Moravian-Silesian Region (
), or Moravo-Silesian Region, is an administrative
unit (kraj) of the Czech Republic, located in the north-eastern part of its
historical region of Moravia and in most of
the Czech part of the historical
region of Silesia.
The region borders
the Olomouc Region
(to the west) and
(to the south). It also borders two
other countries - Poland to the north
and Slovakia to the
Once a highly industrialized region, it was called the "Steel
Heart of the Country" in the communist era.
Since the fall of communism, these heavy industries, mainly steel
works, have been in decline and the region suffers from high
unemployment rates. There are, in addition, several mountainous
areas where the landscape is relatively preserved.
Nowadays, the economy of the region benefits from its location on
the borders of two other Central
countries: Poland and Slovakia.
The geography of the region varies considerably, compromising many
landforms from lowlands to high mountains whose summits lie above
the tree line.
west lie the Hrubý Jeseník mountains, with the highest mountain of the region,
and all Moravia), Praděd,risisng 1491
meters. The mountains are heavily forested, with many
spectacular places and famous spas such as Karlova Studánka and
Jeseník) and are
therefore very popular with tourists.
There are also several
ski resorts, including Červenohorské Sedlo and Ovčárna, with
long-lasting snow cover. The Hrubý Jeseník mountains slowly merge
into the rolling hills of the Nízký Jeseníks and Oderské Vrchy,
rising to 800m at Slunečná and 680m at Fidlův Kopec
east, the landscape gradually descends into the Moravian Gate (Moravská brána) valley with the Bečva and Odra rivers.
former flows to the south-west, the latter to the north-east, where
the terrain spreads into the flat Ostrava and Opava basins
(Ostravská a Opavská pánev), where most of the population lives.
The region's heavy industry, which has been in decline for the last
decade, is located there too, benefiting from huge deposits of hard
coal. The confluence of the rivers Odra and Olše is the lowest
point of the region, at 195 m.
To the south-east, towards the Slovakian border, the landscape
sharply rises into the Moravian-Silesian Beskids
(often referred to just as Beskydy), with its highest mountain Lysá
Hora (Bald Mountain) at 1323 m, which is considered to be the place
with the highest annual rainfall in the Czech Republic, a year. The
mountains are heavily forested and serve as a holiday resort for
the industrial north.
There are three large Landscape Protected Areas (Chráněné
krajinné oblasti, CHKO
) and a number of smaller nature
reserves in the region. Countryside more affected by humans, yet
still scenic is protected in five Nature Parks (Přírodní
The CHKO Jeseníky (with an area of 745 km²) lies in the
mountain range of the same name in the north east of the region.
The terrain is very diverse, with steep slopes and deep valleys.
Eighty percent of the area is forested, mostly by secondary
plantations of Norway spruce
were seriously damaged by industrial emissions. Due to local
weather conditions, the tree line in the area descends to 1200-1300
m. Alpine meadows can be found in particularly low elevations in
the Jeseník mountains. There are also a few peat
moors, which are otherwise non-existent in
Poodří (81.5 km²) lies in the Moravian Gate, in close
proximity to the region's capital Ostrava, on the
banks of the meandering Odra.
It is an area of floodplain
forests (one of the last preserved in Central Europe), flooded
meadows and a lot of shallow ponds, on which water birds
The CHKO Beskydy
(1,160 km²) is the largest Czech CHKO. It lies in the
south-east of the region, along the Slovakian boundary. In the
north, the mountains rise steeply from the Ostrava basin, to the
south their elevation and severity decreases. Most of the area is
forested, mainly by Norway spruce
plantations, which are not indigenous to the area. Many of these
were severely damaged by emissions from the Ostrava industrial
region. There are, however, also a lot of either newly planted or
preserved forests of European beech
which in the past covered most of the mountains. The CHKO is
typical by its mosaic of forests and highland meadows and pastures
with hamlets scattered throughout all the mountains. In recent
sighting have become more frequent.
There are altogether 125 small, protected nature areas covering an
area of 52 km². The most notable of them is the lime Šipka
Cave (Jeskyně Šipka) near Štramberk, where remnants of a Neanderthal man were discovered in the late
Places Of Interest
There are three towns with protected historical centers.
birthplace of Sigmund Freud, was an important
center of education for northern Moravia from the 17th century to
the first half of the 20th. Nový Jičín, founded under the castle of Starý
Jičín, has a well preserved central square dating back to
the 14th century, with the Žerotínský château nearby.
Štramberk is a unique small town nestled in a valley between
lime hills, with many timber houses and the Trúba Spire rising on a
hill above the town.
many castles and châteaus in the region; the most famous being
Moravicí,Raduň, Kravaře and Fulnek.
Hukvaldy, in a village of the same name under the Moravian-Silesian Beskids
mountains, is one the region's many castle ruins, known for a
musical festival dedicated to the composer Leoš Janáček, who was born
Another well-known castle ruin is Sovinec under the
the importance of industry in the region, there are many museums
displaying products of local technical development: The Automobile
Museum in Kopřivnice exhibits the history Tatra, the Train Car Museum in Studénka, the Mining Museum and the former Michal Mine
(Důl Michal) in Ostrava, and many
The total population of the region was 1,262,660 (men 48.83%, women
51.20%) in 2002, which makes it the most populous Region
in the Czech Republic.
86.9% are Czechs
, 3.3% Slovaks
, 3.0% Poles
, 0.3% Germans
, though this last
figure might be considerably higher as Roma often do not officially
admit their nationality. 40.2% of the population are religious,
mostly Roman-Catholic, while 52.3% declare themselves
The population density is 227.3 inhabitants per km², which is the
second highest in the country, after the capital Prague
). Most of the population is urban, 62% living in
towns with over 20,000 inhabitants.
There are 302 municipalities, of which there are 39 towns, 16 with
population over 10,000 inhabitants and 5 towns with over 60,000.
the capital of the region Ostrava (314,102 in
2002), Havířov (85,271), Karviná (61,146), Opava (60,731) and
Municipalities with Extended Competence
Since 2003-01-01 the region has been divided into 22 Municipalities
with Extended Competence which took over most of the administration
of the former District Authorities. Some of these are further
divided into Municipalities with Commissioned Local Authority. They
are unofficially named Little Districts ( ). They are:
Districts of Moravia-Silesia
Traditionally, the region has been divided into six Districts ( )
which still exist as regional units though most administration has
been shifted to the Municipalities with Extended Competence and the
Municipalities with Commissioned Local Authority.
Until 2000 the current region did not exist as such but was only a
part of a larger administrative unit called the North Moravian
Region (Severomoravský kraj
). 6 of its Districts
), Bruntál, Frýdek-Místek, Karviná, Nový Jičín,
Opava and Ostrava, were in 2000 put into the newly established
Moravian-Silesian Region. The old North Moravian Region still
exists and jurisdiction of some administrative bodies is defined by