Ostrava’s Unseen Story begins to unfold

Ostrava’s Unseen Story begins to unfold

Two Venuses of Petřkovice, the last will of Bishop Bruno with the first mention of Ostrava, a giant mammoth tusk found in the Oder River… The unique exhibition Ostrava’s Unseen Story was prepared by the Ostrava City Museum to celebrate 750 years since the first written document mentioning the city. The exhibition is held under the auspices of Mayor of Ostrava Tomáš Macura. It is open to the public from 24 March to 2 July. Ostrava’s Unseen Story consists of six parts that not only trace the long history of settlements on the site of today’s city but also focus on features typical for Ostrava. In each section, there are a number of items that will be publicly displayed for the very first time.

“We can be justly proud of Ostrava’s rich and successful history. The exhibition will offer a fascinating insight into Ostrava’s “way to greatness”, as its subtitle states, and will also present the latest archaeological discoveries and attractions that were till now hidden in depositories. I believe that the exhibition will expand our knowledge about the history of our city and at the same time contribute to the celebrations of the anniversary of the first written mention of Ostrava,” said Mayor Tomáš Macura.

Not many cities can boast a history reaching back to the stone age – but Ostrava is one of them. This period is represented by a section dedicated to the earliest history of Ostrava; it will show, among others, ancient finds from Landek Hill (the 25 thousand years old Venus of Petřkovice) or an in the Oder River recently found mammoth tusk. The tusk will be publicly displayed for the first time. Another phenomenon is 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.

“We will display a number of original items in Ostrava. At the beginning of the exhibition it will be the testament of Bishop Bruno. In June, it will be followed by the original Venus of Petřkovice, which will even be accompanied by its not-so-pretty sister called the Second Venus of Petřkovice. And that’s not all. Visitors can really look forward to seeing many attractions,“ said the director of the Ostrava City Museum Jiřina Kábrtová.

The medieval Ostrava will be presented mainly by important historical documents related to the city and the city seal with the picture of the horse.  Originals will always be displayed for a limited period of time and their facsimiles during the rest of the exhibition. A true gem of the exhibition is the original testament of Bishop Bruno, dating from 1267, which is considered Ostrava’s municipal charter. The name Ostrava is to be found in the third line above the middle fold of the testament.

The latest archaeological finds give evidence of craft activity; there will also be on display items from the nearest castles and a sterling silver treasure discovered in the centre of Ostrava.

The section 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, the ironworks in Vítkovice, mines, railway station and the Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway.

Rivers Ostravice and Oder also deserve special attention. The section 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 Oder and its tributaries Opava and Ostravice.

In the section Poetic Ostrava, visitors encounter works of artists solely from Ostrava and its region. 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.

Old photographs from the collections of the Ostrava City Museum form part of the section Ostrava and People and show Ostrava as a city where people are born, educated, work and have fun, but also die.