The Great Town Square of Kromeriz
We arrived in the town of Kroměříž, Czech Republic in the hot afternoon of a July summer sun. At first sight, the baroque-style buildings looked dainty in their pastel-hued colors surrounding the cobbled-stone town square dating from the 13th century making for an intriguing allure to want to go and explore. The Marian Column with the Virgin Mary on it stands out in the square and is a reminder of the plague that struck the town in the 1713 for 2 years. As with many Czech towns, there is much history to be discovered going back many centuries.
Hotel La Fresca where actor Tom Hulce stayed during filming Amadeus
Before exploring, we checked into the Hotel La Fresca, a historic Hotel facing the square, with a restaurant out front serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
My room was on the 3rd floor (there is a hotel elevator) facing the back, but it had a very good working air-conditioning unit over the door which I quickly turned down to cool off the room. The room was really cute, with an iron framed double-bed, desk with chair, large armoire and a separate en suite. I slept comfortably (and coolly) and found out from my FAM mates that the rooms facing the square were a bit noisier due to all-night partiers in the square. Plus those rooms didn’t have A/C but some had a bathtub.
Chateau and Tower Tour
The next morning we were scheduled for a lot of activity in one day as is common on FAM trips. We started with a walk to the Chateau Kroměříž : Archbishop’s Palace
The Archbishop’s Château and Gardens are among the most attractive and historical places in the Czech Republic. This is evidenced by the fact that the Archbishop’s Château, the Flower Garden and the Château Garden were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1998. In the interior courtyard and foyer entrance are some marvelous marble statues.
Starting the tour of the chateau we went into the trophy hunting room where hundreds of stuffed animal heads, guns, and a large pool table are featured. This room was furnished for a meeting between the Russian Czar Alexander III and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I. The room in which they held their meeting in August of 1885 was called the Czar’s room. It is done mostly in a rich burgundy color with many paintings on the wall, exquisite marble statues, diamond chandeliers, marble console tables, and intricate tapestries all lend for a lavish décor.
From the windows of the Czar room one can look out to the chateau gardens below.
Where scenes in the movie Amadeus were filmed
Moving on to the next room, the Abbey or Church, one can gasp at the immense size and see the hundreds of light-blue and white chairs set up orderly. The 52-foot (16 meters) high ceiling is adorned with an intricate painting while the antique-white walls with touches of gold reflect the long hanging oversized diamond chandeliers. The floor-to-ceiling windows were open letting in a warm breeze and lots of beautiful sunlight danced around off the shiny decorations. There is a grand piano in the corner as music recitals are held here. Parts of the movie Amadeus were also filmed in this room.
The Rooms in the Chateau
The next rooms we visit are the “office” with a secretary desk, the Bishop’s personal bedroom displaying the Bishop’s clothing of the period and more intricately painted ceilings to remind one they should look above to the heavens. Further down is a sort of Judicial-type room where legal matters were addressed. Next was the music room, then the massive library with 4-ft tall spinning globes. After viewing this beautiful interior we headed outside making a quick stop at the chocolate shop on the bottom floor to get some quick energy before ascending the 300-steps to the medieval tower top.
Medieval Tower; a Cultural Monument in Czechia
The views from atop the tower were breath-taking of Kromeriz and the surrounding countryside. You can walk all the way around the tower and read the plaques that orient you to which direction you are looking and what landmarks to look for.
On the way down there is a small exhibit with historical reference to the building of the tower.
Back at the ground floor there is a gift shop. Standing floor posters explain the historical significance of this Moravian region as the D.O.M. which stands for Duchovni (Spiritual) Osa (Axis) of Moravy <Moravia> This axis includes the Archbishop’s Palace in Olomouc 35km away and the Archbishop’s Palace of Kromeriz.
Sauntering outside behind to the immense Chateau gardens that span 64 hectares we hopped aboard a tram-train. There we saw trees, peacocks roaming peacefully everywhere, ponds, and small buildings with forgotten histories. There is a café with picnic tables and a children’s sandbox area.
Then to the city hall where we saw a wall mural done by the famous local artist born in Kromeriz, Max Švabinský
Finally stopping for lunch at the Cerny Orel or Black Eagle, we were also given a behind-the-scenes view of this restaurants beer brewery. The owner also showed us the adjacent chocolate shop they run and gave us some delicious samples.
Next up was the outdoor Archbishop Flower Gardens which is its own park. The park is designed similar to Versailles in that there are geometric patterns ornately designed with hedges and flowers and plants placed in orderly fashion. In the center of this awe-inspiring wonderland is a rotunda that contains a pendulum hanging from a 25-foot wire. This is another nod to the French design as you can find a similar pendulum in the Pantheon in Paris.
That was the end of touring Kromeriz for the day. Jumping back in the van, we were headed next for Luhacovice Spa Town.