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Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc

By Rachel Heller

What is the Holy Trinity Column?

The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc, Czechia, is an 18th-century Moravian Baroque memorial column 32 meters tall in Olomouc’s Upper Square. Designed by Václav Render, it is richly decorated with ornate statuary, including works by Moravian artist Ondrej Zahner, among others. Besides the fact that it is the biggest such column in Czechia, it is also a local source of pride because all the craftsmen who worked on it were local citizens.

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Text: Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc, Czechia. Images: below, a view of the whole column against a background of pretty buildings on a large square; above, looking up at the ornate top part of the column.

Such columns are a common sight in the region, built as an expression of faith or to memorialize an event. This one is a bit of both: serving to express love of the Catholic Church at the same time as marking the end of a plague in 1713-15.

Why is the Holy Trinity Column a UNESCO World Heritage site?

The Holy Trinity Column is exceptional among the many that remain in Czechia because it is “the most outstanding example of the Moravian Baroque style,” according to the UNESCO listing. It also “constitutes a unique material demonstration of religious faith in Central Europe during the Baroque period, and the Olomouc example represents its most outstanding expression.”

A view of the whole column in Olomouc.

What can you expect on a visit to Olomouc?

The column is easy to find on the Upper Square. Taking a careful look at the statuary along its length will reveal a number of beautiful images.

The gilded copper statues at the top represent the Holy Trinity and Archangel Gabriel, with an image of the Assumption underneath.

The base of the column has 18 stone statues and 14 reliefs. At the top are saints from Jesus’s life: St. Ann, St. Joachim, St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist as well as St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, the saints of the local town hall chapel. Reliefs show Faith, Hope and Love.

The lower, wider part of the column is shown here, busy with many statues of saints, mostly clutching rods or crosses of gold, and reliefs between them.

The next level down shows a series of Moravian saints. At the bottom are images of several more patron saints from Austria, Bohemia and Italy, all with connections to various institutions in Olomouc. Among them are reliefs of the 12 apostles.

The base of the column is round and 17 meters in diameter. Unusually, this column has a small chapel inside it as well. The chapel contains reliefs showing Bible stories.

Is the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc worth visiting?

Unless you are a particular enthusiast for religious imagery or Moravian Baroque statuary, it probably isn’t worth a special visit. If you happen to be in the area – the UNESCO site of Kroměříž not far from here, for example – then you might as well stop by.

The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc on the plaza in front of a row of elegant buildings. It is wide at the bottom, gratually narrowing until about halfway up. Above that is an almost straight column with a cluster of gold statuary at the top.

What sorts of travelers would like the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc?

Art buffs who particularly like Baroque art would like it. Others would enjoy the pretty square on which it stands.

Tips for visiting Olomouc

If you go, make sure to take a close look at the astronomical clock on the old town hall on Upper Square. Dating from the 15th century, it now bears wonderfully vivid images dating to the Communist period in the 1950s.

Also take a look at the six separate monumental fountains in the center of Olomouc, some of them quite beautiful.

You can also see the Holy Trinity Column from above by climbing the tower of the late-Gothic Church of St. Maurice.

Read about these other things to see here.

If you’re driving, this UNESCO site would combine well with several others in the region: Litomyšl Castle, Kroměříž Castle, or Villa Tugendhat in Brno, all about an hour away, or a bit more.

On the map below you can look for your accommodations in Olomouc.

Where is Olomouc?

Olomouc is at the eastern end of Czechia, west of Ostrava and northeast of Brno.

  • From Brno, driving will take an hour or more, or you can take a bus in about the same amount of time. Taking the train will take longer: two and a half hours because of the need to transfer in Hranice na M.
  • Driving to Olomouc from Ostrava takes an hour or so, or you can take a direct train in only about fifteen minutes longer than that.
  • From Prague, you can drive to Olomouc in about four hours, but taking the train is quicker, taking about two and a half hours.

For more information about Olomouc, see Olomouc’s tourism website.

Text and photos provided by Rachel Heller of Rachel’s Ruminations, a travel blog focusing on historical and cultural sights/sites for independent travelers. Rachel is also the owner of this website.

Have you been to Olomouc? If so, do you have any additional information or advice about this UNESCO World Heritage site? Please add your comments below!