Ostrava is third largest city in the Czech Republic, situated close to the Polish and Slovak borders on the Ostravice River and nestled in the surrounding Beskid Mountains. Discover the fascinating industrial history of the city, the heritage of the Moravian region and delicious Czech cuisine and beverages with help from our guide about the 10 top things to do and see when in town.
Discover the industrial past of Ostrava
Ostrava’s history reaches back to the 13th century, however it was the 18th century and the discovery of coal here that was the turning point for the city, when it became an important center of industry in Europe. Although one of the most important aspects of this industrial boom, coal mining came to an end in the mid 90s, the city still benefits from this past, boasting museums and related heritage. Michal Mine, for instance, was declared a National Cultural Landmark in 1995, and is today a museum providing tourists with a chance to see all of the above-ground mining areas and coal faces.
Michal Mine, Československé armády 413/95, Ostrava-Michálkovice, Czech Republic, +420 596 231 160
The highest City Hall viewing tower
Not only is the City Hall of Ostrava the largest in the Czech Republic, it also has the highest viewing tower and a stunning view from its top. The lookout deck is located 72 meters above the ground and shows off an impressive panorama of the city and the region, as well as the Beskid Mountains and even parts of Poland in the distance. Another reason for amazement is the amount of greenery that exists in the area of heavy industry that surrounds the city, where fir forests and rolling hills erupt between heaps of old slag.
New City Hall, Prokešovo námesti 1803/8, Ostrava, Czech Republic, +420 599 499 311
Ostrava's swimming pool
Ostrava’s swimming pool
The largest swimming pool in the Czech Republic and one of the biggest in all of Central Europe, this recreational spot attracts crowds of up to 20,000 people per day during the summer. The swimming area covers over 40,000 square meters, and has water attractions such as toboggan and fun slides. Visitors can also rent water bikes or get inside a water walking ball and try aquazorbing! Around the swimming pool there is a huge green area for sport fans.
Summer Recreation Area of Ostrava, Rekreační 236/74, Ostrava – Poruba, Czech Republic, +420 596 977 611
Image courtesy of Sareza Ostrava
Jewish Ceremonial Hall
Although the Jewish population of Central and Eastern Europe used to be an integral part of society in the region, during World War II and communism it was systematically destroyed. In the 1980s, the ancient Jewish cemetery in Ostrava was senselessly demolished. The community was forced to collect the valuable gravestones that were left and move them to a different place: the Central Cemetery. Later on, the new Jewish Ceremonial Hall was built on the spot and today it is the only building of its kind in the Czech Republic.
Jewish Ceremonial Hall, Na Najmanské 1838/14, Ostrava, Czech Republic
Watch a hockey game
When in Germany the people are proud of their football teams, and in Poland sports fans cheer for the volleyball team, while all Czechs follow hockey games. Prague and Ostrava hosted the Ice Hockey World Championship back in 2015, drawing in folk from right across the globe to watch the fast-paced, on-ice action. If you want to feel the amazing atmosphere of a hockey game in the Czech Republic, go to one of the matches played by the extraliga team HC Vítkovice Steel at the Ostrava Aréna.
ČEZ Aréna, Ruská 3077/135, Ostrava, Czech Republic, +420 596 707 301
Science and Technology Center
Vítkovice complex Dolní oblast is another industrial area that was the center for regional ironwork production in the 1990s. After extensive renovations, the industrial site became a Science and Technology Center, complete with educational and fun attractions that explore the connection between science and nature. Four exhibitions cover an area of 14,000 square meters and provide visitors with games, interactive displays, experiments and movies that help discover how the human body works, the secrets behind cloning, how the nano world looks like and much, much more.
World of Technology in Lower Vítkovice Area, Místecká street, Ostrava, Czech Republic, +420 724 955 121
Party down Stodolní street
In the times when the Czech Republic was still under the communist regime, the buildings on Stodolní street had a pretty bad reputation. Since, it has attracted young people, who have turned it into the most lively area of the city. Today, there are approximately 60 clubs on Stodolní street and in its immediate neighborhood, drawing in crowds of beer-hungry, hedonistic locals each night. Many cultural events, such as concerts, lectures and exhibitions take place there, as well as the ubiquitous clubbing and dining.
Stodolní Street, Ostrava, Czech Republic
Moravia is well-known for its hospitality, delicious food, and wonderful wine from the surrounding region, and all these traditions are kept alive at Moravska Chalupa, one of the first restaurants to grace Ostrava. The interior is elegant and traditional, but still modern and with a fresh look, while the menu offers such specialities as fried cheese, or rustic mine workers’ meals. Even though the chef uses the traditional cooking methods of preparation adopted in Moravian and Czech national cuisines, the kitchen is not afraid of experiments and modern gastronomic techniques, making for a fine combination of flavors and styles.
Moravska Chalupa, Musorgskeho 9, Ostrava, Czech Republic, +420 596 124 937
Sherlock Holmes Pub
Fans of the famous detective will be very happy to discover that Ostrava has a pub named after Sherlock Holmes. It is one of the pubs located on the famous Stodolní street; a typical Czech tavern with a distinct British twist. The pub holds many themed parties, such as hippie dos and Gatsby nights, and often organizes concerts and events. Sherlock is frequented by locals as well as tourists, and has a great, fun, relaxed atmosphere. The bar offers a wide choice of excellent Czech beers, including the famous local Ostrava label.
Sherlock’s pub, Stodolní 16, Moravská Ostrava, Czech Republic, +420 605 249 345
Original indoor astronomical clock
One of the technicians who worked at the Vítkovice Steelworks in the interwar period was particularly passionate about his job and technology. Jan Mašek contributed to the heritage of Ostrava by creating and donating as a gift, for the 700th anniversary of the town, a giant indoor astronomical clock that is more than two meters high, weights eight kilos, and has 2,500 working parts. It shows the regular time, the year calendar, and has an astronomical and planetary part to boot.
Museum of Ostrava, Masarykovo námesti, 1, Ostrava, Czech Republic, +420 597 578 450