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Czech Republic
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About Location

Ostrava is the third largest city in the Czech Republic and the second largest urban agglomeration after Prague.Located close to the Polish border,it is also the administrative center of the Moravian-Silesian Region and of the Municipality with Extended Competence.Ostrava was candidate for the title of European Capital of Culture 2015.Ostrava is located at the confluence of the Ostravice,Oder,Lucina and Opava rivers.Its history and growth have been largely affected by exploitation and further use of the high quality black coal deposits discovered in the locality,giving the town a look of an industrial city and a nickname of the “steel heart of the republic” (Czech: ocelove srdce republiky) during the communist era of Czechoslovakia. Many of the heavy industry companies are being closed down or transformed.

Ostrava was an important crossroads of prehistoric trading routes,namely the Amber Road. Archaeological finds have proved that the area around Ostrava has been permanently inhabited for 25,000 years.Circa 23,000 BC, the Venus of Petřkovice (Petrkovicka venuse in Czech) from Petrkovice in Ostrava, Czech Republic, was made.It is now in Archeological Institute, Brno.In the 13th century, the Ostravice river marked the border between the Silesian duchy of Opole and the March of Moravia under Bohemian suzerainty.Two settlements arose on both sides of the river: Slezska Ostrava (Silesian Ostrava) was first mentioned in 1229, Moravska Ostrava (Moravian Ostrava) in 1267, it received town privileges in 1279. The Piast dukes of Opole in 1297 built a fortress on their side of the river. Both parts were largely settled by Germans in the course of the Ostsiedlung.

Ostrava is located in the north-eastern area of the Czech Republic,very close to the Polish (15 km (9.3 mi)) and Slovak (55 km (34 mi)) borders. It spreads over the northern part of the natural north-south valley called the Moravian Gate (Moravska brana) with an average elevation of approximately 210 m (690 ft) above sea level.

All underground coal mines were closed down shortly after the Velvet revolution in 1989,due to unfavourable geological and political conditions which caused mining to become uneconomical in the post-communist system,and also because of ex-mayor Evzen Tosenovsky's drive to modernize the city's industries. The last minecart with coal was retrieved from new Odra Mine (formerly Frantisek Mine) on 30 June 1994.

How to Reach

By Air

Ostrava has an international airport called Ostrava Leos Janacek Airport with regular services to Prague (Czech Airlines, 4 times daily)and Vienna (Central Connect Airlines, 2/3 flights on weekdays).Hourly buses from the airport to Ostrava,a 35-minute ride,depart between 7:15AM and 10:15PM, tickets can be bought from drivers.

By Train

Ostrava lies on the main rail route connecting Vienna and Warsaw.Ostrava,as a third largest city,has direct train connection with the capital city Prague.Some EuroCity trains go also to Zilina and Kosice.

By Bus

Public transport infrastructure consists of 17 tram (streetcar),9 trolleybus,59 day bus lines.Service is provided mainly by Dopravni Podnik Ostrava a.s. (Ostrava City Transportation Company).

Key places to visit
Landek park, Lower Vitkovice Area, Antonin Dvorak Theatre, Silesian Ostrava Castle, Ostrava Zoo, Technical University of Ostrava, the Michal Mine, Miniuni


Places to Visit

Landek park

Located on the former Anselm Mine (one of the first to be established at the end of the 18th century in what is today the Petřkovice District of Ostrava), the Mining Museum was opened in the early 1990’s.It is the largest mining museum in the Czech Republic.The coal seams of the former Anselm Mine surface at the Landek National Nature Reserve, a world famous site in terms of geology,archaeology, history, natural sciences and mining.Man was using black coal here more that 25 000 years ago! A unique exhibition of the Mining Museum highlights the evolution of coal mining in the Ostrava-Karvina region, as well as mining technology,and rescue services. In fact, it is the largest exhibition of its kind in the world. The site includes sports and recreation facilities, bowling, cycling trails and a children’s corner. Kc 70 (short circuit) or Kc 150 (long circuit),double price for an English guide, book him in advance.

Lower Vitkovice Area

This is an industrial area origination from the 1st half of the 19th century.In 2002, in view of its exceptional character, the entire ground was declared a site of National Cultural Heritage.There was the complete technological flow: the mining of coal, a coke plant, and iron and steel production, all of which was unique to the Czech Republic.This historic landmark was listed as the European Cultural Heritage in 2008.The Vítkovice complex Dolni oblast is set to undergo extensive reconstruction.The giant gas container for blast furnace gas (around 70 m wide and 33 m high) will be modified into a concert hall for 1,500 visitors, a gallery, cafe, etc.,based on design by leading Czech architect, Josef Pleskot. Blast Furnace no 1 will become the start of a tour route, and the sixth energy central office will become an industrial museum (project authored by Václav and Helena Zemankovi.

Antonin Dvorak Theatre

Neo-baroque building of the theatre was designed by architect Alexander Graf, realisation was made by Ostrava company Noe & Storch. Antonin Dvorak Theatre was the first building in Czechoslovakia using reinforced concrete beams.Antonin Dvorak Theatre in Ostrava is one of the opera houses in the Czech Republic. It is a part of the National Moravian Silesian Theatre, founded in 1918.The interior was designed by sculptors of the Johann Bock & son company. The sculptures decorating the facade made Eduard Smetana and Leopold Kosiga. Drama and Music, two reliefs in the main foyer of the theatre, were donated by academic sculptor Helena Scholzova alias Helen Zelezny-Scholz.

Silesian Ostrava Castle

Is a castle in Ostrava, in the northeastern Czech Republic.It was originally built in the 1280s near the confluence of the Lučina and Ostravice rivers.The castle was built for military purposes due to its proximity to the Polish border.In 1534, the gothic castle was rebuilt into a renaissance chateau. It burned down in 1872 but was rebuilt.It was restored recently after many years of dilapidation, caused by coal mining under the castle.Today, the castle is one of the most important tourist attraction of the city.

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