Moravia: Map


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Historical flag of Moravia

Moravia ( ; ; ; ) is a historical region in central Europe in the east of the Czech Republicmarker, one of the former Czech lands. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region.


Moravia-Silesia within Czechoslovakia between 1928–1938.
Moravia occupies most of the eastern third of the Czech Republic including the South Moravian Regionmarker and the Zlín Region, as well as parts of the Moravian-Silesian, Olomouc, Pardubice, Vysočinamarker and South Bohemianmarker regions.

In the north, Moravia borders Polandmarker and Czech Silesia; in the east, Slovakiamarker; in the south, Lower Austriamarker; and in the west, Bohemia. Its northern boundary is formed by the Sudetes mountains which become the Carpathiansmarker in the east. The meandering Dyjemarker flows through the border country with Austriamarker and there is a protected area on both sides of the border in the area around Hardeggmarker.

At the heart of the country lie the sedimentary basins of the Morava and the Dyje at a height of 180 to 250 m. In the west, the Bohemian-Moravian Heights rise to over 800 m although the highest mountain is in the north-west, the Pradědmarker in the Sudetes at 1490 m. Further south lie the Jeseníky highlands (400 to 600 m) which fall to 310 m at the upper reaches of the River Oder (the Moravian Gatemarker) near Hranicemarker and then rise again as the Beskidsmarker to the 1322 m high Lysá horamarker. These three mountain ranges plus the "gate" between the latter two form part of the European Watershedmarker. Moravia's eastern boundary is formed by the White Carpathiansmarker and Javorníkymarker.

Between 1782–1850, Moravia (also thus known as Moravia-Silesia) also included a small portion of the former province of Silesia – the so-called Austrian Silesiamarker (when Frederick the Great annexed most of ancient Silesia (the land of upper and middle Oder river) to Prussia, Silesia's southernmost part remained with the Habsburgs).


In the south around Hodonínmarker and Břeclavmarker the land is part of the Viennese Basin and petroleum and lignite are drilled for in its deeper sediments. In the area around Ostrava there was intensive coal mining until around 1995. Iron, chemicals, leather and building materials are the main industrial goods. The main economic centres are Brnomarker, Olomoucmarker, Zlínmarker and Ostravamarker. As well as other agriculture, Moravia is noted for its viticulture; it contains 94% of the Czech Republic's vineyards and is at the centre of the country's wine industry.


[[Image:Great moravia svatopluk.png|thumb|Map of Great Moravia at its possible greatest territorial extent during the reign of Svatopluk I (871-894), superimposed on the modern borders of European states.Note that some of the borders of Great Moravia are under debate.]]
Coat of Arms of Moravia

Ancient Moravia

Around 60 BC the Celtic Boii people withdrew from the region and were succeeded in turn by the Germanic Quadi and in the sixth century the Slavic tribes. At the end of the eighth century the Moravian Principality came into being in present-day south-eastern Moravia, Záhoriemarker in south-western Slovakia and parts of Lower Austria. In 833 A.D. this became the state of Great Moravia with the conquest of the Principality of Nitra (present-day Slovakia; from 10th century into 1918 part of the Kingdom of Hungary). Their first king was Mojmír I (ruled 830-846). Louis the German invaded Moravia and replaced Mojmír I with his nephew Rastiz who became St. Rastislav. St. Rastislav (846-870) tried to emancipate his land from the Carolingian influence, so he sent envoys to Rome to get missionaries to come. When Rome refused he turned to Constantinople to the Byzantine emperor Michal. The result was the mission of SS Cyril and Methodius who translated liturgical books into Slavonic, which had lately been elevated by the Pope to the same level as Latin and Greek. Methodius became the first Moravian archbishop, but after his death the German influence again prevailed and the disciples of Methodius were forced to flee. So the unique situation which anticipated the II. Vatican Council by several centuries was destroyed. Great Moravia reached its greatest territorial extent in the 890s under Svatopluk I. At this time, the empire encompassed the territory of the present-day Czech Republicmarker and Slovakiamarker, the western part of present Hungarymarker (Pannonia), as well as Lusatia in present-day Germanymarker and Silesia and the upper Vistula basin in southern Polandmarker. After Svatopluk's death in 895, the Bohemian princes defected to become vassals of the East Frankish ruler Arnulf of Carinthia, and the Moravian state ceased to exist after being overrun by invading Magyars in 906/7.

