The broader complex of the former Hradisko Monastery was composed of the independent building of the former monastery (today’s structure built in the 17th and 18th centuries, designed by architects G.P. Tencalla and D. Martinelli), the Church of St. Stephan (built in 1726-1731), and a number of other structures, of which remain today:
The former farm courtyard (today's appearance from the 1st half of the 18th century), the grounds of the old garden with fence (remnant of the decorative gardens built around the monastery beginning at the end of the 1730's).
The former refectory (1st half of the 18th century) and sculpture of St. John Nepomuk (by J.A. Winterhalder, 1737).
The history of the monastery grounds
The monastery was founded in 1078 by Olomouc appanage Prince Otto I Sličný and his wife Euphemia Uherska. The founders brought the Benedictine Order from Strahov to the new monastery. In 1150 this order was replaced by the Premonstratensians. The monastery grounds changed its appearance as the result of various events (for example, it was burned by the Tatars in 1241, raided in 1429, destroyed by Olomouc burghers in 1432 out of fear of being occupied again by Hussites, and seized and destroyed by Swedes in 1642). New construction of the monastery was commenced in 1659 and the structure gradually gained the appearance it has till today. The final substantial modifications to the building were performed relatively recently; these concerned repairs to the exterior walls of the building (1989-1997), modifications to the courtyard including renovation of the fountain in the large courtyard on the original Baroque ground plan, extension of part of the central tower (1995), and restorations of artistic ornamentation.
The monastery was an important spiritual and cultural centre from its very beginning. For example, under the reign of the Přemyslid appanage princes in Olomouc (11th and 12th centuries) the monastery became a centre of spiritual life, and around 1140 the oldest Moravian chronicler (known as the Hradisko analyst), a Benedictine monk, was in residence at the monastery. The monastery also served at this time as the burial site for the Olomouc Přemyslids. In the first half of the 13th century a sanctuary was established on monastery grounds for the sick and elderly. Regular theatrical performances were held at the monastery in the third quarter of the 16th century and in the 18th century.
In 1784 Emperor Joseph II abolished Hradisko, thus ending more than six hundred years of the Premonstratensian monastery. Until 1790 the building of the former monastery served as a general seminary for the training of priests (during the years 1787-1790 J. Dobrovský served as vice-chancellor and later as chancellor). In 1790 the building was acquired by the Austrian army, which first used the monastery as a storage facility, later as a prisoner of war camp, and finally as a military hospital in 1802. The monastery building is used as a military hospital till this day.
The monastery building
The monastery building gained its current Baroque appearance in the 17th and 18th centuries. The building of the monastery is one of the most valuable works of Central European Baroque architecture thanks to its preserved, nearly square floor plan (dimensions of 100 x 115 metres), with four wings and four corner towers, a transverse wing with a central tower, one large (south) and three small (north) courtyards, the addition of the central Church of St. Stephan, and rich artistic interior ornamentation.
The construction of Hradisko was begun following the departure of the Swedes from Moravia in 1650 after their destruction of the old monastery in 1642. In 1661 the construction of the former monastery church was completed, the construction of the new monastery was commenced in 1686, and in 1697 the central tower was completed (the tower was damaged by fire in the 18th century and the original appearance of the tower, measuring approximately 72 metres, was not restored until 1995). In 1702 the monastery library was built, thus completing the construction of the older, northern part of the monastery.
Construction of the newer southern part of the monastery involving the new prelature and large courtyard, and including the Church of St. Stephan which served as the prelate chapel, was conducted in the period following 1726. The design of the monastery is attributed to G.P. Tencalla and it is assumed that D. Martinelli contributed to the design of the southern part of the structure.
Eight Baroque statues on the main face of the prelature (likely from around 1730). These involve statues of the founders and patrons of the monastery (in the middle St. Norbert, on both sides statues of angels, on the left side statues of Prince Vratislav and St. Stephan, on the right side statues of Olomouc appanage Prince Otto Sličný and his wife Euphemia Uherská).
Several points of interest in the interior
The ceremonial hall of the prelature.
Includes rich stucco ornamentation (B. Fontana, A. Ricci), a fresco of the Sermon on the Mount and the Miraculous Feeding of Five Thousand Wanderers (ceiling of the ceremonial hall, by P. Troger), six painted cartouches with scenes from the Old Testament (1731 P. Troger), tromp l’oeil (walls of the ceremonial hall, Tassi), sculptures of Samuel Welcoming Saul, King David Accepting Sacred Bread from the High Priest Achimelech (J.A. Winterhalder), relief of Peter’s Denial of Christ and the Landing of St. Paul on Cyprus (J.A. Winterhalder), relief of Virtues and Vices: Vanity, Vigilance, Generosity, Avarice, Fairness, Strictness, Cheerfulness, Bravery, Piety, and Strength (located between windows in the ceremonial hall).
The vestibule of the ceremonial hall.
Worthy of attention are the grisaille ceiling painting with scenes from the life of St. Norbert, six allegorical statues of Love, Faith, Hope, Wisdom, Bravery, and Humility (J.A. Winterhalder, 1731-1732), decorative vases, and statues of linkboys (J.A. Winterhalder).
The former monastery library.
The north side of the monastery with a mural painting of the Allegory of Science, Art, and Religion (ceiling of the library, I. Monti), paintings between the window frames and above the entrance portal (I. Monti), and rich stucco ornamentation (B. Fontana).
Guest (Theresian) room (southwest tower).
Features the ceiling painting Conversion on Mount Tabor (D. Gran, 1739) and a decorative mural (K. Wiedon, 1739).
Former abbey chapel (southwest tower).
Features the ceiling painting from 1738 with themes from the Holy Trinity, St. Norbert, St. Stephan, and the Baptism of Prince Bořivoj. The artist of the work is J.K. Handke.
The former abbey winter dining room (1st floor of the eastern part of the prelacy).
Features a mural painting from J.K. Handke with the theme Praise to Jesus Christ from the Four Continents (1738).
Text: Jindřich Garčic
Garčic, J.: Olomouc. A Guide to the City and Surrounding Areas. Olomouc. 1996
Mlčák,L.: Hradisko in Olomouc. Ostrava 1978
Netopil,M.: Hradisko Monastery: National Cultural Monument. Olomouc 1999
List of Cultural Monument Structures in Olomouc. Olomouc 1996
Klášterní Hradisko v Olomouci
Sušilovo nám. 5
Monastery tours with guide:
Every first Saturday of the month, on the hour from 8am to 11pm
Every Thursday, on the hour from 2pm to 3pm.
The Church of St. Stephen:
Mass Mo – Sa 4:45pm, Su 8:00am
Mo – We, Fr from 1:00pm to 2:00pm