Region of Moravia-Silesia – Region of Contrasts and Opportunities
The Region of Moravia-Silesia has a very diverse geography. It is located in the North-East of the Czech Republic, forming one of the remotest areas of the country. Prague is approximately 300km distant as the crow flies. Expressed in transport time, this distance is one hour by plane, three hours by train and four hours by car.
The region’s border characteristics provide opportunities for efficient cooperation in the manufacturing sector, infrastructural development, cultural and educational activities, and especially in the area of tourism. For this purpose, four Euroregions are currently active in the region – Praděd, Beskydy, Silesia and Cieszyn Silesia. The region has an area of 5,427 sq. km and consists of six former districts (from the West: Bruntál, Opava, Nový Jičín, Ostrava-Town, Karviná and Frýdek-Místek).
The region has been one of the most important industrial regions in central Europe since the 19th century. However, the orientation of its economic activities – the industrial structure – causes considerable problems in the restructuring of this region and in attempts to deal with social problems, especially with those related to the unemployment rate. The natural environment has improved significantly since the beginning of the 1990s, thanks to the decrease in industrial production, the use of technologies friendlier to the environment and significant investments in environmental measures.
More than a half of the region’s area is occupied by agricultural land, and another part of over 35% is taken up by forests (especially in the mountainous areas of Jeseníky and Beskydy). Besides natural wonders, the region has rich deposits of raw materials – mainly a crucial domestic deposit of hard coal – and deposits of natural gas, as well as other raw materials, such as limestone, granite, marble, slate, gypsum, sandy gravels, sands and brick clays.
The most important industrial sectors in the region of Moravia-Silesia are organised in clusters, which provide the region with a new profile and significantly simplify investor access to individual sub-suppliers. The region is the leader in the Czech Republic in this regard. Let us mention, for example, the IT Cluster, which was one of the first clusters in the Czech Republic. Its main goal and mission was and still is to create functional platforms for mutual cooperation of commercial entities, particularly those specialising in Information Technologies. The cluster associates over 40 members who represent a significant group of employers and producers of added value and of the gross domestic product, both in Northern Moravia and nationwide.
Other important clusters include the Moravian-Silesian Automotive Cluster, which supports innovations and export capabilities of firms in the automotive industry, the Moravian-Silesian Machinery Cluster, which associates engineering firms and firms oriented towards engineering-related activities or services for engineering, and the Moravian-Silesian Wood Cluster.
The region of Moravia-Silesia has a number of industrial zones. Two of the most successful industrial zones are the industrial zone in Karviná-Nové Pole and in Kopřivnice, which together host the greatest number of investors. These locations also have the look of prosperous industrial parks. Another important industrial zone is in Ostrava-Hrabová. Thanks to its area of 120ha, 7,000 created jobs and 45 investors, it is one of the most successful zones in the region. The zone is still open to new investors. The location of Krnov-Červený Dvůr, which had to be expanded because of keen demand, is also at full capacity, similarly to Karviná. There are also other successful projects, such as Bolatice, which are mostly occupied by smaller business entities. The region also prepared the strategic industrial zone, Nošovice, for the important global car-maker, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech (HMMC). Test production started in November 2008 and an opening ceremony for serial production took place in April 2009.
The region’s traditional cultural centres are Ostrava, Opava and the Těšín district with the important Polish minority in Český Těšín. The internationally renowned Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra is based in Ostrava. The region is characterised by its conditions for industrial tourism (Technical Museum Tatra in Kopřivnice, Museum of Wagon-Making in Studénka, Museum of Mining in Ostrava-Petřkovice, Dolní Vítkovice, National Cultural Heritage Site Coal Mine Michal). The region’s spa industry is based on utilising the curative effects of the iodine-bromine water in the Darkov Spa and Rehabilitation Centre. A new spa sanatorium with architecturally interesting buildings has been operating in Klimkovice since the beginning of the 1990s. Water-sport fans enjoy boating down the Moravice and Odra Rivers, and those who prefer recreation on the water’s edge visit the Žermanice and Těrlicko dams, or, less frequently, the dam in Slezská Harta.
