maximian in the 3rd century serving in modern day Switzerland. As the Theban Legion was entirely composed of Christians, Maximian wanted to mess with them and issued the order that all soldiers must make sacrifices to pagan gods, but Maurice and his legion inexplicably refused. Maximian then ordered every 10 soldier to be killed, thinking that this would set his legion on the right and honorable path, but they still refused. So then, in one of the more extravagantly wasteful uses of soldierly ever in the history of the world, he had them all summarily killed and they legion of 6,600 soldiers set off to meet their Lord on that day without resistance.
Not your bourgeois movement
|Stalin's favorite timekeeper|
The clock has a seven-minute long chime and completely non-bourgeois dance and motion, and even marks the birthdays of Stalin and Lenin, and it also lets people know when it’s Labor Day. It also marks every saint day of the year, showing whose day it is on the green dial, with red markings whenever it’s a special Commie day and all the workers have to show up for some parade to show their solidarity.
|The Church at the end of the road|
|Inside the Torture Restaurant|
Conspicuously on your way to the Orthodox Church of St. Gorazd, you pass by the Torture Restaurant. This was one of the only places we could find to eat that was open, so obviously seeing the title this was our choice. We descended down the wooden stairs – the rails were giant iron chains and the lights were glowing shrunken heads – and found ourselves in a huge dungeon. The bar was made of carved skeletons and dead bodies, and the decorations about the restaurant were of life-sized wood carvings of people getting tortured. Someone getting quartered there, on the rack over there, and before us a naked woman with her hands tied above her head, with only your imagination left to think of ways for her to get it. A classy joint indeed, my friends. The food wasn’t all that bad too, though the goulash was a touch fatty, the sauce did have a nice bit of spice. I’ve an Orthodox friend looking to get married in an Orthodox Church in Europe. It seems like St. Gorazd could have the ceremony and this restaurant would be the perfect reception.