Open to People and New Visions
Industrial architecture, education, culture, connection of communities in the heart of Europe: that
is the Lower Area of Vítkovice. How has it been affected during the COVID-19 lock down? What is
being prepared for visitors in the months to come? Petr Koudela, CEO of Dolní Vítkovice (Lower Area
of Vítkovice) talked to us about these issues.
The Lower Area of Vítkovice is an area unique in
Europe and, indeed, the world. It is one of the most
visited tourist attractions in the Czech Republic.
What are your daily routines now, and what novel
offerings are you preparing?
Years ago, when we were rescuing individual buildings
in the area to open them up to the public, we had no
idea that within a few years we would be preparing
another re-opening. During the unexpected lockdown,
the Lower Area of Vítkovice got involved in providing
free playgroups for the children of first-responders and
we live-streamed instructions in chemistry and various
experiments from the Science and Technology Centre
to support home schooling. We introduced concerts
by regional bands and artists. All of these went online
via social networks or Youtube.
Currently, we are opening our venues one-by-one,
hoping our visitors will come back again in the
numbers we are used to. Nowadays, the highly
attractive café in the Bolt Tower is open daily, as are
the historic guided tours of the blasting furnaces and
Children’s World, a bonus feature of the Bolt Tower
lookout, and there is a special module for visiting
the Science and Technology Centre. We started
a unique form of drive-in cinema (with Czech and
foreign movies) which became very popular. At the
same time, we got engaged in the project “Bo kultura
jede” (Because Culture Rocks), which supports artists
in these difficult times and promotes cultural events
We are providing a festival area at Bolt Tower, and
a year-long sheltered festival room under a retractable
roof for our own events as well as other promoters’
events and festivals. I am sincerely looking forward
to events at this new scene, called Víkendov
(Weekendland), which will house adrenalin attractions
and a family amusement park. We are providing
guided tours of our expositions, such as the boat,
Niké, and the story of Richard Konkolski. We offer
unique oxygen therapy through the project “Pressure
against Viruses”. Anybody can visit Landek and the
Lower Area of Vítkovice; we have a good spectrum of
programmes to choose from.
You have been active in the media your entire
professional life. You are a member of the editorial
team of our magazine, too. What do you think the
image of our region in the Czech Republic is, and
how is it shaped by modern media?
Thanks to original projects, events, and drive, it sure
is very positive. Even though there is some occasional
negativity in some local issues, we generally succeed
in positively promoting our region, and not only in
78 ǀ POSITIV 2/2020
regional media outlets. Speaking of our projects,
I am convinced that the success of the Lower Area
of Vítkovice is largely based on our good cooperation
with the media. I am very grateful for that.
The Lower Area of Vítkovice contains numerous
National Heritage sites. How do you manage to
coordinate them with new architectural projects?
This is a special discipline, and opinions on that
differ. We negotiate with relevant institutions, and
our results, awards and keen visitor interest have
proven our efforts right. From the very beginning,
our key visionaries have been Jan Světlík, the
author of the project, and the architect, Josef
Pleskot. My brother, who has lived in Britain
for many years, was asked once by his friends,
knowing he’s Czech, what he would recommend
seeing in the Lower Area of Vítkovice, as they
were getting ready for their trip to Ostrava. They
had heard about an interesting site with stunning
architectural features; and, of course, they had not
known that he is related to that area.
You have many business partners. What attracts
them to cooperate with the Lower Area of Vítkovice?
We want to be a good partner for them in our
activities. We offer them participation in education,
the preparation of teaching modules, as well as
space to hold attractive and original company events,
meetings, or interesting presentations. They may use
some employee benefits in the form of tickets to our
facilities or cultural events taking place in the Lower
Area of Vítkovice. We have a wide range of regional
and national partners who support our development
and sustainability. We are proud to promote them
(a full list is available on our web), and we award their
assistance by offering them our services and facilities.
This contributes to the efficient operation of the Lower
Area of Vítkovice.
Which other destination in our region would you
recommend to a tourist? Will you tell us about
a place where you like going to relax?
I am a patriot when it comes to Ostrava and the Lower
Area of Vítkovice so I must mention Landek Park.
Prehistoric finds, mining history, landscapes, bikeways,
sportsgrounds, walks by the Oder River, and fine
cuisine make Landek a very fine place.
Outside Ostrava, I love Karlova Studánka and I also
like driving to my favourite resort in Kopřivná near
Thank you for the interview.