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From top – Left: Masaryk Square, Colours of Ostrava, An amusement park in Silesian Ostrava Castle Middle: Ostrava New City Hall, Landek Park Mining Museum, Antonín Dvořák Theatre Right: Ostrava Puppet Theatre, Tribute to Mining statue
From top – Left: Masaryk Square, Colours of Ostrava, An amusement park in Silesian Ostrava Castle Middle: Ostrava New City Hall, Landek Park Mining Museum, Antonín Dvořák Theatre Right: Ostrava Puppet Theatre, Tribute to Mining statue
Flag of Ostrava
Coat of arms of Ostrava
Ostrava is located in Czech Republic
Location in the Czech Republic
Coordinates: 49°50′8″N 18°17′33″E / 49.83556°N 18.29250°E / 49.83556; 18.29250
Country Czech Republic
 • MayorJan Dohnal (ODS)
 • Statutory city214.23 km2 (82.71 sq mi)
260 m (850 ft)
 • Statutory city283,504
 • Density1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal codes
702 00, 703 00, 708 00, 709 00, 710 00, 711 00, 712 00, 713 00, 715 00, 716 00, 717 00, 719 00, 722 00, 723 00, 724 00, 725 25 – 725 28

Ostrava (Czech: [‘ostrava] (listen); Polish: Ostrawa, German: Ostrau [ˈɔstʁaʊ] (listen)) is a city in the north-east of the Czech Republic, and the capital of the Moravian-Silesian Region. It has about 280,000 inhabitants. It lies 15 km (9 mi) from the border with Poland, at the confluences of four rivers: Oder, Opava, Ostravice and Lučina. Ostrava is the third largest city in the Czech Republic in terms of both population and area, the second largest city in the region of Moravia, and the largest city in the historical land of Czech Silesia. It straddles the border of the two historic provinces of Moravia and Silesia. The wider conurbation – which also includes the towns of Bohumín, Havířov, Karviná, Orlová, Petřvald and Rychvald – is home to about 500,000 people,[2] making it the largest urban area in the Czech Republic apart from the capital Prague.

Ostrava grew in importance due to its position at the heart of a major coalfield, becoming an important industrial engine of the Austrian empire. During the 20th century it was known as the "steel heart" of Czechoslovakia thanks to its status as a coal-mining and metallurgical centre, but since the Velvet Revolution (the fall of communism in 1989) it has undergone radical and far-reaching changes to its economic base. Industries have been thoroughly restructured, and the last coal was mined in the city in 1994. However, remnants of the city's industrial past are visible in the Lower Vítkovice area, a former coal-mining, coke production and ironworks complex in the city centre which retains its historic industrial architecture. Lower Vítkovice has applied for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Ostrava is home to various cultural facilities including theatres and galleries. Various cultural and sporting events take place in Ostrava throughout the year, including the Colours of Ostrava music festival, the Janáček May classical music festival, the Summer Shakespeare Festival and NATO Days. Ostrava is home to two public universities: the Technical University of Ostrava and the University of Ostrava. In 2014 Ostrava was a European City of Sport. The city co-hosted (with Prague) the Ice Hockey World Championships in 2004 and 2015.

Administrative division

Self-governing districts of Ostrava
Cadastral areas of Ostrava

On 14 September 1990, Ostrava's City Authority approved the division of the city into 22 districts, effective 24 November that year. On 1 January 1994, the district of Plesná separated from the Poruba district and became a separate local authority. Since then, the city has been divided into 23 districts, further divided into 37 administrative parts:


The Church of St. Wenceslaus, one of the oldest and most important monuments of Ostrava

The first written mention of Slezská Ostrava (Silesian Ostrava) dates from 1229, when it was described as a settlement. The first mention of Moravian Ostrava (Moravská Ostrava) in 1267 describes it as a township. Ostrava grew on the banks of the Ostrá River (now the Ostravice) from which it took its name. The river still divides the city into two main parts: Moravian Ostrava (Moravská Ostrava) and Silesian Ostrava (Slezská Ostrava). The settlement occupied a strategic position on the border between the two historic provinces of Moravia and Silesia and on the ancient trade route from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea known as the Amber Road. Its location helped the town to grow and flourish.

