Do you feel like getting out for the weekend? Don’t you have much time for traveling? If you live in the southern part of Poland, I’d like to recommend you a great spot for a day trip out of your town! Ostrava, which is situated in our Czech neighbors’ country, is a city which is definitely worth visiting with your family and friends. It’s probably not as attractive as Karlovy Vary or Mariánské Lázně, which I wrote about a few months ago. However, you should consider this place as an interesting alternative for a short weekend trip.
I had a chance to visit Ostrava a couple of years ago. To my surprise the whole journey from Chrzanów to our final destination took not more than one hour and a half. That was a really good side of such a trip, especially for a person – just like me – who suffers from travel sickness. It also made the whole excursion way more pleasant. Our trip took place in October, which allowed us to enjoy the last days of warm and sunny weather, as well as to load our batteries before chilly and rainy November days.
Here are a few places you should definitely visit there!
1.The Old Town
The central part of Ostrava is its market square – called Masaryk Square, which amazes its visitors with lovely buildings and beautifully decorated facades. Tourists can also admire there two religious sculptures: a Marian Column and a statue of St. Florian, which are characteristic landmarks on the map of this city. Besides this, another interesting structure attracts attention of passersby – a fountain with a centrally located figure, which scares not only with its grotesqueness, but also with its unusual form.
It’s also worth visiting the Old Town, which was built in the 16th century. Currently, it offers its visitors a very interesting venue to explore – the Ostrava Museum, which is the oldest building of this type in the whole city, and was set up in 1872 by Karel Jaromír Bukovanský. This museum offers a great variety of interesting expositions, which truly surprise with their diversity. To most classic and interesting exhibits belong archaeological and historical objects, as well as eye-catching works of art. Ethnography lovers can also find there something for themselves, beautifully painted furniture, regional costumes or paintings, which definitely make it easier to get familiar with folklore of a given place. Some other captivating expositions include the ones related to geology, where visitors can admire fossils coming from the times before Christ was born.
Before setting out to explore some other parts of the city, it’s a great idea to eat out or to have a cup of coffee in one of numerous cafes or restaurants located in the vicinity of the market square. If you’re lucky enough, you may be served by a tall and handsome bartender!
2.The Viewing Tower of the New City Hall
The New City Hall in Ostrava was built in the 20’s of the previous century, and it’s famous for one of the highest viewing platforms in the country. The viewing tower is 85 meters tall, and the platform itself is situated at the height of 73 meters. Visitors can admire there a beautiful skyline of the city and on a clear day they can also notice the ridge line of Beskidy Mountains and Poland. The New City Hall is invariably associated with Ostrava and the lift, which allows tourists to move to the top of the viewing tower. It used to be the fastest lift in the whole Czechoslovakia. The visitors eyes’ are also caught by a huge clock situated in the upper part of the tower.
3.The Ostrava Zoo
For all the ones who love long walks and having contact with nature – the zoo in Ostrava will be an ideal spot for a family trip out of town. You can see there a wide range of interesting and rare animal species, which allow its visitors to get to know the nature typical for various corners of the world. Moreover, the zoo offers a beautiful botanic garden, in which you can sit down on a bench and enjoy the surrounding nature. There are also numerous figures and sculptures, which are an additional attraction for the youngest visitors.
4.Silesian Ostrava Castle
This castle was built in the 13th century, however until 2000 the only remnant of this place was its original tower and it was close to completely disappear from this location. Fortunately, the town authorities decided to renovate this building a little bit. Currently, it is often used for a wide range of cultural events, for example Summer Shakespeare Festival. Besides this, you can also visit there some interesting museum exhibitions, as well as the Witches Museum, which is perceived to be quite a popular tourist attraction. The castle is also used as a place to host various markets, concerts and temporary exhibitions. Another attraction for all the ones who decide to visit this castle is its Lady in White, who according to the legend walks with a candle in her left hand and a golden key in her right. Maybe it’s not the most spectacular castle I have had a chance to visit so far, but it’s certainly a place you shouldn’t miss while visiting Ostrava.
I hope you’ll have a chance to make use of beautiful autumn weather and set out for a short trip to our Czech neighbors. And how do you spend your free weekends?
See you around!