Zdíkův palác
Zdíkův palác

Olomouc boasts one of the most important residential buildings of High Romanesque Europe – the palace of Bishop Jindřich Zdík, and it will open to the public on Friday 29 March. Not only the part with the rare Romanesque windows will be open, but of course also the Gothic cloister with its wall paintings, which has been open in all four arms since last year.

“The Zdík Palace is open every year from April to the end of September. This year, in view of Easter and the very good weather, we decided to make an exception and open it to the public a few days earlier. Visitors to the Archdiocesan Museum will thus be able to see the Zdík Palace for the first time on Good Friday,” says Tomáš Kasal, spokesman for the MUO.

The Romanesque Episcopal Palace has been a tourist attraction of the Archdiocesan Museum since September 2006. It is the first time in the palace’s thousand-year history that it has been possible to walk from the former chapter deanery to the cloister and the Romanesque palace without a barrier. During the extensive reconstruction of the building, new exhibition halls (the New Cellar and the New Hall) were created, which allow visitors to pass from the basement of the purgatory directly into the cloister of the Romanesque bishop’s palace.

The palace itself was the residence of the Bishop of Olomouc, Jindřich Zdík, one of the most important personalities of 12th century Czech history. Jindřich Zdík is considered to be the son of the chronicler Kosmas. Thanks to his education and his frequent contacts with influential circles abroad, he gained a broad cultural and political insight that enabled him to carry out many bold plans, such as the introduction of the Premonstratensian Order into the Bohemian lands or an attempt to reform the Moravian Church. Bishop Zdík was not only a politician and reformer, but also a lover of art. From his travels abroad, he brought many excellent sculptors, stonemasons and illuminators who created admirable works for him in Olomouc.

The origin of the Olomouc residence is connected with the construction of the Church of St. Wenceslas, founded at the beginning of the 12th century by Prince Svatopluk of Olomouc. The construction was completed by Bishop Zdík. He built a representative palace in the neighbourhood of the church, adjoined by a smaller rectangular cross corridor and a chapter house for the priests to live together. In 1141, the bishop moved here permanently with twelve canons. The architecture of the residence was unparalleled in the Bohemian lands in the 12th century. The bishop’s palace was a two-storey building with a rectangular plan. The ground floor served as an outbuilding. The first floor, which is now part of the tour route of the Archdiocesan Museum, served as a private residence. The original floor was lower than the footbridge that visitors walk across. In fact, the footbridge rests on a Gothic vault that was erected on the site of a ruined Romanesque palace during the construction of the cloister in the 14th century.

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)