Ostrava

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Coordinates: 49°50′08″N 18°17′33″E / 49.83556°N 18.29250°E / 49.83556; 18.29250
Ostrava
City
Ostrava, 30. dubna.jpg
Flag
Coat-of-arms
Country Czech Republic
Region Moravian-Silesian
Little District Ostrava
Parts
Center Masarykovo náměstí
 - elevation 260 m (853 ft)
 - coordinates 49°50′08″N 18°17′33″E / 49.83556°N 18.29250°E / 49.83556; 18.29250
Area 998 km2 (385 sq mi)
 - metro 3,896 km2 (1,504 sq mi)
Density 9,150 / km2 (23,698.4 / sq mi)
Founded 1267
Mayor Ing. Petr Kajnar (ČSSD, 2006–2010, 2010–2014)
Postal code 702 00
Location in the Czech Republic
Location in the Czech Republic
Location in the Moravian-Silesian Region
Location in the Moravian-Silesian Region
Statistics: statnisprava.cz
Website: www.ostrava.cz
City logo

Ostrava (Czech pronunciation: [ˈostrava], locally: [oˈstrava] ( ); German: Ostrau, Polish: Ostrawa) 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 Ostrava-City District.

Ostrava is located at the confluence of the Ostravice, Oder, Lučina 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: ocelové srdce republiky) during the communist era of Czechoslovakia. Many of the heavy industry companies are being closed down or transformed, yet the city remains one of the most polluted in the European Union.

Etymology[edit]

Ostrava was named after the river Ostrá (meaning sharp) which today is called Ostravice.

History[edit]

Ostrava was an important crossroads of prehistoric trading routes, namely the Amber Road. Archaeological finds have proved that the area around Ostrava has been continuously inhabited for 25,000 years. Circa 23,000 BC, the Venus of Petřkovice from Petřkovice 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: Slezská Ostrava (Silesian Ostrava) was first mentioned in 1229, Moravská 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.

Until the late 18th century, Moravská Ostrava was a small provincial town with a population around one thousand inhabitants engaged in handicraft. In 1763, large deposits of black coal were discovered, leading to an industrial boom and a flood of new immigrants in the following centuries. During the 19th century, several mine towers were raised in and around the city and the first steel works were established at Vítkovice, acquired by Salomon Mayer von Rothschild in 1843. Industrial growth was made possible by the completion of Kaiser-Ferdinands-Nordbahn from Vienna in 1847. The 20th century saw further industrial expansion of the city accompanied by an increase in population and the quality of civic services and culture. However, during World War II, Ostrava – as an important source of steel for the arms industry – suffered several massive bombing campaigns that caused extensive damage to the city.

Since the Velvet revolution in 1989 the city has been going through major changes. A thorough restructuring of industry is taking place – coal mining in the area of the city was stopped in 1994 and a large part of the Vítkovice ironworks near the city center was closed down in 1998. Both actions improved the environment dramatically, although the Arcelor Mittal plant (ex-Nová Huť) continues to heavily pollute the Radvanice district and the surrounding area, resulting in one of the highest concentrations of PM10 dust in Europe.[1]

Historical population[edit]

1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
279,209 300,799 326,929 327,608 331,466 324,813 320,041 310,078 325,419

Mayors[edit]

Period Name
1861–1864 Hermann Zwierzina
1864–1873 Alois Anderka
1873–1880 Konstantin Grünwald
1880–1888 Anton Lux
1888–1901 Adalbert Johanny
1901–1918 Gustav Fiedler
1918 Johann Ulrich (until 17 December 1918)
1918–1935 Jan Prokeš
1935–1939 Josef Chalupník
1939–1940 Josef Hinner
1940–1945 SS Sturmbannführer Emil Beier
1945 Josef Lampa (interim, for three weeks)
1945–1960 Josef Kotas
1960–1964 Jan Buchvaldek
1964–1968 Josef Kempný
1968–1971 Zdeněk Kupka
1971–1986 Eduard Foltýn
1986–1989 Bedřich Lipina
1989–1990 Lubomír Vejr
1990–1993 Jiří Smejkal
1993–2001 Evžen Tošenovský
2001–2002 Čestmír Vlček
2002–2006 Aleš Zedník
2006–current Petr Kajnar

Geography and climate[edit]

