The history of a unique complex of industrial buildings in Lower Vítkovice, Ostrava, serving from coal mining to the production of pig iron, began in 1828 and ended in 1998 when the last tapping.
The project of restoration and access to the closed area started in 2007 by founding the Association of the Vítkovice Lower Area – on the initiative of Jan Světlík, a Chairman and the CEO of Vítkovice.
The AP Studio of the architect Josef Pleskot shaped the architectural form of new buildings. One of the most well done conversions is a multifunctional Centre GONG, transformed from the former gasometer.
Once inaccessible industrial area has become a unique public space, accessible 24 hours a day. There are numbers of actions including the multi-genre music festival Colours of Ostrava.
An interesting conversion is a factory building, built in the U6 Small World of Technology. Non-traditional training space and interactive museum that represents progress in science and technology over the past 200 years.
Also nature has found its place in the area again. Trees and grassy areas together with the rusting industrial giants, fossils, create a truly remarkable combination.
Its contemporary architecture is also worthy of notice. It uses the classic attributes of industrial architecture: iron, concrete, bricks and glass blocks. Respect for the past and the place is a matter of course here.
In 2009, the Lower Vítkovice area, government regulation has become a national cultural monument according to government directives. Therefore, it is a part of the most prestigious group of Czech monuments.
Some of the objects are being gradually reconstructed and adapted to its new purpose, the others are preserved in its original state. Therefore, it represents a work of art, industrial sculptures.
A former water tower, which is one of the exhibits on the guided tour, is also a remarkable conversion. When illuminated at night, it looks like a flying saucer which is just about to land on a moon base.
The complex provides the most interesting atmosphere, once enclosed in darkness. Illuminated parts of the buildings come to the fore and other merge into one big black monster. In that moment it seems as if one was on another planet.
Another complex located near the city centre of Ostrava is the mine shaft “Karolina”, excavated since 1837. Gradually, it reached its record depth of 550 m and it was completed by the coking plant (1858) and the fire alarm system (1905).
The decline in the extraction and production was reached in 1986. This was followed by the demolition of most of the industrial buildings. Just two large halls were preserved, the Power generators from the early 20th century.
Fortunately, the fate of these was favourably disposed towards these beautiful industrial buildings. Instead of a demolition, its conversion for cultural, social and educational purposes according to a design by Josef Pleskot occurred.
The challenging reconstruction of Triple Hall Karolina (Trojhalí Karolina) took place between 2012 and 2014. The industrial "genius loci" was preserved, and also a new feature of the area and modern technological equipment was born.
The last stop is a former coal mine Anselm in the Ostrava Region, founded already in 1830. Since then, its has changed its name many times: Masaryk, Eduard Urx and Victorious February Mine (DůlVítěznéhoúnora).
After the end of mining in the 1990s, the mining museum was established in the whole area. The dominant is the forty metre high headframe from 1915, surrounded by buildings built during the turn of the century.
Another attraction is the "chain cloak room", divided into the clean and the dirty part, between which the bathroom is located. It was named after the chains, on which the work suits and equipment for hundreds of miners are hung.