Cyril and Methodius Route – Cultural Route of the Council of Europe

Basilica minor of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary

The Basilica on Svatý Kopeček is an unmissable dominant feature of the whole surroundings of Olomouc. The Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary on Svatý Kopeček has been the destination of thousands of pilgrims for centuries, and even today it is one of the most famous and most visited pilgrimage sites in the Czech Republic. According to the legend, the pilgrimage site was founded by Jan Andrýsek, a townsman and wine merchant from Olomouc, by building a chapel, which the Virgin Mary requested in a dream. The main pilgrimage takes place on the Feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary (31 May), on the Sunday after the Feast of the Assumption (15 August) and on the following Monday and Tuesday and also on the last Sunday in October.

The church was built by the Premonstratensians in the 17th and 18th centuries on the site of a chapel destroyed by the Swedes. The orientation of the temple is unique, as the main axis does not run from east to west, but the temple faces the mother monastery Hradisko. The priest who blessed the faithful from the altar is said to have blessed the monastery as well when the doors were open. In 1995, Pope John Paul II elevated the church to the status of Basilica Minor. This important place of pilgrimage has undergone a long-term reconstruction, the second stage of which was completed in 2021. Thanks to the reconstruction, this Baroque jewel is now in perfect condition and the previously closed areas are now open to visitors. For example, a new tour circuit that takes visitors to the choir, where they can enjoy a unique view of the cathedral, also takes them through the previously inaccessible representative halls. Visitors can also visit the Svatý Kopeček Museum, which displays monstrances, reliquaries, mass vestments and an exhibition of pilgrimage. The museum tour has twenty stops with descriptions and QR codes, with the first stop located outside the basilica.