Climate data for Ostrava
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 0.4
(32.7)
2.8
(37)
7.7
(45.9)
13.5
(56.3)
18.9
(66)
21.9
(71.4)
23.6
(74.5)
23.4
(74.1)
19.4
(66.9)
14.0
(57.2)
6.7
(44.1)
2.0
(35.6)
12.86
(55.14)
Average low °C (°F) −5.6
(21.9)
−4.1
(24.6)
−0.8
(30.6)
3.0
(37.4)
7.3
(45.1)
10.6
(51.1)
11.9
(53.4)
11.6
(52.9)
8.7
(47.7)
4.7
(40.5)
0.9
(33.6)
−3.2
(26.2)
3.75
(38.75)
Precipitation mm (inches) 26.7
(1.051)
30.2
(1.189)
34.0
(1.339)
52.4
(2.063)
91.2
(3.591)
104.4
(4.11)
91.1
(3.587)
91.8
(3.614)
58.8
(2.315)
42.3
(1.665)
44.6
(1.756)
34.3
(1.35)
701.8
(27.63)
Avg. precipitation days 7 7 7 8 11 11 11 10 8 7 9 8 104
Source: World Meteorological Organisation (UN)[2]

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 (Moravská brána) with an average elevation of approximately 210 m (690 ft) above sea level.

The local climate is continental temperate, with warm summers and reasonably cold winters (the lowest temperatures usually do not fall much below -20 °C). The yearly average temperature is 10.2 °C (50.4 °F) (January low: −1.2 °C (29.8 °F), July high: 25 °C (77 °F)), the yearly rainfall is around 526 mm (20.7 in).

The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for the local climate is "Dfb". (Warm Summer Continental or Hemiboreal climates).[3]

People and demographics[edit]

As of January 2011, the official estimated population of Ostrava was 310,464 inhabitants, living in a total of 23 districts formed by the unification of 34 original small towns and villages. Ostrava covers an area of 214 square kilometres (83 sq mi). The population density is 1,450 people per km².

Historically, among the most influential ethnic groups besides Czechs in Ostrava were the Poles, Germans and the Jews. However, during and after the World War II years the situation changed completely, as most Ostravian Jews were killed or transported to concentration camps (on 17 October 1939, the first transport of Jews to a camp under the Nisko Plan, and the Nazi administrative innovation known as the General Government was held in Ostrava – the first of its kind in Europe). After World War II, Germans were expelled from Ostrava. Thus, the population of the city has become a mixture of Silesians, Moravians, Czechs, Slovaks and Poles. The mayor of Ostrava Josef Hinner opposed the deportation with the magistrate and German forces and started to organize the resistance to smuggle Jewish citizens from the city and surrounding areas. Due to his opposition, mayor Hinner was deported and placed in a concentration camp, barely surviving World War II. A memorial commemorating the Jewish inhabitants of Ostrava who became victims of the Holocaust was built in Milada Horáková Park.[4] On August 16, 2011, the memorial was vandalized in what seems to be an anti-Semitic act.[5]

The unemployment rate is 12% (as of December 2010).[citation needed]

Steel industry and underground coal mines[edit]

Night view from Hrabůvka towards Vítkovice and the city center
View of the Cathedral of the Divine Saviour and Industrial complex area

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 Evžen Tošenovský's drive to modernize the city's industries. The last minecart with coal was retrieved from new Odra Mine (formerly František Mine) on 30 June 1994.[6]

Some of the largest industrial companies lie in the city of Ostrava. The Vitkovice steel works, located in the suburb of the same name near the city center, concentrates on metallurgy and machine engineering. It was established in 1828 and now it is undergoing a major transformation. The Vítkovice complex Dolní oblast[7] underwent extensive reconstruction. The giant gas container for blast furnace gas (around 70 m wide and 33 m high) has been modified into a concert hall for 1,500 visitors, a gallery, café, etc., based on design by leading Czech architect, Josef Pleskot. Blast Furnace no. 1 has become the start of a tour route, and the sixth energy central office has become an industrial museum (project authored by Václav and Helena Zemánkovi). The expected date for completion of reconstruction is set for 2013.

Michal Mine[8] whose history goes back to 1843, is an extremely valuable authentic industrial site in terms of construction and technical equipment. The museum provides visitors with the chance to look over all of the above ground work areas that a miner would have to go through to get to his shift. The tour includes, the dressing rooms, washrooms, registry, dispatching, and most importantly, the machine room, with its original and unique equipment that had worked until 1993, when the mine was permanently closed. The scene, intentionally left intact, without any artificial arrangements being made, gives the impression as if work there has just ended. Some of the rooms in the Museum house also other kinds of temporary exhibitions, often displaying works by foreign artists.

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[9] was opened in the early 1990s. 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. With the collection of miner’s lights and hand tools, visitors get a real taste of the hard work and dedication the men of the mines had. The tour includes a view of mining in the original seams with wooden braces, mining machines and belt conveyors.

Karolina[edit]

Construction of Nová Karolina (2010)

Karolina (Ostrava) (cs) is the name of an area approximately 30 hectares in size situated 500 m (1,600 ft) from the city's historic square. The Karolina area was originally used for heavy industry. After demolition of the old coking plant and clearing the entire area, the Karolina site can now be used to extend the Ostrava city center.

