Ostrava, the third largest city in the Czech Republic, is situated in the northeast of the country and is the centre of the Moravian-Silesian administrative region. It is very near the border with Slovakia and Poland and lies on the banks of the River Ostravice with wonderful views of the Beskydy Mountains.
The foundation of a town, which was the property of the Bishop of Olomouc, Bruno, is first recorded in 1267. The settlement was created on the amber trade route which merchants had used for centuries to travel between the Baltic and the Mediterranean. In the late 14th century, town walls were added and a castle was built. Today the only reminders of the walls are the name of the street ‘Na hradbách’ (Wall Street) and fragments of stone near the Church of St Wenceslas. Over the centuries the town suffered numerous fires and sieges as well as periods of prosperity. A key moment in Ostrava’s history was the discovery of coal in the late 18th century, which later led to the development of the iron industry.
Ostrava has long since lost its industrial face and the last coal was mined in 1994. The mines have been turned into mining museums, and a whole host of mine buildings are awaiting redevelopment. Ostrava’s industrial heritage includes many exceptional pieces of architecture. In addition to mines and factories, visitors can enjoy countless cultural, historical and other attractions, which make several pleasant days spent in the city an unforgettable experience.