There is a small hill near Olomouc in the center of Moravia. On top of the hill, there is a magnificent complex of Baroque buildings around the Pilgrimage Basilica Of Our Lady. Most people know the place simply as „Holy Hill“. It is under the spiritual administration of the Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré, also known as the Norbertines. Vít Pohanka visited Father Ambrož Šámal of the order to find out more about this popular pilgimage site.
Historically, Olomouc used to be the historical capital of Moravia, the eastern part of what is now the Czech Republic. It all changed at the end of the Thirty Years' War when the city was ransacked by invading Swedish armies. All the important institutions were moved south to Brno and Olomouc never regained its previous privileged status. Luckily for the city, being sidelined by ruling regimes helped it to keep its charming rustic character. And now, in the 21st century, Olomouc is drawing young talent and energy.
Two new bishops of the Olomouc Archdiocese were consecrated at a ceremony
in the cathedral of St Wenceslas on Saturday. The newly ordained bishops,
Antonín Basler and Josef Nuzík, had been appointed to the office by Pope
Francis in June this year. They were consecrated by Archbishop Jan Graubner
The ceremony in the cathedral of St Wenceslas was attended by around two thousand people, including several other bishops from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland and representatives of the political and public life.
An annual summer school of Slavonic Studies got underway in the Moravian city of Olomouc on Saturday. Over 100 students from 23 countries around the world are attending the course, with the youngest a 16-year-old girl from China and the oldest an American man of 73. The summer school is being held at Olomouc’s Palacký University for the 31st time.
A new psychiatric evaluation of US citizen Kevin Dahlgren has been ordered by the Olomouc High Court. The move follows Dahlgren’s appeal against his life sentence delivered in July for the murder of four relatives in Brno. The court then had found the 24-year-old fully responsible for his actions. The main defence argument in the previous trial was that Kevin Dahlgren was not at the time of the crime able to understand the consequences of his actions. During the trial, Dahlgren spoke of voices in his head that blocked out everything else and encouraged him to do evil. It’s not clear whether the new evaluations will be carried out near Brno, where he is in prison, or at Prague’s main psychiatric hospital.
Enjoyment of the Czech speciality Olomoucké tvarůźky (also known as syrečky) – the pungent soft yellow cheese made in Olomouc is probably best described as an acquired taste. Children would describe the odour as akin to old socks forgotten in the laundry basket, although many adults enjoy a number of specialities made from the product. Even so, who would have bet that an ice cream made from the cheese would be a hit?
Several right-wing politicians, among them Civic Democrat Marek Benda and STAN party head Petr Gazdík, have called on Olomouc State Attorney Ivo Ištván, who supervised the case which brought down the Nečas government, to resign. Gazdík said none of the far-reaching accusations made had been proved in court and the state attorneys on the case should be held accountable.
A Kurdish brigadier general who fled persecution under the regime of late dictator Saddam Hussein, who held a Czech passport and had studied in Olomouc, was killed on Sunday in Iraq, the news website iDnes reports. The general, who was not named, was killed near Mosul where forces have launched an offensive to push out fighters for Daesh. According to the report, the general was shot by a terrorist fighter who had remained behind, who then detonated an explosive device, killing himself. iDnes cited details from a Kurdish news report.
A painting by famous Spanish mannerist El Greco, the Adoration of the Shepherds, will be exhibited in the Moravian city of Olomouc starting next week. The Olomouc Museum of Arts has acquired El Greco's masterpiece on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It will go on display on June 2 to mark the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Archdiocese Museum of Arts. I spoke to Miroslav Kindl, the head of the museum, and asked him to tell me more about the loan:
Czech police are facing a major shake-up with the new heads of the Prague, South Bohemia, Plzeň, and Olomouc regions needing to be selected. Some of the changes were already scheduled but some of them have been fast forwarded because of the so-called Vidkun scandal in Olomouc, where police are alleged to have closed their eyes to major cases of corruption. A similar clean out of regional police heads was undertaken by Police president Tomáš Tuhý in April.