Coal, iron and steel changed the life of generations. There is no other Czech city that would reflect the technological development and industrial revolution the way Ostrava does. The industrial architecture with mining towers, furnaces and the skyline of the Vítkovice Ironworks is an unforgettable experience, seen both from the ground and the sky. However, there is still one thing that remains hidden: a huge underground city where thousands of men used to descend every day. The exceptional technical buildings are not national cultural monuments. It is not enough to just see Ostrava; it is best to experience it, for example, at one of the festivals.  

Industrial Heart of Moravia

Mining and metallurgy turned Ostrava into a city that used to be called the steel heart of the Republic. Industry brought a lot of negative effects, but it also left behind things that the city now profits on. A unique look where factories, halls and towers started to live their new cultural and social life in the industrial surroundings complemented with solitaires of the functionalistic and socialistic-realistic styles. All of this has made Ostrava a sought-after tourist destination that has no parallel in the Czech Republic.

Lower Vítkovice – National Site of Cultural Heritage - Take a lift to the top of a furnace, go to a concert in a gas collector

From 1828 to 1998, coal was extracted and crude iron was produced here. The transformation of the industrial complex into a unique educational, social and cultural centre is very attractive. Every day, locals and tourists from all over the world come here. The skip lift will take you to the top of Furnace No. 1. The Gong multipurpose hall in the former gas collector hosts conferences and concerts. The Small World of Technology U6 is a paradise for children and their parents. The Science and Technology Centre uncovers the secrets of science and technology in an entertaining way, and you can see a huge mirror and one of the largest roof gardens in the Czech Republic there. The Hlubina cultural district is popular with artists and their fans.

Cultural and Technical Monuments - Descend into the oldest mine

Landek is unique because it combines a mining museum as a technical monument and the Landek hill as a national nature preserve. You can walk through the preserve along an educational trail with a unique geological cut with layers of coal that are 250 million years old. The largest mining museum in the Czech Republic is the only place in Ostrava where you can descend in a pit cage into the oldest mine in the city. In the Michal Mine, a national cultural monument, you can try out what miners used to do before going to work. Everything is left as if the miners have just left the mine. The Silesian Ostrava Castle of the 13th century has dropped by 16 metres due to mining. It now offers an exposition on the history of the castle and the city, a museum of mysteries, large fish tanks, and cultural and social events.

Ostrava Lookouts - The view from the Ostrava volcano is worth it

When seen from above, the monumentality of the city skyline becomes fully apparent. A paternoster – a lift without a door that never stops and that you enter buy jumping in the cabin on the move – will take to you to the top of the functionalistic New City Hall, the largest city hall complex with the highest city hall tower in the Czech Republic. The view from the lookout terrace at the height of 37 metres is spectacular. You can also see the city from above from the Bolt Tower roof terrace around a glassed cylinder, symbolising the flames of the furnaces. You can feel as if on a volcano after climbing up the Ema slag-heap. The heap, full of tailings covered with birch trees, has an elevation of 315 metres and the waste is still active. There are wisps of smoke and the internal temperature exceeds 1,000°C. The slag-heap is accessible at one’s own risk but it is worth it.

Biggest Music Festivals in the Czech Republic - Concerts in industrial sceneries

Every July, Ostrava gest moving at the largest and most colourful music festival in the country. Every year, the multi-genre festival Colours of Ostrava brings tens of thousands of domestic and foreign visitors and hundreds of artists from all over the world. The Beats for Love festival is one of the largest dance music festivals in Europe. Both festivals are very attractive thanks to the unique industrial scenery. Ostrava also has some interesting functionalistic buildings, such as the Art Gallery and the nearby Elektra café.

Tips for Trips around Ostrava

Visit the largest Czech open-air museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm to learn how people used to live in the past. Olomouc attracts with its Baroque and modern fountains and the Holy Trinity Column, which is on the UNESCO list, and it is the largest group of Baroque sculptures in one set within Central Europe. In Kopřivnice, there is a museum of the Tatra automobiles that used to be popular all over the world. The monumental castle and world-renowned composer Leoš Janáček are the reasons to visit Hukvaldy. In Starý Jičín, you can see the ruins of Jičín Castle and monuments all over the town, including a pillory.

Gastrotips from a local