The Collegiate Church of St. Florian was built between 1185 and 1216. It was burnt down many times in the 12th, 16th and 17th centuries. Notably, during the Swedish siege of Kraków, General Stefan Czarniecki ordered the city's suburbs burned down. However, during the city-wide fire which consumed a considerable part of Kraków in 1528, the church – containing St. Florian's relics – survived. Since then St. Florian, usually portrayed as a Roman legion officer carrying water, has been revered in Poland as patron saint of firefighters and chimneysweeps. The church's present appearance is the result of a Baroque renovation after the Polish-Swedish wars.
Since the 16th century the Church has been the University Collegiate. The coronation route began there, with the rector of the university senate welcoming new kings. The Church was also the starting point for royal funeral processions to Wawel Cathedral.
In 1667 the remains of Queen Ludwika Maria Gonzaga, wife of King Jan II Kazimierz, were placed there temporarily, and in 1818 the remains of Tadeusz Kościuszko were placed there. From 17 September 1949 to September 1951, Father Karol Wojtyła, who later became Pope John Paul II, worked there as a vicar. As Pope, in 1999 he elevated the Church to a minor basilica.References:
The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way. The column is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it.
The base of the column, in three levels, is surrounded by 18 more stone sculptures of saints and 14 reliefs in elaborate cartouches. At the uppermost stage are saints connected with Jesus’ earth life – his mother’s parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, his foster-father St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist, who was preparing his coming – who are accompanied by St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, saints to whom the chapel in the Olomouc town hall was dedicated. Three reliefs represent the Three theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love.
Below them, the second stage is dedicated to Moravian saints St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who came to Great Moravia to spread Christianity in 863, St. Blaise, in whose name one of the main Olomouc churches is consecrated, and patrons of neighbouring Bohemia St. Adalbert of Prague and St. John of Nepomuk, whose following was very strong there as well.
In the lowest stage one can see the figures of an Austrian patron St. Maurice and a Bohemian patron St. Wenceslas, in whose names two important Olomouc churches were consecrated, another Austrian patron St. Florian, who was also viewed as a protector against various disasters, especially fire, St. John of Capistrano, who used to preach in Olomouc, St. Anthony of Padua, a member of the Franciscan Order, which owned an important monastery in Olomouc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a patron of students. His sculpture showed that Olomouc was very proud of its university. Reliefs of all twelve apostles are placed among these sculptures.
The column also houses a small chapel inside with reliefs depicting Cain's offering from his crop, Abel's offering of firstlings of his flock, Noah's first burnt offering after the Flood, Abraham's offering of Isaac and of a lamb, and Jesus' death. The cities of Jerusalem and Olomouc can be seen in the background of the last mentioned relief.