German Journal Industriekultur 3.23: Moravian-Silesian Technical Trail TECHNOTRASA

In the 19th century, the Moravian-Silesian region in the north-east of the Czech Republic was one of the most significant industrial regions in Central Europe, fuelled by coal and steel. The current issue of the Journal Industriekultur features 'TECHNOTRASA - surová krása' ('Technical Trail - Rough Beauty'), which is also an ERIH Regional Route. The virtual tour includes all associated ERIH Anchor Points and member sites.

First and foremost is the "Iron Heart of the Republic": the vast industrial complex and ERIH Anchor Point Dolní Vítkovice in Ostrava, the third largest city in the country, which in turn constitutes the centre of this Czech industrial zone in the tri-border region between Poland and Slovakia. When the blast furnaces ceased to operate in 1998, the entire site made up of colliery, steelworks and rolling mill was declared a National Cultural Monument. The conversion into a multifunctional cultural and educational hub is a dynamic process that is still ongoing.

As early as 1836 - a first in the Habsburg Empire, to which the region belonged at the time - the blast furnaces of Dolni Vitkovice were fed with coke. The nearby Michal mine in Ostrava-Michálkovice, another ERIH Anchor Point, can also boast a pioneering achievement: Following its extensive expansion and conversion in 1912-15, it was the first fully electrified mine in the Ostrava mining district. This was thanks to a brand new engine room, equipped with two Siemens-Schuckert electrical converters, among other things.

The location of the ERIH site Mining Museum in Landek Park combines the nature of the protected former Landek industrial area with collections from the beginning of the 20th century, which are displayed in historic pitheads, technical workshops and pithead baths. Part of the visitor experience is a ride on the mine train. At the ERIH site Tatra Truck Museum, everything revolves around lorries and chassis from one of the longest-standing car manufacturers in the world.

Two further ERIH sites demonstrate that there were other industrial and commercial sectors apart from coal and steel. The Flaschar slate mine is one of the few remaining examples of the regional slate industry that flourished around 1900. Its importance is reflected in the fact that there are seven other disused slate mines in the immediate vicinity. The Nový Jičín Visitor Centre – Town of Hats Visitor Centre represents a completely different industrial tradition. The interactive exhibition reveals a lot about the once highly profitable art of hat-making, which at times even earned the place the reputation of a "town of millionaires".

Where there is a lot of hard work, there is beer. The ERIH site Radegast brewery in Nošovice, just 16 kilometres south-east of Ostrava, benefited in its founding year of 1970 from a strong increase in population due to newly settled miners. The early role of hydropower for the region is demonstrated by the Bartošovice Mill – Mill in Motion. Visitors can experience the ERIH site's transmission with its belts and wooden pulleys in full operation to this day.

Article 'Kohle und Stahl markieren den Aufbruch. Technotrasa - die Mährisch-Schlesische Technikroute' (de)
ERIH Regional Route 'Technotrasa'