Opava (Czech pronunciation: [ˈopava] (listen); German: Troppau, Lower Silesian: Tropp, Polish: Opawa, Latin: Oppavia, Silesian: Ôpawa) is a city in the eastern Czech Republic on the river Opava, located to the north-west of Ostrava. Opava is one of the historical centres of Silesia. It was a historical capital of Czech Silesia. Opava is now in the Moravian-Silesian Region and has a population of more than 55,000.
Opava is located on the Opava Hilly Land (Czech: Opavská pahorkatina; a part of the Silesian Lowlands) on the Opava River (left tributary of the Oder River) and Moravice River (right tributary of the Opava River).
Opava was first documented in 1195. The first mention of Magdeburg city rights came from 1224. It was capital of the Silesian, Bohemian and finally Austrian Duchy of Opava.
In 1614 Karl I of Liechtenstein became Duke of Opava. After the majority of Silesia was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia during the War of the Austrian Succession after 1740, the remaining Silesian territory still under the control of the Habsburg Monarchy became known as Austrian Silesia, with its capital in Troppau (1742–1918). The Congress of Troppau took place there in the period 27 October – 17 December 1820.
According to the Austrian census of 1910, the town had 30,762 inhabitants, 29,587 of whom had permanent residence there. The census asked people for their native language, which showed that 27,240 (92%) were German-speaking, 2,039 (6.9%) were Czech-speaking and 274 (0.9%) were Polish-speaking. Jews were not allowed to declare Yiddish, and most of them thus declared German as their native language. The main religious group was Roman Catholics with 28,379 (92.2%), followed by Protestants with 1,155 (3.7%) and Jews with 1,112 (3.6%).After the defeat of Austria-Hungary in World War I, Troppau became part of Czechoslovakia in 1919 as Opava.
From 1938–45 Opava was part of Nazi Germany according to the Munich agreement. Already a day before Germany's annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938, the town seceded from its okres and became its own Stadtkreis. After the end of World War II, the entire German population of Opava was forcibly expelled in 1945–46 under terms included in the Beneš decrees; the city was resettled with Czechs. Many of the expelled population settled in Bamberg, Germany.
While the Duchy of Opava has ceased to exist, the title of Duke of Troppau continues, with Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein being the current incumbent.
Economy and culture
Opava is currently an important business and cultural center of Opavian Silesia. It is the location of several economic and cultural institutions serving the entire region, including the Silesian Museum which is the oldest Museum in the Czech Republic, and the Silesian Institute of the Academy of Science. Opava is home to the only public university in the country not situated in a regional capital, the Silesian University (Opava). The city is part of a congested industrial area along with Ostrava and produces mining equipment. Opava also awards its own Cultural Prize.
The Silesian Theatre in Opava was founded in 1805. Plays were performed in German until the end of the Second World War.
The white tower, today known as Hláska, adorns the Neo-Renaissance Opava Town Hall on Horní Náměstí Square.