“They say we are going to Olomutz,” wrote Tolstoy, “and Olomutz is a very decent town.” It’s strange that few people have discovered how right he was. In the middle Ages Oloumouc was the capital of the Great Moravian Empire, and its wealth crystallized into magnificent palaces and churches before trickling away to Brno carrying a wave of industrial sprawl. The unspoilt city centre is home to 25,000 students, who ensure a rich supply of lively bars, cafés and clubs.

The old town clusters around two adjacent squares, Horní (upper) and Dolní (lower). The town hall on Horní has an astronomical clock, exuberant Communist kitsch covered with gesticulating blonde peasants. Nearby is the polygonal Holy Trinity Column, which is the largest plague column in the country and is protected by UNESCO.