The Lower Vítkovice Area
Adjacent to Nova Karolina is the Lower Vítkovice area (so-called “Dolni oblast Vitkovice”). This 150-hectare site – listed as a National Cultural Monument – is a former industrial complex which ceased production in the late 1990s. It includes a historic ironworks (blast furnace, coking plant) and a coal mine. The complex was developed to integrate it with other development areas or tourist attractions (Karolina, Landek Park), while also respecting the necessity to preserve the heritage values at this historic site.
A number of structures were revitalized and converted for new uses. A multifunctional centre known as the ‘Gong’ (containing a congress hall for 1500 people, music rooms and an art gallery) was created by converting a 100 year-old gas-holder. The nearby power station was converted into an interactive Science and Technology Centre (opened in 2014; the STC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which forms the basis for inter-institutional cooperation.
Lower Vítkovice is also currently the location of a large-scale project involving the City of Ostrava, local universities and other partners; the project will create a complex with research centres, cultural institutions and leisure facilities. Lower Vítkovice is the venue for one of Europe’s most renowned annual music festivals, Colours of Ostrava. The total cost of the revitalization work at Lower Vítkovice is around 38,5 million EUR. Thanks to this ambitious and sustainable redevelopment programme, this former industrial site has been transformed into a symbol of Ostrava’s regeneration. It is now the second most visited cultural monument in the Czech Republic (with an unmistakable silhouette that forms the centrepiece of Ostrava’s distinctive skyline) and the fourth most visited tourist destination in the country (with around 1.3 million visitors per year).