Ostrava: the best idea you ever had – Kiwi.com

For a city break with personality, the Czech city offers so much variety

Sponsored by Ostrava Airport

Have you heard of Ostrava? Maybe not, but that’s about to change. It is the third largest city in the Czech Republic, a former industrial powerhouse that has cleverly turned into a center of art, sport, nightlife and culture.

There are great value flights to Ostrava available right now, so if you’re looking for a city break with some personality, Ostrava could be just what you need! Let’s look around us.

Vitkovice

Vítkovice industrial complex at duskVítkovice, the historic industrial center of Ostrava, is now open to the public – OSTRAVAINFO !!!

We will start with the part of town that best illustrates the avant-garde nature of Ostrava. The Vítkovice region was, between 1828 and 1998, one of the largest industrial complexes in the country, with coal mines and large-scale steel production.

Today the whole complex has been transformed into an educational, social and artistic center, while retaining the industrial buildings and architecture that made it famous for so many years. Examples include the Gong Multipurpose Hall, a former gas storage tank that is now a concert hall; the Grand Monde de la Technologie, an interactive science and technology center; the cultural district of Hlubina, where you can see groups, artists, filmmakers, sculptors, photographers and more; and Landek Park, where we go next.

Landek Park

Landek Park Mine Museum from aboveLandek Park is home to the vast mining museum – Shutterstock

Once coal was discovered in Landek Park in 1789, Ostrava’s future was sealed. It is now the home of the Landek Park Mine Museum, a fascinating place and the largest of its kind in the Czech Republic. The old mine shaft and buildings on the surface have been preserved and now house exhibits about the Mine Rescue Team, and huge machinery dot the area.

However, the real action happens when you don your mining helmet and descend into the Anselm mine. Descending nine meters underground, you’ll take a guided tour of the state of the pit from the early days to the 20th century. You really get a feel for how tough the miner labor is and how dangerous it must have been, and when the mining equipment kicks in it brings it all to life. A must see.

The new town hall and the tower

Ostrava's New Town HallNew Town Hall is a marvel of Czech Modernist architecture – OSTRAVAINFO !!!

Once you’ve emerged, blinking, into the light, it’s time to find your way around the rest of town, and the best place to start is the New Town Hall. It’s a striking building, with its Modernist clock tower and two building wings surrounding a plaza that contains a slightly spooky modern statue of Icarus.

Go up to observation platform At 73 meters above sea level you get a panorama of Ostrava and its surroundings. You can truly understand the history of the city when you notice towers and pitheads growing like the surrounding trees in the city squares, and the proximity to steelworks and merchandise depots. But you can also see how close the city is to beautiful countryside, and on a clear day there are views of the Beskidy Mountains to the east and south, and up to the border and into Poland. .

A look at the past

Autumn trees in the foreground of Ostrava Silesian CastleOstrava Silesian Castle – Shutterstock

Ostrava’s later history is certainly what shaped the city today, but like most other Czech towns, it has a deeper source of stories to tell. There is no better place to discover them than Silesian Castle Ostrava northeast of downtown.

Built as a fortress in the 13th century, it was turned into a castle in the 16th century and remained standing until after World War II. It was seized by the Communist regime in 1945 and left in disrepair, eventually collapsing in part due to mining. However, in 2004 it was bought by the city and a reconstruction program started. It has now regained its former glory and hosts events such as the Shakespeare Summer Festival, outdoor music festivals, Christmas markets and also houses a museum retracing the history of the castle itself.

Creatures big and small

Entrance to Ostrava ZooOstrava Zoo is a perfect day out for kids – OSTRAVAINFO !!!

If you are traveling with the family, there is also plenty for the kids to do in Ostrava. Let’s start with the zoo where a hilly and green landscape of more than 100 hectares is home to nearly 400 species of animals. From giraffes and hippos to leopards and flamingos, the zoo is also constantly modernizing itself and maintaining the highest standards in the care and breeding of its animals.

