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5 Interesting Facts About Ostrava
- Ostrava has an industrial site on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Ostrava is a defeated candidate of 2015 European Capital of Culture
- Ostrava has a famous nightlife street with more than 60 bars & clubs
- Ostrava lies both in Moravia a in Silesia
- Ostrava has a castle that used to be situated 16 m higher than today
Ostrava - on the map
Although Ostrava is the third largest city of the Czech Republic, it doesn't really rank among the most popular places. Ostrava is a peculiar city, unique in many ways. It's different from most other parts of the country. The looks is different, people are different, the standard of living is different and the whole region has a very strong, easily recognizable dialect - ostravština. Not only due to the mining activities that have given the city the main shape and spirit, the city has earned the label "Black Ostrava". No doubt Ostrava is a special place, you can only find here two kinds of people with different relations to it. Those who hate it, and those who love it. There is nobody between, that's for sure. Even though the patriotic locals will always try to enforce their opinion on you, in my opinion I don't think this is a place you want to live in. Nevertheless, if you are around, you should definitely pass by to find out by yourself what makes Ostrava so special! It will surely be an interesting experience for you.
Jirka's TOP 5 See&Do in Ostrava
Lower Vítkovice Area (Dolní oblast Vítkovice)
The most famous industrial site of Czechia – the complex of former blast furnaces of Lower Vítkovice that has been turned into an industrial museum, having been on the list of tentative UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2001
Landek Park - Mining Museum
Mining Museum – the largest mining exposition in Czechia where you can put yourself in miners‘ shoes in an authentic pit.
Nová radnice (New City)
The New Town Hall of Ostrava is actually the highest town building in Czechia, the most interesting part of it is, however, that you can get to its top to be given a nice view of the city.
The Ema Slag Heap (Halda Ema)
Even in Ostrava you can find hills, basically none of them are natural though. Halda Ema is basically a (still active) waste rock, which inner temperature reaches 1,000 °C, and on it its top you can see and smell smoke of methane and sulphur dioxide.
Michal Coal Mine
If you still don't get enough of mines and would like to know more, visit also the Michal Coaline (Důl Michal) - museum of mining located in a former coal mine.
Good to know before you travel to Ostrava
1. The city of sports and culture
If there is one thing this city should be liked for, it is the sporting and cultural opportunities Ostrava offers. In 2015, Ostrava was nominated for the European Capital of Culture, it didn't eventually win the award, though. I'm not a fan of these awards and would-be contests, everyone knows it's always about - who has more money and better lobbing - wins, but this city would have definitely deserved it.
Ostrava co-hosted twice the Ice Hockey World Championship (2004 and 2015), it regularly hosts the athletic event Golden Spike (Zlatá tretra), both men's and women's tennis world cups - Fed Cup & Davis Cup, and many other world sport tournaments and events, such as floorbal, athletics, football etc.
Traditional Ostrava's Lower Vítkovice area is a place where the famous Colours of Ostrava festival takes place, the festival which since its first vintage in 2002 has become the biggest open-air, multi-genre festival in the Czech Republic. Its dance, electronic brother - the festival Beats for Love has gained a big popularity over the past years, too, becoming the biggest of its kind in Central Europe. In 2018, Ostrava was also honored to host the world's biggest blogger conference T-Bex.
There is no doubt that the Ostrava people ("Ostraváci") love sports and culture. If this city happens to be on your list, I recommend you to plan your visit when there is something going on, it may have quite a different spirit. Ideally, visit Colours of Ostrava to see more than 300 performances and enjoy the special industrial athmosphere with almost 50,000 other attendees.
2. Regional dialect
Czech Republic is such a small country, but it's really hard to believe how many local dialects this language spoken by 10 milion of people has. There is a recognizable dialect the people in Prague speak, there is a certain difference in the intonation in the region of Plzeň, there is the well-known "hantec" in Brno, own dialect in Haná around Olomouc, but because this accent is so strange and the difference from other parts of the country so significant, "ostravština" is probably the most famous one. And of course, there are many jokes being exchanged between the people of this region and the people from the capital.
Ostravština is a weird Czech language combined with Polish words and intonation. For Polish it's really much more easier to understand if they come to Ostrava than anywhere else in the Czech Republic, and there really are words that are not understood by people from anywhere else in the country. As a native you really recognize that someone comes from this region after one sentence. We say:" Ostravaci maji kratke zobaky", which literally means "The Ostrava people have short beaks". They are used to work hard and don't have time to waste, thus they speak really fast and short. And many words are really funny 🙂 I haven't managed to forget about some of them even after having lived out for a couple of years.
If you know at least a bit of Czech, I recommend you to watch this video to see the difference. And there really is a big difference.
3. The famous Stodolní street is just another declining, overrated place
Looking apart from Prague, Stodolní street (Stodolní ulice) is most likely the most famous street in the country. Why? Because it's a street in the center of the city where, except for a few offices, you don't find anything else than bars and clubs (over 60). The label - the street that never sleeps - which Stodolní street has borne over years, nowadays feels rather old-fashioned, though. Because this street, as a matter of fact, hardly ever wakes up besides Fridays, many places keep closing down, and you can find there fewer and fewer people who actually can still behave like people. I personally think the street has recently become sort of a city's lair, where, except for the young people who come here to get drunk and get high, all the drug dealers, homeless, beggars and other strange individuals gather. There is still a few bars that are nice to visit, but all in all, you have to be careful all the time and watch out your belongings. Well, and mainly yourself.
If you are around, you should certainly pass by! Go there, experience the night life, but don't expect anything extraordinary. Personally, I would recommend you to visit bars and pubs over the clubs crowded with annoying, inconsiderate people.
4. The Ostrava people are super patriotic
Czech patriotism played a significant role in the history of the Czech country. The Czechs had been under the reign of someone else many times, but they always managed to gather together and stand up for their rights and defended their homeland. If they had to do it again now, I think they would fail. One generally known characteristics about Czechs is that they only stick together when there is an ice hockey world championship happening. Once it's finished, it returns back to normal - they are like they don't know each other.
If you come to Ostrava, they will hardly ever want to show off their nationality, but when it comes to their city, they turn into the hardest patriots you've ever run into. They complain about the Czech Republic, they complain about Ostrava, they complain about and dislike everyone else, but their pride to belong to this city can't be denied. There are also many people who have left Ostrava and live elsewhere in the country, but whenever you bump into them, most of them will always proudly say "I come from Ostrava!"
I think the logo speaks for itself 🙂
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