Olomouc contains several large squares, the chief of which is adorned with the Holy Trinity Column, 115 ft. high, erected in 1740. The most prominent church is the St. Wenceslas cathedral, a Gothic building of the 14th century with a tower 328 ft high and the biggest church-bell in Moravia. It contains the tomb of King Wenceslaus III, who was murdered here in 1306. The St. Maurice church, a fine Gothic building of the 15th century and the St. Michael church are also worth mentioning. The principal secular building is the town hall, completed in the 15th century, flanked on one side by a Gothic chapel, transformed now into a museum. It possesses a tower 250 ft. high adorned with an astronomical clock. The old university founded in 1573 and suppressed in 1860, was reopened in 1946.
Olomouc is said to occupy the site of a Roman fort founded in the imperial period, the original name of which, Mons Julii, has been gradually corrupted to the present form. At a later period Olomouc was long the capital of the province of Moravia, but it ceded that position to Brno in 1640. During the Thirty Years' War it was occupied by the Swedes for eight years. The town was originally fortified by Maria Theresa during the wars with Frederick the Great, who besieged the town unsuccessfully for seven weeks in 1758. In 1848 Olomouc was the scene of the emperor Ferdinand's abdication, and in 1850 an important conference took place here between Austrian and German statesmen. The bishopric of Olomouc was founded in 1063, and raised to the rank of an archbishopric in 1777.