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Štramberk © ThinkStockPhotos

Moravia and Silesia

The forgotten Silesia

The forgotten Silesia

The historical region of Silesia, whose smaller part belongs to the Czech State, used to be one of the gems of the Bohemian Crown. The ancient residential town of Opava hosted Charles IV in 1362, and it was here that he granted important privileges to the nearby town of Ostrava.

Silesia is the third and smallest of the historical lands that today form the Czech Republic; its larger part belongs to Poland. This dynamic post-industrial region is an important centre of cultural innovation. However, in the past it was among the regions influenced by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. In 1362, he visited the ducal town of Opava, where he issued the first privilege for Ostrava, which later became the administrative centre of the region. The Gothic Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary was a silent monumental witness to this visit. An exclusive example of Gothic architecture is the mysterious Chapel of St. Cross from the late 14th century, founded by Charles IV himself and inspired by the Prague Church of St. Charles the Great. In the streets of Opava, you will certainly discover many culinary treasures typical of the region. And if you are tired of history, you may attend one of the local cultural events, such as the Další břehy festival of progressive art.

There are another two locations associated with the era of Charles IV in the Czech part of Silesia. South of Opava, there is the town of Hukvaldy, which was made famous by the renowned composer Leoš Janáček. In 1359 Charles IV donated the castle of Hukvaldy and its domain to the bishops of Olomouc; its monumental ruins can be admired even today. Legend has it that it is still inhabited by fairies and demons and there is golden treasure waiting to be discovered. Music lovers can attend the “Janáčkovy Hukvaldy” festival, with some of the concerts taking place in the premises of the castle. Not far away there is the picturesque town of Štramberk, founded in the mid-14th century by the Margrave Jan Jindřich, Charles IV’s brother. The Štramberk castle with an impressive Gothic tower used to be owned by Charles IV himself when he held the office of Margrave. You may search for the rest of the defensive walls in its crooked streets and taste the local gingerbread speciality called the “ears of Štramberk”.

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