The same part of the city is also home to the park and botanical gardens, an ambitious project that also rejoices under the name of the great Ostrava forest. It’s no exaggeration either, with an additional 92 hectares of stunning scenery made up of forests, lakes, ponds, wild meadows and fields. There are various trekking routes through the forests, each more beautiful than the next, with trails winding through trees, across bridges over bubbling streams and along flower-scented jungle trails. wild.

If you are looking for an exciting time, what about dinosaurs? from Ostrava DinoPark contains life-size static and animatronic dinosaurs so you can take a ride through the Mesozoic era and come face to face with the prehistoric beasts! It also includes a museum with real artifacts to learn more about the past, a 3D cinema with shows specially designed for the park and adventure play areas for all ages.

A corner of culture

Aerial view of the Colors of Ostrava festival in VítkoviceThe annual Colors of Ostrava festival is the biggest international music festival in the Czech Republic – OSTRAVAINFO !!!

Ostrava’s cultural scene has made giant strides over the past 20 years or so, and it is now one of the Czech Republic’s top destinations for art, film and music lovers.

the Colors of Ostrava The music festival, held in Vítkovice, is one of the largest in the country, attracting artists such as The Cure, The Killers, Florence + the Machine, NERD, Imagine Dragons and hundreds more from around the world. There’s also theater, comedy, performance workshops, amazing food and drink, and more to keep you entertained during the long weekend.

A more permanent feature is the House of Art, a collection of over 20,000 pieces of art housed in a magnificent functionalist red brick building on Jurečkova, not far from the castle. The quality of the works on display is exceptional and ranks among the top five institutions in the country, with permanent and temporary exhibitions of media ranging from photography to sculpture, classical paintings, graphic arts and more to nourish your soul.

Sport for victory

Two hockey pucks on either side of a miniature Czech flagHockey is a big deal in the Czech Republic, and especially in Ostrava – Shutterstock

Like most Czech cities, when it comes to sports, Ostrava has two main passions: football and ice hockey. Their respective teams – Baník Ostrava and HC Vítkovice – are some of the biggest names in every sport.

Baník’s main period of success came in the 1970s, winning leagues and cups in the former Czechoslovakia. Since then they have won a few pots (their last league title was in the 2003-04 season) and enjoyed a season in the second division, but they are now consistently among the best teams in the league. Their former stadium in Bazaly is now a training complex and since 2015 the team has been playing in the newly renovated Městský stadium. Fans of a certain vintage may remember Baník’s occasional forays into Europe, and their former players include former Fulham and West Ham bench Jan Laštůvka, and Liverpool Champions League winner Milan Baroš.

HC Vítkovice are quite regularly in the top three of the Czech Extraliga (the highest level of ice hockey in the country), drawing decent crowds. Their home, the Ostravar Arena, looks like a spaceship from a 1980s sci-fi show and was used as the venue for the 2004 and 2015 men’s ice hockey world championships. Tickets for both sports are readily available and great value for money, so if you fancy watching a game, no problem!

Do more for less !!!

Top of an artistic blue telephone booth in Ostrava, with three characteristic exclamation marksThe original branding of the city with three exclamation marks is everywhere – Shutterstock

These three exclamation marks are everywhere in Ostrava, especially on your OSTRAVACARD !!! It might be aggressive, but it’s a great system. Basically if you stay two or more nights at one of the many places in town you get an OSTRAVACARD !!! free.

The perks include between 10% and 20% off entry to almost all of the places mentioned above (and some that we don’t have, including the SAREZA outdoor pool, the Planetarium and the E-Motion VR adventure park), discounts at select restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as savings on souvenirs.

It’s a great way to make the most of your stay in Ostrava. You will need at least a few days to see everything that is going on, so why not take advantage of it? It will make your stay in Ostrava even better !!!

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James C. Tibbs