If this is the first time you've heard about Ostrava, well we'd like to change that. This city was once home to a booming mining industry. The capital of Moravian-Silesia, Ostrava's industrial past made it a vital source of resources in Europe. However, when that scene began to dry up, the people of Ostrava took to transform their once prosperous mining center into a cultural center. Today, Ostrava is packed with museums, tours, fine dining and a brilliant night-life. The fact that they've been so successful at integrating their past with an infusion of the future is absolutely astounding. This is not your average historical European city, it's a feat to behold. The people of Ostrava have been diligent with regards to transforming their once industrial mining city into a place of beauty and culture. As such, it pays to spend some time there visiting all the interesting sites and sounds. That being said, know that there are also day trips from Ostrava available. These day trips are a great way to explore the nearby cities of Prague, Opava, and the Jeseniky Mountains.
20. Miniature Park
Pools and aquaparks aren't the only activities children will love, there's also the Miniature Park. The moment you enter you'll be met with a beautifully landscaped area which houses replicas of famous buildings from around the world all at 1:25 scale. Here, you'll find replicas of the Eiffel Tower the Brandenburg Gate and more. But that's not all, the park also has waterways for boats and tracks for trains. Finally, whether you're a child of nine or an adult who's young at heart, don't forget to head to Ostrava's toy museum when you're done with the Miniature Park.
19. The Forum Nova Karolina
All tourists need a place to rest, collect themselves, eat and buy souvenirs, and in Ostrava that place is the Forum Nova Karolina. Give yourself a good 3 hours or so to explore this large shopping mall. You can even go up to the roof, sit and observe the city while enjoying a nice meal. The nice thing about the Forum Nova Karolina is that the prices for food and goods are decent, so purchasing some gifts here won't break the bank. You can also use their parking lot to park your car while you explore the city on foot.
18. DinoPark Ostrava
This attraction is just made for the younger crowd, as children are reported to love the park. The park offers free parking as well as a free train ride for those who wish to view the park while resting. The exhibits feature all things dinosaur, so any of your little ones who love them will enjoy themselves immensely. Adults however, should realize before they go that this park is designed for kids, not adults. Overall, the DinoPark is a great way for parents and kids to bond while on vacation.
17. Silesian Ostrava Castle
The Silesian Ostrava Castle is close to Ostravice River. Though not a large, traditional castle, it's filled with interesting artifacts, some of which have nothing to do with the castle itself. An example is the addition of the Museum of Mysteries placed in the castles dungeons. Undoubtedly placed there to attract tourists, the Museum of Mysteries has quite a few unique items. For instance, there is a wall plaque of a space alien made up as an Egyptian Pharaoh. There are also strange and unsettling models of deformed creatures and even dragons.
16. Ostravar Brewery
Once you get settled into one of the beautiful and friendly hotels in Ostravar, take some time to relax at the Ostravar Brewery. Beer is the national beverage in the Czech Republic, and the Ostravar Brewery has been serving locals and tourists alike for decades. Sign up for the tour and you'll come face to face with one of the most respected breweries in the world. Founded way back in 1897, this brewery features four main products Ostravar Original, Ostravar Mustang, Ostravar Premium and Ostravar Gavora. Once the tour ends, you'll be able to taste each of these brews yourself.
If you love to experience the sights, sounds and colors of the night life, then you're in luck. Stodolni street is where it's at when you visit Ostrava. Here, you'll find everything from the hippest dance clubs to the trendiest bars in the area . Nestled snuggly within the center of Ostrava, Stodolni street is close to famous Ostrava attractions like The House of Art, Cathedral of the Divine Saviour and New City Hall Viewing Tower. Examples of eateries include the Guest Restaurant Francais, Comedor Mexicano and Moravska Chalupa. Before we forget, there's even a pub dedicated to Sherlock Holmes.
14. The Ostravice River
After a day admiring the industrial past of Ostrava, you may wish to reconnect with nature and relax. Well, you can do that right here at the Ostravice River. A quaintly beautiful bit of green envelopes this waterway. Tourists can walk it, or bike it or even take a kayak down it. Speaking of biking, if you didn't bring your own you can rent a Rekola public bike in the city center. The river is well-kept and clean, so renting an inflatable boat to take down the river will be quite the cool experience.
13. Ostrava Arena
The Ostrava Arena is a large sporting facility that holds up to 12,500 spectators. The arena hosts a variety of events. These events include hosting sporting events such as the 2015 Ice Hockey World Championships, the 2010 Women's Basketball World Cup, Davis Cup and more. Cultural events are also held at this facility. Past events included performances by Bryan Adams, Rammstein, and Aerosmith among others. Visit their events page for more information on cultural events and upcoming hockey games. The Ostrava Arena is close to the New City Hall Viewing Tower and eateries Pata Negra dn U Helbicha.
12. Colors of Ostrava
If you love music and plan to visit Ostrava, then plan your trip during Ostrava's magnificent music festival, the Colors of Ostrava. This festival hosts a variety of musical styles from rock to jazz. Over 20 stages will be filled during this time, which makes this festival one of the largest music fests in central Europe. The festival began in 2002, and due to its extreme success has been repeated every year since. This year the festival will be held from July 13 to the 16.
11. The Planetarium Ostrava
Our universe is our home and visiting the Planetarium Ostrava is a great chance to become familiar with that home. The programs they offer children are very well designed to educate as well as entertain. The Planetarium is properly maintained and has gone through several redesigns in order to keep it relevant to the times. While there are plenty of exhibits geared to children, adults should know that there are more than enough exhibits to keep them intrigued and interested. You'll find the films shown at the Planetarium especially good, so remember to purchase your tickets.