In late June 2006, the Dutch firm Multi Development won the contract to develop the grounds of the former Karolina site. Multi Development plans to invest 13 billion CZK (EUR 450 million).

Many new apartment buildings, offices and shops are planned for this new city district. There will also be a new church, a high-rise building, a large park by the Ostravice River and a university campus.

Culture[edit]

There are four theaters in Ostrava: Moravian-Silesian National Theatre (cs). It has two buildings: Divadlo Antonína Dvořáka (named after Antonín Dvořák) and Divadlo Jiřího Myrona.

Further there are Petr Bezruč Theatre (named after Petr Bezruč), Komorní scéna Aréna (Chamber theatre Arena) and Divadlo loutek (cs) (Puppet theatre).

Every July there is an international world music festival Colours of Ostrava taking place.

Ostrava has an orchestra, the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly called the Czech Radio Orchestra).

Ostrava was candidate for the title of European Capital of Culture 2015. It lost by 6 to 5 votes to Plzeň.[10]

Vin Diesel filmed some scenes for his Babylon A.D. movie in Ostrava.

Every second year in August the city of Ostrava hosts Ostrava Days of New Music, a biennale of contemporary classical music.

Education[edit]

Main sights[edit]

While Ostrava is usually not in the top ten list of tourist attractions of the Czech Republic, there are a number of interesting places to see and things to do there.

Some technical landmarks, such as Lower Vítkovice Area, the Michal Mine, and/or Landek Park, with its Mining Museum exhibition, have no match within the entire Czech Republic.

Another attraction, which is becoming more and more popular mainly among young people, is Stodolní Street (Stodolní ulice), actually a collection of streets just next to the center, full of bars, pubs and clubs, bringing night-life to the city and thousands of visitors all year long. There are currently around 60 places to have a drink or dance on this street, each with its own style and atmosphere. There are a few bigger events at this area throughout the year, the largest of which is the Colours of Ostrava a summer music festival hosting many musicians and groups from all over the world.

The New City Hall Viewing Tower provides visitors a panoramic view of the city and surroundings from a height of about 72 m (236 ft). In clear weather, the Moravian-Silesian Beskids and Jeseníky mountain ranges are visible.

The Silesian Ostrava Castle is one of the city's most historic cultural monuments. The castle was built in the eighties and nineties of the 13th century. In 1534, the gothic castle was rebuilt into a renaissance chateau. 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. It hosted the Colours of Ostrava music festival in 2007.

The Ostrava ZOO was founded in 1949 and officially opened in 1951; the zoo originally had only eight animals: three roes and five pheasants. Since that time, it has expanded to include 230 species of animals and, after relocation in 1956 to its current place, has grown from its original 0, 5 km2 to 3 km2 today. The most favourite children attraction is called Petting Zoo, where children could go right to the exhibition with goats and sheep. Every day, people can go to watch special commented feedings of animals, where a worker feeds an animal and talk about the animal and answer people’s question. The 230 species are housed in outdoor and indoor exhibits which include: African mammal house, monkey house, elephant house, 3 aviaries for birds, small Amazonia, hippo house. The Ostrava zoo was the first in the Czech Republic to see the birth of an elephant. Two elephants were born in 2011. The elder, a male named Sethi, died after a two months. The second one, a female named Rashmi, has flourished and can be visited in the elephant pavilion.

The Miniuni is a collection of over thirty 1:25 models of Europe's prominent edifices spreading across a 1.5ha area. Some of the exhibits are Prague's Old Town Hall, London's Big Ben, Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and a dominant 12m tall Eiffel Tower. The exhibition also features the Seven World Wonders and the World's Skyscrapers. Railways with model trains and water canals with model steamers add extra fun.

The Ostrava museum was established by merging three older local museums in the Old Post-Office building after World War One. Since 1931 it occupies the Old Town Hall in Masaryk Square, the oldest existing example of original historic architecture typical of Ostrava's city core. On display are local history of Ostrava and a couple of other theme shows. Its singular feature and pride item is the 225 cm (88.58 in) tall indoor astronomical clock called the Mašek Clock. It boasts 51 different functional features and consists of four dials: clock, calendar, astronomical and planetary dials.

The Fire-fighting Museum' building has been dedicated to fire-fighting since its completion in 1905. The exhibition features seven sections showing models of fire trucks and other fire-fighting hardware; model situations like fire, leaks of dangerous substances and traffic accidents; an exhibition of history and development of fire-fighting techniques and technology; breathing apparatuses and personal protection gear for chemical accident operations. Video features and documentaries show and explain the Whats and Whys of a fireman's job.

