Olomouc is the sixth largest city in the Czech Republic. Located roughly halfway between Prague and Krakow, Olomouc boasts a concentration of Baroque architecture second only to Prague. Since 2000 town is listed on UNESCO World Heritage list for a range of historical monuments and entire area of an old city center, second in value to Prague. Olomouc was founded as a royal town near the Morava River in the early 13th century. The history of settlements here is much older. The Bishopric was founded here in 1063, centuries later in 1777, it was raised to the rank of an archbishopric. There are numerous religious monuments, such as the Bishop’s Cathedral of St. Wenceslas. The Bishop’s Palace is an outstanding monument with a complex design of windows. The second significant section of town is the western part with the Upper and the Lower squares. The remarkable rectory Church of St. Maurice and the extensive town hall, which has a bay chapel and a modern astronomical clock, date from the Gothic period.
After the Thirty Years’ War, the town was magnificently rebuilt in the Baroque style. Besides the buildings of the Jesuit order, the Archbishop’s Palace or the nearby pilgrimage place called “Svatý kopeček” (Holy Hill), a unique complex of six Baroque fountains and plague columns has been preserved.
In modern history Olomouc becomes technological, educational and cultural center of the region. It is seat of the high court and number of government institutions. There is seat of Palacky University in Olomouc, the oldest university in Moravia region founded in 1573. Along the university emerges clusters of research centers and technology incubator, which houses many IT companies, such as Oriflame Software, Sabris, CD Information Systems, Meopta. It also attracted foreign technology companies such as Honeywell. Olomouc is only short ride from Brno, which is another ICT and biotech center in Czech Republic.