Ostrava is the third largest city in the Czech Republic, it lies in the Moravian-Silesian Region. It was named after the Ostravice river, formerly called the Ostrava river. It has about 330 thousand inhabitants. Ostrava is situated near the borders with Poland and Slovakia. Its coat of arms depicts a white horse on a blues background and a golden rose in the top right-hand corner.
Ostrava was established in 1267, it was a property of bishop of Olomouc. In 1763 coal was discovered, and in 1828 the Rudolf foundry, later known as Vitkovice ironworks was established.
In the past it was known as „the steel heart“ of the republic. It was thought to be inhospitable and dirty. Local industries were based on hard coal mining and steel production.
However, in recent years it has undergone an enormous transformation. Work in many industrial plants has been stopped, the last coal was mined in 1994. Thousand of miners and steelworkers had to retrain and try to find a different job. Although many of the heavy industry companies have been closed down, the city still remains one of the most polluted in the Czech Republic.
Many buildings have been restored and nowadays Ostrava can host a lot of cultural and sports events. Ostrava was also a candidate for the title of European Capital of Culture 2015.
Old Town Hall – is situated at Masaryk Square, currently it´s home to the Ostrava Museum
New City Hall – it was built between 1925 and 1930 and it´s the largest city hall complex in the Czech Republic, its viewing platform is 73 metres high. The building houses the offices of Ostrava City Council.
St.Wenceslas‘ Church – the oldest remaining building in the city, dating from the first half of the 13th century
Plague Column of Virgin Mary – it´s the city´s oldest preserved Baroque sculpture, dating from 1702, it´s situated at Masaryk Square
Cathedral of the Divine Saviour – the second largest church in Moravia and Silesia (after Velehrad)
Antonín Dvořák Theatre, Jiří Myron Theatre, Puppet Theatre
Vítkovice Site – Hlubina colliery, coking plant and blast furnaces – this site has been declared an Industrial Heritage Site, it is a unique example of industrial architecture from the first half of the 19th century. It was founded by archduke Rudolf and was the first one of its kind in the entire Austro-Hungarian empire.
Sileasian Ostrava Castle – it was built in the 13th century, now it is owned by the city of Ostrava. It was opened to the public in 2004, after its reconstruction.
Mining Museum – it contains permanent exhibitions on the development of the mining industry, one mining shaft is open to the public
Michal Colliery – it´s a National Heritage Site, you can find there a preserved mine and buildings dating back from 1912-1915
Stodolní Street – this area has recently become a new phenomenon in Ostrava, there are more than 50 pubs and clubs and it is visited by thousands of people every week
Colours of Ostrava – the biggest international music festival in the Czech Republic, it is held every summer
There are two major universities – the University of Ostrava (1991) and the Technical University of Ostrava (1945).
High unemployment, pollution
- Do you like your town/region? Why (not)?
- Which places would you show a friend visiting your town?
- Which places in Ostrava (the region) do you often go to?
- If you could choose, would you like to stay here or live somewhere else?