This distinctive region was the birthplace of a number of world-known personalities. For example, Joy Adams, known for her novels about Africa, came from Opava. She started to care for a little lioness, thanks to her second husband, the founder of African national parks, George Adams, and she wrote the book “Elsa: The Story of a Lioness”. Leoš Janáček, one of the most famous Czech musical composers, was born in Hukvaldy. Johann Gregor Mendel, Father of Genetics, was born in Vražné-Hynčice.
There are golf courses of various levels of difficulty in the region of Moravia-Silesia, starting with courses featuring short holes all the way to courses where championship tournaments are played. Whatever the course, you will always be playing in beautiful natural surroundings with the magic backdrops of the Beskydy Mountains or historical castles. The courses at Čeladná, Ostravice, Šilheřovice, Kravaře and Ropice have won the favour of many local and foreign players.
Ostrava – Regional City
Ostrava, a grey city? Not any more! The Ostrava district of today is rightly proud of its multitude of historical monuments. They document the city’s history and the tradition of hard coal mining. These monuments are unique in the whole world. The city of Ostrava is considered the region’s commercial and cultural centre. It has large shopping and exhibition centres, luxury hotels, pleasant cafés and theatres. The tourist trade also benefits from the extensive network of bicycle tracks through the interesting surroundings.
The Bruntál district is historically famous for its mining industry. The district had mines for precious metals – gold and silver – and colour-metal ores. Today, it is characterised by a combination of industry and agriculture, with the majority of jobs in engineering, textile and wood-processing firms. There are approx. 13.7% industrial firms. A number of locations in the district have favourable conditions for the development of the tourist trade, recreation and sporting activities. The following recreational localities are well known: Malá Morávka, Karlov, Karlova Studánka and Vrbno pod Pradědem in the Jeseníky National Park.
The district has a significant wealth of forests. Wooded areas take up more than a half of the district’s land area (50.9%), which makes it one of the most wooded districts in the country. The Beskydy forests are among the most productive wood-producing areas in the Czech Republic and elsewhere. The Beskydy Euroregion, which was established in the district, is the first Euroregion ever to connect the borders of three countries – the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. Visitors to the district should not miss the ruins of Hukvaldy Castle, the Renaissance château in Stará Ves nad Ondřejnicí, or the lookout towers in Staříč and Chlebovice. Tourists can also visit the stylish herbal spa in Komorní Lhotka and drink from natural springs in, for example, Čeladná, Hrčava and Hájek u Frýdku.
The district’s economy and employment rates, its economic potential and the current structure have been strongly influenced by past historical development (hard coal mining). New investment and entrepreneurial incentives have only gradually been created through the building of industrial zones for new, large-scale business plans (“Nové pole” in Karviná, “Pod zelenou” in Český Těšín) and through support for businesses in other towns and municipalities. The district is attractive to visitors because of the Darkov Spa, the château in Karviná-Fryštát, the small châteaux in Rychvald and Petrovice, the wooden churches in Albrechtice and Petrovice, and the historical centres of the towns of Bohumín, Český Těšín, Karviná and Orlová. Visitors also come for the bicycle trail through the Cieszyn Silesia Euroregion.
Nový Jičín District
The district has relatively rich deposits of raw materials used for the production of construction materials (e.g. limestone, sand gravels, brick clay, building stones, sialitic clay, rock for cement production). The district’s strategic location in the corridor of the Moravian Gate predestines it for the building of important technical infrastructural facilities of nationwide and international import, such as the Brno-Ostrava motorway, high-speed railways and power distribution networks. The district of Nový Jičín has an unusually large number of architectural monuments and very favourable conditions for tourism. Municipal monument parks have been established in the historically most valuable parts of the towns of Nový Jičín, Štramberk and Příbor. The historical town of Příbor is the birthplace of the founder of Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.
The district of Opava is primarily an agricultural area, forming the base for the region’s agricultural production. Of the district’s agricultural land of 69,064ha, approximately 81.5% is arable land. The district’s industry has traditionally been more diverse than the industry in the region of Moravia-Silesia. There were 5,470 industrial production firms in the district at the end 2011 (17.8% of all industrial firms in the region).
Moravia-Silesia Regional Authority, www.kr-moravskoslezsky.cz
Ostrava City Authority, www.ostrava.cz
The Regional Council of the Moravia-Silesia Cohesion Region, www.rr-moravskoslezsko.cz
Ostrava Science and Technology Park, www.vtpo.cz
Chamber of Commerce of Moravian-Silesian Region, www.khkmsk.cz