Welcome to the Czech Republic! I’m here for 10 days exploring the less frequented towns of the North East while I attend TBEX. Please don’t call this country Czechoslovakia – Czech Republic has been separate from Slovakia for over 20 years (since 1993)! Today, I’m reporting back on the small historical town of Opava.
Everyone knows about Prague, the stunning Czech capital city, proud of the beautiful Wenceslas Square. Many have heard of Brno and some tourists have explored the beautiful cities of Kutna Hora and Český Krumlov.
However, few explore the delights of the small North Eastern town of Opava. Tucked away near the Polish border, this historical centre of Silesia is a relatively undiscovered nugget. I’m vouching that this little town is soon to become part of the tourist trail due to its well preserved historical architecture. Also, a cheap beer or two will certainly be easy to find!
Welcome to Opava – The Historical Centre of Silesia
Opava’s history dates right back to 1195 when the town was first documented. The town is closely linked to the house of Lichtenstein, because in 1614 Karl I of Liechtenstein became the Duke of Opava. Even to this day, Dukes of Lichtenstein visit annually and donate to the development of the city.
Opava Main Square (Lower Square)
On the Southern side of the lower square, most buildings are new as they were destroyed. However, the rest are extremely well preserved and Opava boasts stunning old town architecture.
You will stand in front of the Church of the St. Vojtech (St. Adalbert) Church. Above the middle window of the Church the emblem of the House of Lichtenstein is displayed. Either side of the middle window you will see saint Ignac on the left and Saint Xaversky on the right – martyrs from Jesuit order. The Baroque style Church was damaged in WW2 but has been well restored.
You are allowed to look and photograph the inside of the Church. However, when we were there, it was protected by steel bars.
The Maria column resides in centre of main square in front of the Church.
You will see a strange and interesting sculpture of some kind of animal in front of the colourful old town buildings. They say that in this sculpture, you can see whatever you want. Most people apparently see an ant-eater. I saw a crocodile!
Opava Upper square
The red brick Co-Cathedral – the ascension of Virgin Mary is the only one of its kind in Czech Republic. In 1996, the founding Bishop said it was not possible to have episcopal Church in Opava, so it became the Co-cathedral. At 102 metres high, it is the tallest tower in Silesia.
In the middle of the Opava Upper square is a Sun water feature. Why? Opava has its own solar system of course!
Make sure that you take the steep stairs up to the top of the 60 metre high clock tower. This will give you some of the best views of Opava.
Outside the clock tower, we learnt the origin of name of Opava city. There used to be a trade road through the town. On that road, 2 men argued over a bird – a peacock! Opava became the name, because it comes from the Czech phrase ‘to argue over a bird!’.
Don’t miss Church Wenceslav – one of the oldest monuments in Opava. Dating back to 12th Century, it was a part of the Dominican monastery from 1291. The church was originally Gothic, but was later rebuilt in Baroque style and served the military as a storage for many years.
The Church was deconsecrated and no longer has a worshipping congregation, but now it’s used for weddings and performances. The ceiling murals are well preserved in the majority. In 1689, the Church was one of the few buildings that wasn’t touched in the great fire of Opava.
Church of the Holy Spirit
If you have time, stop at the Gothic-style Church of the Holy Spirit. Archaeologists are still teaming up to discover what is hidden in the Crypt beneath. Beethoven attended a concern of his Mass in C Major at this Church, and was so disappointed with how the conductor was presenting his work that he jumped up and took over!
Where to Eat in Opava
My favourite restaurant due to the extensive ‘Czech Degustation Menu’ is Restaurant u Premka attached to the Chapel of Wenceslav.
Restaurant u Premka
746 01 Opava
Where to Stay in Opava
I highly recommend Hotel Kramer due to the comfortable, clean rooms and extremely central location in the heart of the old town.
Day trips from Opava
Take a trip out to Hradec nad Moravici Chateau, the beautiful castle complex South of Opava town. It’s en route to Ostrava.
Silver Lake on the outskirts of the town is also a fantastic spot to lounge around on the artificial beach, or go for free lake swimming.
They also had a number of activities to take part in such as Paddle Boarding and frisbee golf (Disc Golf). Oh, and you can get a small beer here for just 18 Koruna (Just over 50p)!