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The city of Ostrava was founded close to the Czech - Polish border, on the ancient tarde route connecting the Baltic Sea with the Miditerranean, in the first half of 13th century. A town at confluence of rivers Ostravice and Lucinawas first metioned in written documents in 1267. The area - in fact, the entrance Moravska brana (the Moravian Gateway) - was inhabited by, mammoth hunters as long as 30 thousand years ago, they were the first people to use black coal from seams which cropped out - and still crop out today -to keep alight their fires. It is here that the unique female torso was found - the famous Venus of Petrikovice, made by bloodstone by a primeval artist. Worth visiting is Landek Hill, a combination of a nature reserve and historic conservation area, criss-crossed with a network of instructional footpaths, which also include the Mining Museum in the former Anselm Mine, the museum shows the history of coal mining, which - along with metallurgy - had a indelible influence on the recent history of the city and its looks. An acttractive part of the tour is the visit to a mine adit dating back to the 19th century, it was recommended that Landek Hill in Ostrava, being a unique part of the world´s natural and cultural heritage, should be protected by UNESCO.
The traditional centre of the city is Masaryk Square, as it is called today, dominated by the Renaissance tower of the Old Town Hall from the 16th century (it houses the Ostrava Museum) an the Marian Plague Column erected in 1702. Walking round the pedestrian zone in the historical heart of the city, a conservation area protected by state authorities, the visitor will see many historic buildings - samples of Art Nouveau, cubist, functionalist and historicizing styles. A more recent landmark of the city is the 86-metre tower of the New Town Hall, dating from 1930 (the seat of Ostrava City Council), if the weather is nice, its observation gallery , open to the public, offers the visitor views of the whole city and foothills of both Beskydy and Jeseniky mountains.
Another attraction of the city is the wodden church of sv.Katerina in Habrova, built in 1543. It is one of the unique wooden Silesian churches preserved up to these days. The biggest erratic boulder in the Czech Republic lies at the main gate of Nova hut (New´Iron Works) in Kuncice. The hiking paths of the protected landscape area of the Odra Basin will take you into silent world of the nearby swampy forests, next to it there is a frequented riding centre at Stara Bela. A rewarding place of both recreation and instruction is the capacious zoological garden in Michalkovice. At the northern edge of the city, in the immediate vicinity of the Polish border, lies the chateu of Silherovice , the former summer residence of Rothschilds, with a beautiful landscape park and a well-kept 18-hole golf course. In 1990´s, a iodine spa sprang up in Klimkovice-Hylov situated to the south of the city, with interesting modern architecture and much frequented for its healing effects on diseases of locomotive organs.
If you are interested in obtaining further details about the city and its everyday life or if you need arrangements made for accommodation or transport, contact or visit the Information Centre or Magistrat mesta Ostravy (Ostrava City Council)
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