Nicknamed ‘Black Ostrava’ and the ‘Steel City of the Republic’ thanks to the city's heavy industry past, Ostrava is now shedding its old image whilst promoting its industrial heritage as part of an emerging tourism industry. Former coal mines offer insights into life underground and Ema Heap, a former slag heap, now provides a pleasant environment to stroll around, with exotic plants and trees thriving thanks to the heat from a permanent fire burning deep underground. Located in the northeast of the Czech Republic, Ostrava consists of some 23 municipal districts which were originally towns and villages in their own right before being subsumed into the city of Ostrava. The proximity of the Slovak and Polish borders gives the city a mix of nationalities, but for expats living in Ostrava, the ability to speak and understand Czech will help enormously, as English is not widely spoken or displayed on signage within Ostrava. Ostrava is a cultural city, despite its former image. The ‘Colours of Ostrava’ music festival takes place annually, attracting international artists, and there is a world-class orchestra based in the city. Four theaters, including the Antonin Dvorak Theater, hold many productions every year, whilst the medieval Silesian Ostrava Castle forms the cultural and historical hub of the city. The Ostrava Museum, the Mining Museum, and the Michel Mine are worth visiting to sample the rigors of life underground. The city ethic of ‘work hard, play hard’ is best epitomized in the Studolnĭ Ulice, an area of streets in the city center containing hundreds of bars and nightclubs which is reputed to never sleep! Visiting the area in the company of fellow expatriates in Ostrava is possible through InterNations, the online community of expats. As a registered member, you can use our platform to find and get in touch with like-minded expats living in Ostrava, in the Czech Republic, and across the world.
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The Leon Janáček International Airport is close to Ostrava, with a train connection into the city. An alternative is the Katowice Airport, some 120kms (74 miles) away. Ostrava has two railway stations, with direct connections to major European cities, including Vienna, Budapest and Moscow. Local buses and trams operate 24 hours a day throughout the city, and are very cheap. As an expatriate moving to Ostrava, you can expect to experience language problems as well as having cultural differences to overcome. Relocation to a new country is a stressful process, even for the seasoned expat, with shipping, storage and travel arrangements to make and deadlines to meet. Specific problems may arise which only those with experience of relocating to the Czech Republic can help with, and by networking on the InterNations website you should be able to find answers from the trusted members, as well as helpful hints and tips on moving to Ostrava. For more general queries, the InterNations’ Expat Magazine should be consulted. Written by expats as well as our own in-house staff, its articles offer a wealth of information on relocation and life as an expatriate.
Ostrava remains a steel producing city, and has a successful engineering industry, but service industries, including Information Technology and technological development centers, are emerging as major employers in the city. Ostrava has two public universities, attracting international students and teaching staff, but for expatriates working in Ostrava there will be difficulties unless the Czech language is understood. International companies do work through the medium of English, but this is not the situation elsewhere in Ostrava. The InterNations community welcomes any new expat members. As an expatriate working in Ostrava and the Czech Republic, you can use our platform network, socialize and even to organize a social calendar of events and trips with like-minded friends in the area, from enjoying the busy night-life in the city to walking and cycling along the many trails in and around Ostrava.