The exhibition Ostrava’s Unseen Story – Its Way to Greatness, which has been on display in the Ostrava City Museum since March, presents not only the rich history of the city but also items that could not be seen by the public before. The exhibition is part of the celebrations of the 750th anniversary of the first written mention of Ostrava.
If you still haven’t seen this exceptional exhibition, prepared by the Ostrava City Museum in cooperation with the Archives of the City of Ostrava, don’t worry, you have the opportunity to visit it until 2 July. Originals of the valuable documents important to Ostrava have already been brought back to the Archives, but their facsimiles are still displayed. You, however, have the chance to see one more rare original – the statue of the Venus of Petřkovice, which will be exhibited here from 7 to 11 June.
A short reminder of what the exhibition offers
Oldest Ostrava will take us to the time of mammoth hunters. It shows old finds from Landek Hill (the most famous one is the Venus of Petřkovice) as well as those newly discovered. Prominent among them is a massive mammoth tusk, recently elevated from the Odra River and restored. This section also reminds us of the Amber Trail, an ancient trade route linking north and south of Europe; its passing through the Ostrava region is evidenced by ancient coins that were found here.
Medieval Ostrava focuses on the period of the great boom in Ostrava from the Middle Ages to the beginning of industrialization. It displays the oldest preserved written sources related to the city, such as the Dražice Manuscript, the testament of Bishop Bruno with the first written mention of Ostrava or the privilege from Charles IV granting Ostrava market right (now all as facsimilia). Among the exhibits are also to be found the latest archaeological finds, which give evidence of craft activity, items from the nearest castles and a sterling silver treasure discovered in the centre of Ostrava.
Vibrant Ostrava captures the transformation of Moravian Ostrava from a small town of crafts and agriculture into one of the largest and most important industrial centres of the Habsburg monarchy. The central exhibit is a lithograph by Ernst Wilhelm Knippel from the early 1850s depicting Moravian Ostrava and its surroundings as seen from Landek. It displays, among others, industrial buildings – the ironworks in Vítkovice and mines, and important transport constructions – a railway station and the Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway.
Very interesting section of the exhibition called Ostrava at the Confluence presents a unique floodplain landscape, which in the past was interwoven with a tangle of river meanders and oxbow lakes of the Odra and its tributaries Opava and Ostravice. The rivers constituted land borders. The floodplain could be crossed on the fords (Ostrava) or by means of ferries (Přívoz). On the basis of the historical maps of the Ostravice River, the phenomenon of the flow with specific animals and plants, now critically endangered, is reminded.
Ostrava poetic is made up of several interrelated ensembles. It presents works of artists solely from Ostrava and its region, including a representative group of Ostrava’s German authors. These drawings and prints, which were selected from the collection of fine art of the Ostrava City Museum, have never been displayed and are unknown to the public.
Ostrava and People shows Ostrava of the past. Old photographs from the collections of the Ostrava City Museum depict Ostrava as a city where people are born, educated, work and have fun, but also die; a city with a long and rich history that is interesting to learn about. It is bound to pleasantly surprise us in many ways.