In the Ostravar brewery, an excursion route has been traced for visitors, who will be able to learn interesting things about the brewing of the Czech national drink. At the end of the route, visitors can taste their favourite brew. A great attraction of the Museum is a tap bar that is more than 60 years old. In addition to the tap-room, visitors can see a number of other interesting objects linked with brewing. There are, for example, specimens of barrels with illustrations of how they were made, transport glasses dating from the 1920s and 1930s and a historical barrelhead. All this is accompanied by historical photographs and labels.

The Ema Heap, made up of dirt, or mining waste material, from The Trinity Colliery, is now a favourite Sunday trip destination. It is 82 ha large and contains some 4 mil. cube meters of dirt. Spontaneous ignition appeared deep in its bowels in the 1960s and the invisible fire still keeps burning. Inside temperature reaches up to 1,500 °C (2,732 °F) creating suitable habitats for steppe species of fauna and flora along the dump limits. Extreme temperature produces rare minerals inside this man-made singularity of nature. Visitors should follow the marked yellow path.

Sport[edit]

Bazaly, home stadion of FC Banik.
Fans of FC Banik.

Ostrava has teams in the four major Czech Republic professional sports leagues (football, ice hockey, basketball and floorball). The city's only current league football teams is FC Baník Ostrava, who represent the city in the first Czech football league (Gambrinus Liga).

In hockey, Ostrava has one team HC Vítkovice Steel which represents the city in the Czech Extraliga, and HC Poruba in the second league.

The city's National Basketball League (NBL) team is BK NH Ostrava.

In Ostrava there are two teams in the first floorball league. 1. SC WOOW Vítkovice and FBC Ostrava.

Ostrava also supports athletics. Ostrava-Vítkovice hosts the Golden Spike athletics meeting, one of the IAAF World Challenge Meetings.

Transport[edit]

Public Transport[edit]

KT8 on station Hlavni nadrazi, in typical colours of DPO Ostrava.

Public transport infrastructure consists of 17 tram (streetcar), 10 trolleybus, 57 regular bus lines.[11] Service is provided mainly by Dopravní Podnik Ostrava a.s. (DPO) (Ostrava City Transportation Company).

The current tram system, which traces its origins back to 1894,[12] operates its 17 lines on 65.7 kilometres (40.8 mi) of route,[11] serving 100 stops,[11] with 273 tram cars.[11] The original 1894 tram system was steam-powered;[12] electric trams came to Ostrava in 1901.[12]

Rail[edit]

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 Žilina and Košice.

Air[edit]

Leoš Janáček Airport Ostrava serves a number of domestic and international destinations. In February, Ryanair announced that they would run 3 flights a week to London-Stansted starting in June. This will mark the first scheduled service to the UK.[13]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Ostrava is twinned with:

Ostrava has two triangular partnerships with Coventry: one with Volgograd since 1957 and one with Dresden since 1971.

People[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Ostravsko už ví, proč má špatný vzduch. Špiní jej hutě". 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2008. 
  2. ^ "World Weather Information Service – Ostrava". United Nations. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Climate Summary for closest city on record to Kozlovice
  4. ^ "Holocaust Memorial Ostrava". STIWOT. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Holocaust memorial vandalized". CFCA. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Historie hornictví – Důl František, Ostrava – Přívoz (Czech language)". Hornictvi.info. 11 August 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  7. ^ dolnioblastvitkovice.cz
  8. ^ dul-michal.cz
  9. ^ landekpark.cz
  10. ^ www.ostrava2015.cz Ostrava 2015
  11. ^ a b c d "DATA-ČÍSLA 2013" [DATA-NUMBERS 2013] (pdf) (in Czech). Dopravní Podnik Ostrava (DPO). January 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  12. ^ a b c "History of public transport in Ostrava" (in English). Dopravní Podnik Ostrava (DPO). Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  13. ^ "Nízkonákladové aerolinky Ryanair spojí Ostravu s Londýnem". týden.cz. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "Honorární konzulát Ruské federace v Ostravě". Honorarnikonzulat-rf.cz. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  15. ^ Honorary consulate of the Russian Federation in Ostrava.
  16. ^ Griffin, Mary (2011-08-02). "Coventry's twin towns". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  17. ^ "Coventry - Twin towns and cities". Coventry City Council. Archived from the original on 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  18. ^ "Dresden – Partner Cities". 2008 Landeshauptstadt Dresden. Archived from the original on 27 June 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  19. ^ "Gradovi prijatelji Splita" [Split Twin Towns]. Grad Split [Split Official City Website] (in Croatian). Archived from the original on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2013-12-19. 
  20. ^ "Twin cities of the City of Kosice". Magistrát mesta Košice, Tr. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 

External links[edit]