However, Ostrava began to decline in importance after the Thirty Years' War, and it was occupied by Danish forces in 1626,[5] and by Swedish forces from 1642 to 1650.[6]

Marian Column (1702) at Masaryk Square

A turning point in Ostrava's history came in 1763 with the discovery of extensive deposits of high-quality bituminous coal on the Silesian bank of the Ostravice River. In 1828, the owner of the local estates, Rudolf Jan, the archbishop of Olomouc, established an ironworks, which was named after him as the Rudolfshütte. Later, the ironworks passed into the ownership of the Rothschild family and became known as the Vítkovice Ironworks. The company became the driving force behind Ostrava's industrial boom. By the second half of the 20th century, the city was nicknamed the country's "steel heart".

The Sophienhütte ironworks, c. 1910

In 1931 the Jewish community in Ostrava numbered 6,865 (5.4% of the population).[7] About 8,000 Jews from the Ostrava district were murdered in the Holocaust during the German occupation in World War II.[8] The Nisko Plan included the first deportation train transports of 1,301 Jews from Ostrava on 17 and 26 October 1939.[9] In 1994, a Holocaust memorial to the Jewish victims of Ostrava was built in Milada Horáková Park.[10][11] During World War II the city was occupied by Germany. The occupiers operated a Gestapo prison in the city,[12] and several forced labour camps, including three labour "education" camps, located in Moravská Ostrava,[13] Vítkovice,[14] and Kunčice,[15] and the E21 subcamp of the Stalag VIII-B/344 prisoner-of-war camp in the present-day district of Petřkovice.[16]

After the war, the city's German-speaking population were expelled in accordance with the Potsdam Agreement. At a massacre at an internment camp, 231 German-speaking citizens were killed.[17] The liberation of Ostrava by the Red Army led to the city entering its greatest period of expansion. Initially, the new housing projects were on a relatively-small scale focusing on the Poruba district and featuring architecture in the Socialist realism style. Later, however, the authorities built larger-scale developments of prefabricated apartment blocks in Poruba and created a series of satellite estates to the south of the city (Ostrava-Jih). The city centre was gradually depopulated, and its people were moved out to the suburbs, as part of a long-term plan to destroy the city centre entirely and to turn the land over to coal-mining.

Miloš Sýkora Bridge over the Ostravice River and Silesian Ostrava Town Hall

The 1990s brought a rapid decline in the city's traditional industrial sectors: iron, steel, chemicals and coal-mining. The last coal was mined on 30 June 1994, which was accompanied by major investments to rectify ecological damage done by decades of heavy industry. The projects ultimately brought major improvements in the city's environment and quality of life. Ostrava became an important tourist centre that offered easy access to the nearby Hrubý Jeseník and Moravian-Silesian Beskids mountains.

As well as hundreds of hectares of recultivated former mining land, the city also has numerous natural landscape features of interest, many of which are protected nature reserves. They include the Polanský Forest and the Polanská Meadows, both of which form part of the Poodří (Oder Basin) nature reserve.

A rare geological feature found in the city is the granite erratic boulders. Originally from Scandinavia, they were left behind after the last ice age, when the ice sheets retreated. Another feature is the Ema slag heap, an artificial hill made of mining waste (slag) that offers panoramic views. The waste is still burning deep beneath the surface, which gives the slag-heap its own microclimate.

On 10 December 2019, a shooting at a hospital in Ostrava left eight people dead, including the perpetrator.


Ostrava is situated at the meeting point of four rivers: Oder, Opava, Ostravice and Lučina. Ostrava is mostly located in the Ostrava Basin lowland, the southwestern part od the municipal territory extends into the Moravian Gate. Ostrava is mostly low-lying, with a highest point of 280 m (920 ft) above sea level, and has a Central European climate with typical flora and fauna. It differs from most neighbouring regions by the high concentration of industry, dense population and the geographical conditions of the Ostrava Basin.

Ostrava is 20.5 km across from north to south (Antošovice–Nová Bělá), and 20.1 km across from east to west (Bartovice–Krásné Pole). The total length of the city's road network is 828 km (514 mi).


Climate data for Ostrava (1981−2010 normals, extremes 1980−present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.2
Average high °C (°F) 0.4
Average low °C (°F) −5.6
Record low °C (°F) −29.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 26.7
Average precipitation days 7 7 7 8 11 11 11 10 8 7 9 8 104
Source 1: World Meteorological Organisation (UN)[18]
Source 2:[19]

The city has an oceanic (Köppen: Cfb) or humid continental (Dfb) climate, according with the isoterm 0 °C/-3 °C, the second most common in Europe (the average temperature in month most cold is -1 °C).[20][21] The climate features hot, humid summers and relatively mild winters, with an average annual temperature of 10.2 °C (January: -1.2 °C, July: 23.5 °C) and average annual precipitation of 580 mm.


