ROUTE 4: CHILDREN’S EXPEDITION: IN SEARCH OF KNOWLEDGE
Route Length: 2.5 km
Duration: 50 min (without guided tours of individual locations)
Kroměříž is a town with almost eight hundred years of history, a town that takes pride in its numerous monuments on the UNESCO World Heritage List, a town that has long been connected to the Church, specifically to the bishops and archbishops of Olomouc. The goal of the children’s expedition is to familiarize younger visitors, kids, youth, schoolchildren, and students with the town. The route is intended for all those who are not looking for exact dates and do not want to be reminded of every historical fact, event, or building. It focuses more on interesting details and not always known information. Of course, it does not avoid the most important or the most visited sights either – it just shows them in a different light, drawing attention only to its certain parts or special features.
1 – Executioner’s House in Tylova street
We begin our route where many paths, including the life paths, usually ended – at the house of the executioner. The executioner’s house used to stand right next to the town walls inside the town. Such a location of an executioner’s house is a very rare case, as they were usually placed behind the town walls, outside the town. The building is no longer standing today. In its place, at the end of Tylova street, is the parking lot of the Wachal Company. However, the actual “workplace” of the executioner, was quite far from his house. The “Executioner’s Hill” was a place located from the hill Barbořina downward, close to today’s Lutopecká street. The executioner was not only someone who executed a sentence of capital punishment, but he was also a physician for the poor (due to his knowledge of anatomy), a vet, a town knacker and occasionally (where there was sewerage in town) also a “raker” (someone who cleaned and emptied the sewers).
2 – Separation Wall in Tylova street
Behind the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary stand the remains of the so-called “Separation Wall”: a wall that separated the Christian part of the town from the Jewish part. From the side of the church, the wall was originally decorated with representations of life of the Virgin Mary. Today, the niches are decorated with graphics of Kroměříž and its surroundings. People often think these are vedute (a highly detailed, usually large-scale paintings or, more often, prints of a cityscape), but they are simply reproductions of old photos of the town.
3 – Fountain on the square Riegrovo náměstí
It is interesting that each part of the fountain – the reservoir, the statue, and the pedestal – dates from different centuries. This sight is called “Fountain with Putto riding a dolphin”. Putto (meaning “child” in Italian) is a figure of a chubby male child similar to an angel. The dolphin however looks like a freshwater fish. If you look closely, it even has scales depicted on it. The sculptor had some strange ideas about dolphins in the 18th century…
4 – The Marian column on the square Riegrovo náměstí
The sandstone sculpture was built on the initiative of townspeople of Kroměříž as a symbol of gratitude after the town overcame a plague epidemic in 1715. The column under the main sculpture is 12 metres high (…quite a height, right?). The statues, placed at the bottom of the sculptural group, represent the following saints: St. Wolfgang (who is placed at the head of the sculpture, higher than the others), St. Sebastian, St. Francis Xavier, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Eligius, St. Rosalia, and St. Anne.
5 – Town coat of arms (square Masarykovo náměstí)
The town coat of arms is paved on the corner of the square Masarykovo náměstí. It is composed of white (silver) cones on a red field in two rows above each other and with a central plate in the middle which carries two wine-knives. The original silver cones refer to the coat of arms of the town founder, Bruno von Schauenburg. The number of the cones on the town coat of arms changed over time, until bishop Dietrichstein came to power. Since then, there are four cones in the top row and two in the bottom row. Dietrichstein also added two wine-knives to it as a reference to his other estate – the town of Mikulov – where he oversaw large vineyards. Approximately in the place where the town coat of arms is placed in the pavement today, stood the original main town gate, to which led the most important long-distance roads (from Brno and from Olomouc). Originally, it included a passage tower which was connected by a bridge that led over a deep moat. The town gate was destroyed in 1857.
6 – Chocolate factory Yesterka (at 26 Jánská street)
Wandering around the town and soaking up knowledge deserve some reward and refreshments. What if it was in the form of chocolate from the local Yesterka chocolate factory? Chocolate pralines have been produced here since 2015 in small batches, using the finest Belgian chocolate without any preservatives or chemical additives. Chocolates of different sizes, shapes, and with a variety of fillings (ganache) with flavours of spices, herbs, vanilla, or fruit. They don’t just taste great, but they look great as well, which makes them a perfect gift from Kroměříž and an edible souvenir in one.
7 – Mirror Maze (at 36 square Velké náměstí)
The mirror maze is spread over two floors in the building that housed the Corso café and a movie theatre for more than a century. In fact, it houses several mazes: crystal maze (consisting of 200 mirrors and clear glass), classic mirror maze (with 80 mirrors), and a fun mirror maze for kids. Walking through the maze is fun for children and adults alike. And don’t worry, so far everyone has left the mirror kingdom safely. In addition to mazes, you can enjoy various kaleidoscopes, look into the endless well or have the most fun with warped and twisted mirrors which will change your appearance in crazy ways.
8 – Chateau Tower (square Sněmovní náměstí)
The Archbishop’s Chateau attracts attention from afar and up close with its majestic chateau tower, which is one of the landmarks of the town. The tower can be visited independently or as part of the tour of the chateau. It is 84 metres high. The observation deck is at a height of 40 metres, and it offers a breath-taking view from above of the town and its surroundings. The final view is definitely worth climbing the 206 steps (… and feel free to count them yourselves) … So, it’s only up from here!
9 – Guard booths (square Sněmovní náměstí)
The red and white guard booths in front of the main entrance to the Chateau bear the heraldic colours of the Olomouc archbishopric. It is not clear since when they have been standing in front of the Chateau, but they are first seen in photographs from the end of the 19th century. Their purpose was rather decorative, they are so small that a guard with his equipment can hardly fit into them. The archbishop’s princely guard performed a mainly representative function, standing in front of the chateau only during special events. A replica of the guard’s uniform can be seen in the town museum.
10 – The Mill Gate (square Sněmovní náměstí)
The Mill Gate is the last surviving gate in town, probably because its upper part is a corridor connecting the Chateau with the nearby Church of St. Maurice. The gate, along with other adjoining buildings, was the property of the bishops and archbishops of Olomouc, therefore it was protected from destruction during the expansion of the town.
11 – Small ZOO in the Chateau Garden
The small zoo is located right behind the entrance to the Chateau Garden (from the street Na Kopečku). Monkeys, birds of prey, and parrots are housed in five large cages and aviaries. Just a few steps away are other enclosures with both ornamental birds and poultry (for ex. geese, turkeys, chickens, and ducks), with fallow deer, goats, and an aviary with common backyards birds. On the paths, you can also encounter some free‑ranging animals, such as peacocks, who always call for your attention by their typical ear-splitting screams.
12 – Chotkův rybník (pond) in the Chateau Garden
The pond was named after archbishop Ferdinand Maria Chotek (1781–1836). The location appears in several scenes in the Czech kids and family movie “It is hell with a princess” (2009). The view of the Chateau from the shore of the pond is really beautiful and it is a perfect photo spot.