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Moravskoslezsky kraj
Moravskoslezsky kraj

The Moravian-Silesian Region was founded on January 1st, 2000, as well as the rest of 14 regions of the Czech Republic. It was originally established under the name "Ostrava Region." The region consists of a total of six districts known as Bruntál, Opava, Nový Jičín, Ostrava-město, Karviná, and Frýdek-Místek. The Moravian-Silesian Region covers an area of ​​5,427 square kilometers. To the southwest the region borders the Olomouc Region and in the south it neighbours the Zlín Region. The Moravian-Silesian Region also forms a state border with Poland to the north and Slovakia to the east. The region stretches over the area of the Jeseníky Mountains to the Beskydy Mountains. The southwestern part of the region consists of highly preserved areas in the Low Jeseník and Oderské vrchy. The lower areas are surrounded by mountains, namely the Opava-Ostrava basin, which is closely followed by the natural landscape corridor, Moravian Gate, which is further to the south. The biggest rivers of the region are Odra, Opava, Ostravice, and Olše. [1]The Moravian-Silesian Region has a population of 1,192,834 people, making the density 220 inhabitants per square kilometer. The region is highly industrialised, as proves a nickname of the capital city, Ostrava, which used to be called the "Steel Heart of the Republic".[2]

What Moravskoslezsky kraj is known for

The Moravian-Silesian Region is the core of Czech industry and production, with a rather long tradition. Due to the black coal deposits in the Ostrava-Karviná basin, this part of the Czech territory was known as one of the most important industrial areas since Austria-Hungary which dates back to the 19th century. This is presumably also the reason for the great touristic popularity of this region. It's filled with technical and industrial monuments and museums, which offer one-of-a-kind expositions. [8]

One of the most popular technical expositions is probably the Technical Museum of Kopřivnice, with the Tatra company was being founded in 1850. The company started with the production of horse-drawn vehicles but later branched out into railroad car manufacturing. The company started the production of automobiles and design in 1900. 

Another renowned technical sight of the region is the world-unique complex of Dolní Vítkovice. The complex is located in the former coal mine, where raw iron was produced between 1828 and 1998. In 1828, Rudolf Habsburg established the iron plant in Vítkovice, thus creating a unique complex of heavy industrial production. At the time this type of production didn't exist anywhere else in Europe. Nowadays, the industrial complex serves as an educational, cultural, and social center.[6]

Another technical sight of the region, is the Landek Park. The park is the largest mining museum in the Czech Republic, founded 25 years ago in Ostrava's oldest mine. A 250 m of underground corridors accessible to visitors serve the purpose of an authentic mining workplace exposition. The area of Lander Park also offers a sports and relaxation center, including camping and catering facilities.[7]

The Moravian-Silesian Region is not only known for its technical and industrial inheritance, but it does represent an important part of the region's history. The area is filled with historical and cultural monuments as well. One such example is the State Castle Hradec nad Moravicí, which was built in the 11th century. The castle became famous due to its connection to L. Van Beethoven, one of the world's most recognized composers. Beethoven created in the Hradec nad Moravicí the Piano Sonata in F minor, Opus 57, and Appassionata. Beethoven wasn't the only one who has visited and stayed in this castle for a number of months. Another person includes the violinist Nicolo Paganini and the composer Franz Liszt who have both composed at the chateau. [9] For these reasons, every year a festival of classical music and Beethoven's Hradec is held at Hradec nad Moravicí Castle in the Red Castle. The festival is one of the largest cultural events in the Moravian-Silesian Region.[10]

Another unique historical location is the museum of Sigmund Freud, located in Freud's birth house in Příboř. Freud was a neurologist, founder of psychoanalysis, and arguably one of the most famous personalities in the field of psychology. [11]


The Moravian-Silesian Region falls into the Jeseníky Mountains to the Beskydy Mountain area. On the western border of the region is Hrubý Jeseník with the highest mountain Praděd at an altitude of 1,491 m above the sea level. In the southeast and east, near the borders with Slovakia and Poland, there is the Moravian-Silesian Beskydy Mountains with the highest peak, Lysá Hora, at an altitude of 1,323 m above the sea level.[1]

Due to the high industrialization of the land, the countryside consists mainly of man-made structures. However, three areas with unique plant and animal species have been preserved. Nowadays, areas belong to the Czech National Protected Areas, as well as some smaller nature reserves. One example of such protected territory is the Jeseníky Protected Landscape Area or the Beskydy Protected Landscape Area. About 80% of the this territory is covered by plantations of Norway spruce, however the industrial emission caused serious damages. Alpine meadows can be found in relatively low elevations, due to the local weather conditions. On the other hand, the Poodří Protected Landscape Area is located in the territory of Moravian Gate, on the banks of the river Odra. Opposite to the mountainous Alpine meadows and nordic forests, is the area consisting of floodplain forests (one of the last preserved in Central Europe), flooded meadows, and many shallow ponds, on which waterbirds thrive. The Moravian-Silesian area also features many small protected nature areas. The most notable is the Šipka Cave near Štramberk, which also consists an archeological site that has remnants of a Neanderthal man which was discovered there in the late 19th century.[2]

The climate of the Moravian-Silesian Region is identical with the whole of Central and Western Europe but is also mild with a typical alternation of four seasons. The temperature in summer can reach tropical values above 30°C while in winter it often drops below -10°C. On average summer temperatures are around 20°C and winter temperatures around 0°C. The wettest months throughout the year are May, June, and July, with an average of 23 rainy days. The driest is November with an average of 12 rainy days. [3]


Ostrava is considered to be the historical, cultural, and economical center of the Moravian-Silesian Region. The destination was named after the river Ostravice, which flows through the city. The word "Ostra" in Ostrava means "fast and sharp". The first evidence of the settlements in this area can be traced back to the early Stone Age. It has been discovered that about 25,000 years ago mammoth hunters had camps on Mount Landek. One of the most significant discoveries from that era is a 48 mm high statue of a woman figure called the Venus of Petřkovická (Landecká). Archaeologists have also found evidence that prehistoric hunters, who lived in this area, used coal from seams rising to the surface as fuel. This is the first documented use of hard coal in the world. Moving many hundreds of years forward, in the 8th century, a Slavic tribe of Holasics built one of its numerous strongholds on the hill of Landek. In the second half of the 13th century, there was a stone castle founded by king Přemysl Otakar II. The status of the town was granted to Ostrava in 1279. 

Impacts from military campaigns, natural disasters such as floods and fires had adversely affected life in the city of Ostrava. The biggest fire in 1556 destroyed most of the houses in the square. In 1625, about half of the population died as a result of a plague epidemic. In 1763, the coal reserves have been discovered and in 1787 regular mining was established. The rapid growth of the agglomeration started in 1828 due to the establishment of ironworks in the village of Vítkovice near Ostrava. Later Ostrava became one of the most important industrial centers of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, which caused a rapid influx in the population. During and in between the wars, the largest industrial companies reoriented themselves to war production. By the end of the war in 1944, the Anglo-American allies bombarded and seriously damaged the city, which at the time was under the rule of Nazi Germany. The city was then liberated in 1945. After that year, in the era of Czechoslovakia, Ostrava was called the "city of coal and iron" or the "steel heart of the republic" as all the industry was focused on this. In 1989 Ostrava became a statutory city and in 2000, Ostrava became the seat of the newly established Ostrava Region which is now known today as the Moravian-Silesian Region.[12]