The town of Ostrava is the regional capital and the statutory town of the Moravian-Silesian Region. It lies in the Ostrava Basin, south of the Opava Hills at an altitude of 208–334 metres. In the whole huge industrial agglomeration there live about 312,000 inhabitants. It is a specific area by its size, big concentration of industry and by its entire history.
Once a small settlement grew here on the amber trail over the river Ostrá (Ostravice); according to which the town got its name. For long years it belonged to the Hukvaldy domain of the bishops of Olomouc. Later the growing village was also spreading along the confluence of the rivers Opava and Odra and was divided into the Moravian and Silesian Ostrava. During the Middle Ages the town was developing well; a decline occured later during the Thirty Years’ War.
In 1763 miller Jan Augustin of Klimkovice discovered stone coal in Burňa Valley in Silesian Ostrava. However, coal mining began later,in the 1780s. The names of the Wilczek family (the owners of the Silesian-Ostrava domain), the Rothschilds and the Habsburg Těšín archdukes appeared in this connection. In 1828 the archbishop of Olomouc Rudolf Jan founded steelworks in Vítkovice. A rapid industrial development of the town followed, surrounding villages merged with Ostrava, humps appeared. In 1924 a big Ostrava arose. The important dominant sight of the town is the New Town Hall with its 85 metres high tower from 1930. It is a work of architect Karel Kotas. Another significant monuments is St. Wenceslas’ Roman Catholic Church which is considered to be the oldest preserved building monument in Ostrava. The Divine Saviour’s Cathedral from 1889 is the second biggest church in Moravia. We can also visit the Silesian-Ostrava castle. Some parts of Ostrava were under Polish or German occupation during the Second World War.
Today we can find recultivated areas and nice parks in Ostrava. The town, however, suffers by air pollution. The Polanský Forest and the Polanská Meadow are protected natural areas. Four permanent theatres, Janáček’s Conservatory, Janáček’s Philharmonic Orchestra and also the University of Ostrava are here.
The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) has one congregation in Ostrava. From the German Protestant church the Protestants gained a monumental Christ’s Church from a ficelle masonry and with asymmetrically built tower. They share this church with the Silesian Church of the Augsburg Confession. The church was built in the early 20th century and it is a unique work of architects Ludwig Faigl and Karel Troll from Vienna. In Ostrava the ECCB congregation was established in 1919. Few years later near the German Chris’t Church a congregation house with a big Třanovský’s hall and with relevant additional rooms, with a flat for a preacher and with a few tenants flats was built. The building was done by builder Emil Ženatý.
The second congregation of the ECCB was in Ostrava – Vítkovice. In 1999 both congregations were connected together.