Travelling to Abandoned Ostrava, Czechia

We spent 3 uneventful days in the city of Ostrava in the Czech Republic. Ostrava is definitely not on any tourists’ list of places to visit, and neither should it be since it is effectively a ghost town. However, we had already extended our trip in Prague to 10 days and did not want to extend it even further and while we knew Ostrava wouldn’t be the greatest it was close to Krakow, on the way to Prague and had cheap hotels. I was really surprised to find out this city was a virtual ghost town. There were abandoned buildings wherever you looked in the downtown core, out of the buildings that remained open it seemed that every second one was a casino, every third one a bar and every seventh one a strip club. It was very difficult to find a convenience store, and most stores seemed to shut down by 6 p.m. I immediately began to wonder how this city turned into a ghost town. I did a search on Google and found out that the city used to be relative wealthy due to a robust coal mining industry. This industry began to die out in Ostrava by the early 2000’s, which led to mass unemployment and forced people and businesses to leave the city. It is not illogical to conclude that this resulted in a reduced tax base, which led to a further deterioration of the living conditions in the city. This is evidenced by the smell of sewage on the streets, which could be caused by an ineffective sewage system. It is also evidenced by inflation. Prices in grocery stores and restaurants in Ostrava are way higher than in Prague and Brno but logically should have been cheaper since this city is not a major one, there are no major industries and tourism is very, very low. We did manage to do some touristy things. We visited the pub street a few times because there were several restaurants that we wanted to try located there. We also visited the two main churches and city hall; however, one of the churches was permanently closed down and the city hall had clearly seen better days. The restaurants although very expensive (two burgers and two beers will cost you $50), weren’t bad. At Bernie’s the service was absolutely outstanding and the food was pretty good. Comedor Mexican restaurant also had good service (not including one aggressive waiter who tried to force us to try some Czech goulash, which we did not come to a Mexican restaurant to try) and they were clearly trying to do something different with the food, which was appreciated, but it just wasn’t very good. Would I come back to Ostrava? No way. While, the city is trying to recreate itself into a tourist town the likes of Brno by having some of its buildings designated UNESCO world heritage sites, it is unlikely they will be able to do so in the near future. It was cool to see a different side to Czech Republic, but it wasn’t necessary to.



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