Historical population
Source: Censuses[22][23]


Leoš Janáček Airport Ostrava

Ostrava is the transport and logistics hub of the north-eastern part of the Czech Republic.


25 km (16 mi) south of the city centre is an international airport, Leoš Janáček Airport Ostrava, which links the city with several European destinations (IATA code: OSR; ICAO code: LKMT). It is the first airport in the Czech Republic to have its own rail link, which opened in 2015.[24]


The road infrastructure of the region is centred on the D1 motorway, which runs from Prague via Brno and Ostrava into Poland. Ostrava is 360 km (220 mi) from Prague by motorway, 170 km (110 mi) from Brno, 90 km (56 mi) from the Polish city of Katowice, and 310 km (190 mi) from Vienna. Other major roads which pass through Ostrava are the Class I roads 11, 56, 58, and 59, as well as the E75 and E462 trans-European routes.

Trams, trolleybuses and buses

Ostrava trams in their traditional blue and white livery at the "Nová Ves vodárna" stop

Further information: Trams in Ostrava

The city has a dense public transport network consisting of trams, buses and trolleybuses. The first trams, introduced in 1894, were powered by steam engines. The network was rapidly expanded, and in 1901 it was electrified. New tram lines were built mainly to the south and east of the city centre, where they would not have to cross the narrow-gauge railways linking Ostrava with Karviná and Bohumín.

Trolleybuses were introduced in 1952, as in other Czech towns and cities after World War II. Initially there was one trolleybus route which encircled the city centre. The network was gradually expanded in the 1950s and 60s, replacing the narrow-gauge railways. A route to the Fifejdy housing estate was built in the late 1970s. The last expansion of the trolleybus network came in the mid-2010s, when a route was built out to the new terminal in Hranečník. 17 tram lines currently operate in Ostrava. There are 52 bus lines and 14 trolleybus lines.[25]


Railway station Ostrava-Svinov

Ostrava is also a major railway hub, sited on Railway Corridors II and III and serving as an important centre for cargo and passenger transport between the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. The city's largest railway stations are the main station (Ostrava hl.n.) and Ostrava-Svinov. These stations are important railway junctions. The main line linking Ostrava with Olomouc, Pardubice and Prague is served by three railway companies: České dráhy, RegioJet and LEO Express.


Ostrava's high concentration of heavy industry created various environmental problems in the city, particularly in relation to air quality. Measurements performed by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute show that levels of atmospheric benzopyrene and dust particles are among the highest in the country.

The Ostravice River

Although Ostrava still has to contend with environmental issues, the situation has improved over time. In 2015 ArcelorMittal, then one of the biggest polluters in the region, implemented 13 major ecological investment projects worth CZK 3 billion.[citation needed] One new installation filters out 61 tonnes of dust per year. The City of Ostrava is also involved in a range of projects focusing on environmental improvements, including a web portal,, which enables citizens to monitor current air quality indicators, and a project funding short "health breaks" for children from high-risk areas.

One of the most pressing environmental problems currently facing the city concerns the oil lagoons at the site of the former Ostramo chemical plant. In 1996 the Czech government took over the site and drew up plans for a cleanup. The state-owned company Diamo was created to implement these plans. The situation has been the subject of government-level discussions,[when?] and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš visited Ostrava in March 2015.

Air quality in Ostrava is currently very poor, with high concentrations of benzopyrene.[26] The pollution is so serious that it has been described in folklore; local people refer to "Černá Ostrava" (Black Ostrava) and have several songs about it.


Inside the Antonín Dvořák Theatre

Performing arts

Ostrava has four permanent theatres: the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre (with two permanent venues, the Antonín Dvořák Theatre and the Jiří Myron Theatre), the Petr Bezruč Theatre, the Aréna Chamber Theatre and the Ostrava Puppet Theatre – which hosts the international Spectaculo Interesse festival every odd-numbered year and the Theatre Without Barriers festival every even-numbered year.

