City of Opava and Karviná

City of Opava

The city of Opava is situated at the confluence of the Silesian rivers Opava and Moravice. The earliest written record of the existence of Opava dates back to 1195, to the days when it was a crossroad of trade routes. But it was only by a decree, issued by King Přemysl I in 1224, that it received recognition as a town. It flourished as a place where people were busy trading, farming and practising crafts. Two market places were established in the centre of the town. Opava as part of the Czech crown lands became the centre of the Opava region’s princedom. In 1742 after Austria lost the war of their “inheritance” against Prussia, Opava became the capital of so-called Austria-Silesia and simultaneously the seat of the authorities that administered of the land on behalf of the rulers. In 1820 the most prominent European monarchs and diplomats of the time convened here at the “Opava Congress”. At the end of World War II Opava suffered dire losses during the so-called Ostrava Operation. A considerable section of the town was destroyed. Nevertheless a number of cultural and historical memorials remained intact. The Minorite monastery and church of the Holy Spirit, built before 1269, are among the earliest memorials, which have been preserved and dean’s church of the Ascension of the Virgin Mary. Then there are some significant technical sights worth seeing such as the fortifications – a unique military stronghold built before World War II. The fortress in Opava – Milostovice is open to the public.

Opava – rich in history and historic landmarks – is also an important cultural centre for the region. Since 1805 the Silesian Theatre has staged shows. The oldest museum in the Czech Republic, which is in Opava, opened its doors to the public in 1814. The Silesian regional museum built in 1893-1895 in a historic style is upholding the tradition. Annual festivals also figure prominently in the cultural life of the inhabitants of Opava.

Education system in Opava gained prestige in 1991 with the establishment of the Silesian University.

In fact it has become the centre of important sports events. Importantly, it has a splendid modern football stadium set in the Municipal Gardens, the Tyrš stadium for athletics, the Winter stadium, a heated swimming pool, Municipal Lido, tennis courts and riding school.

Currently, Opava flourishes as an industrial and business centre.

Many a renowned person in the field of science or culture was either born in Opava or lived to bring fame to the town - Antonín Vašek, advocator of people’s rights and scientific truth, the farther of poet Petr Bezruč, national revivalist Vincenc Prasek, Jan Zacpal, editor and journalist, Josef Zukal, historian of the Opava region, artists Valentin Držkovic and Josef Šrámek, composer Václav Kálik, writers Bohuslav Balbín, Silesian poet Petr Bezruč and writer and traveller Joy Adamson, founder of genetics Johann Gregor Mendel, one of the creators of coloured photographs – Karel Schnizel.


For more information in English language please visit the Webpage of the Department for Foreign Relations.