Union with Bohemia

Following the defeat of the Magyars by Emperor Otto I at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955, Otto's ally Boleslaus I, the Přemyslid ruler of Bohemia, received Moravia. Boleslaus I of Poland annexed Moravia in 999, and ruled it until 1019, when the Přemyslid prince Bretislaus recaptured it. Upon his father's death in 1035, Bretislaus also became the ruler of Bohemia. In 1054, Bretislaus decreed that the Bohemian and Moravians lands would be inherited together by primogeniture, although he also provided that his younger sons should govern parts of Moravia as vassals to his oldest son.

Throughout the Přemyslid era, junior princes often ruled all or part of Moravia from Olomoucmarker, Brnomarker, or Znojmomarker, with varying degrees of autonomy from the ruler of Bohemia. Moravia reached its height of autonomy in 1182, when Emperor Frederick I elevated Moravia to the status of a margraviate (or mark), immediately subject to the emperor, independent of Bohemia. This status was short-lived: in 1197, Vladislaus III of Bohemia resolved the succession dispute between him and his brother Ottokar by abdicating from the Bohemian throne and accepting the margraviate of Moravia as a vassal of Bohemia.

Since then, Moravia has shared its history with Bohemia. The Přemyslid dynasty became extinct in 1306, and in 1310 John of Luxembourg became king of Bohemia. Moravia and Bohemia remained within the Luxembourg dynasty of Holy Roman kings and emperors (except during the Hussite wars), until inherited by Albert II of Habsburg in 1437.

After his death followed the interregnum till 1453; land (as the rest of lands of the Bohemian Crown) was administered by the landfriedens (landfrýdy). The rule of young Ladislaus the Posthumous subsisted only less than five years and subsequently (1458) the Hussite George of Poděbrady was elected as the king. He again reunited all Czech lands (then Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Upper & Lower Lusatia) into one-man ruled state. In 1466, Pope Paul II excommunicated George and forbade all Catholics (i.e. circa 15 % of population) from continuing to serve him. The Hungarian crusade followed and in 1469 Matthias Corvinus conquered Moravia and proclaimed himself (with assistance of rebelling Czech nobility) as the king of Bohemia.

The subsequent 21-year period of a divided kingdom was decisive for the rising awareness of a specific Moravian identity, distinct from that of Bohemia. Although Moravia was reunited with Bohemia in 1490 when Vladislaus Jagiellon, king of Bohemia, also became king of Hungary, some attachment to Moravian freedom and resistance to government by Prague continued until the end of independence in 1620. In 1526, Vladislaus' son Louis died in battle and the Habsburg Ferdinand I was elected as his successor.

Under the Habsburgs

The epoch 1526–1620 was marked by increasing animosity between Catholic Habsburg kings (emperors) and rather Protestant Moravian (and other Crowns') estates. Moravia, like Bohemia, remained as a Habsburg possession until the end of World War I. Until 1641 Moravia's capital was the centrally-located Olomoucmarker, but after its capture by the Swedes it moved to the larger city of Brnomarker which resisted the invaders successfully. The Margraviate of Moravia had its own parliament – zemský sněm (Landtag in German), whose deputies were elected (from 1905 onward) in ethnically separate German and Czech constituencies.

Twentieth century

Following the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, Moravia became part of Czechoslovakiamarker (and was part of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in World War II). In 1945 the ethnic German minority of Moravia were expelled. (See Expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II). With the break up of Czechoslovakia, Moravia became a part of the Czech Republic in 1993.


Regional capitals



Male and female Moravian Slovak costumes worn during the Jízda králů Festival held annually in the village of Vlčnov (southeastern Moravia)
The Moravians are a Slavic ethnic group who speak various dialects of Czech. Some Moravians regard themselves as an ethnically distinct group; others consider themselves to be ethnically Czech. In the census of 1991, 1,362,000 (13.2%) of the Czech population described themselves as being of Moravian nationality. In the census of 2001, this number had decreased to 380,000 (3.7% of the population).

Moravia historically had a minority of ethnic Germans, although they were largely expelled after World War II.

Notable people from Moravia include:


  • Róna-Tas, András (1999) Hungarians & Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History translated by Nicholas Bodoczky, Central European University Press, Budapest, ISBN 963-9116-48-3 ;
  • Kirschbaum, Stanislav J. (1996) A History of Slovakia: The Struggle for Survival St. Martin's Press, New York, ISBN 0-312-16125-5 ;
:Much of the content of this article comes from the equivalent German-language Wikipedia article as of August 29, 2005.
  • Constantine Porphyrogenitus De Administrando Imperio edited by Gy. Moravcsik, translated by R.J.H. Jenkins, Dumbarton Oaks Edition, Washington D.C. (1993) p. 181

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