Colours of Ostrava

Ostrava is home to the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, and hosts a number of international annual or biennial classical music festivals, including Janáček May, the St Wenceslaus Music Festival and the Ostrava Days new music festival. Since 2002 Ostrava has been the venue for the annual multi-genre music festival Colours of Ostrava, which features an international line-up of artists and attracts crowds of tens of thousands.

Other cultural events in Ostrava include the film and theatre festivals One World, Ostrava Camera Eye (Czech: Ostrava Kamera Oko), the International Outdoor Films Festival, and the Summer Shakespeare Festival (held on an outdoor stage at the Silesian Ostrava Castle). Folklore festivals include the Harmony (Czech: Souznění) international festival of Advent and Christmas traditions and crafts, Folklore Without Borders, and the Irish Cultural Festival.

Museums and galleries

Ostrava Puppet Theatre

Ostrava has several museums and galleries:



Jirásek Square, former chicken market (kuří rynek), in Moravská Ostrava

There are four urban monument zones in Ostrava – Moravská Ostrava (the historic centre), Ostrava-Poruba, Ostrava-Přívoz, and Ostrava-Vítkovice. Much of Ostrava's architectural heritage is in the city centre. The most notable structures are theatres, banks, department stores and other public buildings dating from the turn of the 20th century, at the time of Ostrava's greatest boom. The central Masaryk Square, named after the first President of Czechoslovakia Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, features the historic old city hall building and a Marian plague column from 1702. Nearby Smetanovo Square features the Antonín Dvořák Theatre and the Functionalist Knihcentrum bookstore. To the west are a series of grand, imposing bank buildings and the Elektra Palace on Nádražní Street, while to the north is the New City Hall with its landmark viewing tower, overlooking the large open space of Prokeš Square.

The city centre also has two notable religious buildings – the 13th-century Church of St. Wenceslaus and the Cathedral of the Divine Saviour, the second largest church in Moravia and Czech Silesia. Ostrava's central district contains works by architects including Karel Kotas, Josef Gočár, Ernst Korner and Alexander Graf.

Poruba is a large district of Ostrava in the western part of the conurbation, noted for its distinctive 1950s Socialist realist architecture. Inspired by the grandiose buildings of Soviet cities, Poruba also incorporates historical pastiche features drawing on ancient, Renaissance and Classicist models. The main entrance to the part of Poruba built at this time is through a grand triumphal arch.

The Vítkovice district was for several decades the centre of the local iron and steel industry. The influx of workers led the company to build housing for its employees, plus civic amenities, a town hall and a church. The historic parts of the district are built in the company's distinctive style featuring red-brick façades.

Other districts of the city with a distinctive architectural heritage include Přívoz (with its grand Art Nouveau buildings) and the Jubilee housing development (Czech: Jubilejní kolonie) in Hrabůvka, built as a workers' housing complex in the 1920s.



Heyrovský Secondary Industrial School and High School
VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava
VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava – Ceremonial Hall

Secondary schools

Higher vocational colleges



Schools teaching in foreign languages

Judicial institutions

Ostrava's Regional Court is based in a historic building on the Ostravice embankment (Havlíčkovo nábřeží) in the city centre. Its jurisdiction extends to the whole of the Moravian-Silesian Region. The District Court is based in a new building on U Soudu St. in the Municipal District of Poruba. Its jurisdiction covers the territory of the City of Ostrava. The district courts of Ostrava and Brno are the largest in the country in terms of the number of judges.[29] In addition to these courts Ostrava is also home to regional and district Public Prosecutor's Offices, as well as a branch of the Olomouc-based Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office.


Vítkovice stadium

Ostrava has several sports clubs in various sports, and has hosted many major national and international sports events. In 2014 the city was one of the European Cities of Sport. Ostrava is home to a number of top-level sports clubs, including FC Baník Ostrava (football), HC Vítkovice Steel (ice hockey), NH Ostrava (basketball), 1. SC Vítkovice and FBC Ostrava (floorball), Arrows Ostrava (baseball and softball), and VK Ostrava (volleyball).

Sports venues in the city include athletics facilities, football pitches and stadiums, ice rinks and ice stadiums, multi-purpose sports halls, tennis courts, squash clubs, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, among others. The most important facilities are operated by the City-owned company SAREZA. The company's outdoor swimming pool in Ostrava-Poruba is the largest facility of its kind in Central Europe.