10. PLATO Ostrava
PLATO is a must see for anyone interested in the cultural side of Ostrava. This is a contemporary art museum which houses some of the finest works by Ostrava artists. Not only does it house Czech artists, but also welcomes art from international artists from around the world. Plan to stay around 1 to 2 hours while there.The PLATO Ostrava is within walking distance from the New City Town Hall viewing tower and the Cathedral of the Divine Saviour, so plan on making a day of it. When done treat yourself to a delicious dinner at the Comedor Mexicano restaurant.
9. Komenského Sady
Komenského Sady is a large and gorgeous landscape of green grass, trees and plenty of fresh air. Here, you can take a relaxing walk, jog, do some inline skating or take a rental bike along one of it's lovely bike trails. If tennis is more your thing, know that tennis great Ivan Lendl learned to play here. This is a safe and well-maintained park, so bring the kids for a restful picnic under the bright and clear Ostrava sky. The park is close to the New City Hall Viewing Tower, and eateries Dama Pykova, HogoFogo Bistro, and Tenisava Restaurant.
8. The Terezie-Ema Slag Heap: Ostrava’s Volcano
A slag heap refers to a man-made mound of mining waste. Knowing that, you're probably wonder just why you'd want to visit one. But the slag heap in Ostrava is a bit different. First it's an astounding 315 meters tall. Second, this heap of waste has developed its very own subtropical climate due to the ever-burning waste deep inside it. This is why some people call it the Ostrava Volcano. As a result, snowfall doesn't stay on the heap for too long. Those into plants and nature will be interested to know that due to its unusual nature, the Terezie-Ema Slag Heap hosts a variety of unique plant life that thrives on the mound, but nowhere else in Ostrava.
7. The Antonín Dvořák Theatre
The Antonin Dvorak Theatre is a spectacular example of exceptional neo-baroque architecture. The gorgeous, spacious interior of the theater comfortably seats 517 theater-goers. As far as performances go, you can spectate a variety of shows from opera and ballet to dramatic presentations. After the show, enjoy a bite to eat at famed nearby restaurants Comedor Mexicano, HogoFogo Bistro or Guest Restaurant Francais.
6. Sareza Aquapark
If you plan to visit Ostrava during the warmer months then know that you've got a large, modern waterpark waiting for you. Indeed, cool down at the Sareza Aquapark by swimming in its large 50 meter pool or enjoy sailing down one of its slides. The park is quite popular often attracting around 20,000 visitors a day. This massive waterpark is dotted with colorful water slides, places to eat and areas to relax and take in the sun. There are also swimming lessons for those of you who'd like to take a dip but need a lesson or two first.
5. Science and Technology Center
The Science and Technology Center or Svet Techniky, is one of the wonders of Ostrava. Fun for both kids and adults alike, the museum is filled with exciting exhibits, many of which invite your participation. Topics are all things science such as biology, astronomy, and physics. Tourist Sylvia H. had this to say about her visit, "We had so much fun, everything was interactive, educational and I had feeling that I'm kid again:) After couple of hours we were really exhausted but it was definitely worth it!"
4. The Ostrava Museum
The Ostrava Museum is the place to go to learn about Ostrava and its people. Established in 1872 by Karel Jaromir Bukovansky, the museum houses hundreds of exhibitions and collections. Classed by some as a national history museum, exhibitions include archeological, geological, as well as a history of the people of Ostrava. Collections run the gamut from musicology, glass, ceramics, to the military. The museum has two floors with one floor dealing with the history of Ostrava and its culture and the other dedicated to the natural history of Ostrava.
3. Landek Park
After enjoying a delicious meal at one of the fine restaurants such as the Bistropen, visit the Mining Museum in Landek Park. Here, you'll find out just what it took to be a miner back in the day via their tours You'll be able to have contact with the equipment used, hitch a ride in their mine wagon and even learn about the brave horses who were forced to work the mines. When done, take a leisurely stroll around Landek Park and visit the Landek mound and lookout tower.
2. The New City Hall Viewing Tower
To get an all encompassing view of Ostrava, you must head over to the New City Hall Viewing Tower. Tours are every 30 minutes with guides giving you a good idea of what the city is all about. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to make this your first tourist destination in Ostrava. As you approach the town hall, you'll be greeted by a statue of Icarus. Once inside. take the elevator to the observation area where you'll be 73 meters above the city. Once finished you can head down to one of the nearby eateries such as the HogoFogo Bistro of the Comedor Mexicano for a relaxing meal.
1. Dolni Vitkovice
Once one of the largest industrial mining and steel establishments Europe, the Dolni Vitkovice is now a cultural center filled with exhibits and art. Also referred to as the DOV, this once massive industrial complex treats visitors to a Science and Technology Center, mining museum, Kids World, climbing wall and much more. Ostrava's evolution from a once industrial city to one of culture can truly be seen in Dolni Vitovice. This transformation has been a great success for the DOV with the DOV celebrating its one millionth visitor in 2013.
It's a well-known fact among travelers that the Czech Republic is home to some fascinating cities, such as Prague. But many of these travelers have not heard much about the Czech Republic's third largest city: Ostrava. Let's face it, Ostrava might not be as beautiful as Prague, but it is a treasure which shouldn't be missed. The atmosphere where an industrial past has been transformed into a cultural oasis, heavy in both arts and technology, can't be passed over. We hope our article on this most fascinating city will encourage you to consider Ostrava on your travel itinerary.
Written by Liz Flynn
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