The city of Opava, inhabited by approximately 60 thousand inhabitants, lies above the confluence of the main rivers of the Opava District, the Opava and Moravice Rivers. Opava is the biggest town of the western part of the Moravian and Silesian Region. It is a former royal capital and the capital of Silesia. In 1990 it became a Statutory City. The first mention of Opava dates back to year 1195, though, as a town it was first referred to only later, in 1224.
By the Middle Ages life in the town was already concentrated in the area of both of the main squares of the present time – Upper (Horní) and Lower (Dolní) Squares. The Lower Square is dominated by St. Vojtech’s Church, the Upper Square abounds in many historical and architectural gems, too. Take a tour through the city watchtower called Hláska, go and see the building of the Silesian Theatre, the gothic jewel that is the Virgin Mary’s Assumption Concathedrale or the area of the historical fish market (Rybí trh).
The spectacular noblemen‘s palaces, the Blücher‘s and Sobek’s , are situated in Masarykova Street. Another beauty spot of the city of Opava is the Minorite Monastery along with the Church of the Holy Spirit. There lie the relics of Opava‘s Premyslids in its crypt.
Those who love modern architecture will surely not leave the following buildings unnoticed: the Chamber of Commerce and Trade, the Breda Department Store and St. Hedwig’s Church – works of Vienna architect Leopold Bauer. The historical centre of Opava is surrounded by many town parks which invite rest and relaxation.
Opava can be proud of its plentiful famous personalities who were either born or lived there. Writer Joy Adamson, the father of genetics Johann Gregor Mendel or builder Josef Maria Olbrich rank among the best known ones. The greatest personality related to Opava, though, is regional poet Petr Bezruč. His collection of poems called the Songs of Silesia has been translated into many world languages.
Opava inhabitants like to enjoy themselves. The Silesian Theatre plays an important role not only for the town itself. It began entertaining the general public with drama and opera pieces more than 200 years ago. Every year Opava hosts town festivals, Další břehy in spring and Bezruč‘s Opava in autumn. During these cultural holidays the town brightens up with the imagination and originality of dozens of cultural events including nearly all possible kinds of arts – theatre, film, visual art, literature and music.
The city is also a regional centre of sports – both recreational and professional ones. There are regular inline skate rides called Blade nights. The skate park located in the quiet zone of the Town park is for all age categories. You can also find a multi-purpose sports hall, swimming pool and water channel for canoeists in its surroundings. There are many sports clubs and associations in Opava. The highest men‘s competition in basketball is played there, and it also has one Olympic winner.
There are a number of elementary and secondary schools in Opava. Since 1991 the young city atmosphere has been developed with the establishment of the Silesian University.