Ostrava has opportune conditions for cycling, with its generally flat terrain and an extensive network of cycle routes. There are also several popular leisure and recreation areas in the region surrounding Ostrava; the Beskids and Jeseníky Mountains (about 30 km (19 mi) and 60 km (37 mi) from Ostrava respectively) are popular with skiers in the winter season, and hikers, cyclists and anglers from spring to autumn. A special "cyclebus" shuttles between Ostrava and the Beskydy Mountains from May to September, enabling cyclists to transport their bikes on a special trailer. In the winter there is a similar service for skiers known as the "skibus".

There are also several golf courses in the region, including the Šilheřovice golf club in the grounds of the local château, and courses in Čeladná, Ropice and Ostravice. About 30 km (19 mi) from Ostrava is another golf course in Kravaře.

Ostrava has a long tradition of hosting top-level European and world championships. The Golden Spike international athletics meeting has been held in the city every year since 1961. In 2004 and 2015 Ostrava co-hosted (with Prague) the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship at the Ostrava Aréna.

Major sporting events to have been hosted in Ostrava include:

Notable people


The first mayor of Moravian Ostrava was Hermann Zwierzina. The list of mayors and other top city officials of the time includes:[31]

Twin towns – sister cities

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the Czech Republic

Ostrava is twinned with:[32]


  1. ^ "Vymezení území pro Integrované teritoriální investice (ITI) v ČR" (PDF). (in Czech). Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic. March 2020. pp. 16–17.
  2. ^ a b "Population of Municipalities – 1 January 2023". Czech Statistical Office. 23 May 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Znak města Ostravy" (in Czech). City of Ostrava. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  4. ^ "Logo of the City of Ostrava". Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Historické kalendárium pro týden od 23. dubna do 29. dubna". (in Czech). City of Ostrava. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  6. ^ "Historické kalendárium pro týden od 15. května do 21. května". (in Czech). City of Ostrava. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  7. ^ "The Jewish Community of Ostrava Moravska". ANU [We] Museum of the Jewish People. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  8. ^ "Moravska Ostrava". Museum of Tolerance Online Multimedia Learning Center. Archived from the original on 21 March 2005. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  9. ^ Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database. "Two lists of Jews deported from Ostrava, Czechoslovakia and vicinity in 1939 / [compiled by Otto Winecki]". The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  10. ^ Klenovsky, Jaroslav (2002). Jewish monuments of Moravia and Silesia. Brno: ERA Group. p. 148. ISBN 80-86517-08-X.
  11. ^ Vecerova, Petra (2009). Jewish monuments in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. Prague: Olympia. pp. 276–277. ISBN 978-80-7376-142-4.
  12. ^ "Gestapogefängnis Mährisch Ostrau". (in German). Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Arbeitserziehungslager Mährisch Ostrau". (in German). Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  14. ^ "Arbeitserziehungslager Mährisch Ostrau-Witkowitz". (in German). Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  15. ^ "Arbeitserziehungslager Ostrava-Kuncice". (in German). Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Working Parties". Archived from the original on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  17. ^ Ermittlungen in Ostrau eingestellt. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (dpa), 26. November 2010.
  18. ^ "World Weather Information Service – Ostrava". United Nations. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
  19. ^ "Normales et records pour la période 1991–2020 à Ostrava". Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  20. ^ "Ostrava, Czech Republic Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  21. ^ "Ostrava, Czech Republic Travel Weather Averages (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Historický lexikon obcí České republiky 1869–2011 – Okres Ostrava-město" (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. 21 December 2015. pp. 1–2.
  23. ^ "Population Census 2021: Population by sex". Public Database. Czech Statistical Office. 27 March 2021.
  24. ^ "Czech Republic: New rail link to Ostrava international airport". Railway Pro. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
  25. ^ "Ostrava Public Transportation Website". DPO. 28 November 2016. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  26. ^ "Obr.IV.2.1 Pole roční průměrné koncentrace benzo[a]pyrenu, 2016". Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  27. ^ "Folklorní festival Májová Plesná". Moravian-Silesian Region.
  28. ^ "Májová Plesná 2015". City of Ostrava.
  29. ^ "Prehled soudcu". Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  30. ^ "Past Winners". Women's Tennis Association. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  31. ^ "Gallery of Mayors". City of Ostrava. Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  32. ^ "Mezinárodní vztahy" (in Czech). City of Ostrava. Retrieved 13 October 2022.