No one will ever understand why the mammoth hunters created the statuette of a slender woman 25 thousand years ago near the confluence of the Odra and Ostravice Rivers. We do know however, that the Landek Venus (as this statuette is called) was carved from haematite, a mineral that contains iron ore. These prehistoric hunters, sitting around the fire, were the first on earth to discover that the black rock found in this area could burn.
A thousand years later, the rock (known as black coal) bolstered the development of the city and the entire region. Although mention of Ostrava in historical records dates back to the thirteenth century, it was more of a settlement at the time than a city. This all changed in 1763, with the local discovery of a coal seam. In 1828, Archbishop Rudolf Jan founded an ironworks in Vítkovice, which later came under the ownership of the Rothschild dynasty. Ostrava became an industrial capital and its wealth grew. Although the last miner came up to the surface in 1994, the city is not ashamed of its coalmining history and uses it to its advantage by revitalising old mining structures.
Today, Ostrava is an industrial metropolis, as well as a centre for education, culture and sports. It is becoming increasingly popular with visitors who come to admire its industrial past. The most popular site is Dolní oblast Vítkovice, where those interested can experience the former harsh realities of the old mine and ironworks. The city's centre is an architectural gem that was shaped, in part, by the most prominent architects of the turn of the twentieth century. The Poruba settlement, on the other hand, is an example of grandeur and luxury with which architects of the 1950s were able enrich the lives of the people.
Famous natives of this city include Vlastimil Brodský, songwriter Jaroslav Nohavica and tennis player Ivan Lendl. The city's symbol is the slender tower of the New City Hall. Before it stands a statue of Icarus, a symbol that the city has risen and fallen. People who have not been to Ostrava for several years are pleasantly surprised, agreeing that a period of burgeoning has begun.