What is Moravia?
Alongside Bohemia, Moravia is one of the two main historic lands of the Czech Republic. (A small part of Silesia also falls within the Czech borders, but is mostly now in Southern Poland).
Moravia is arguably the best preserved and most historic part of the country and the climate nourishes some of Central Europe's best agricultural land and a rich local cuisine. Sunny South Moravia has 97% of the country's vineyards and is one of Central Europe's most up-and-coming wine regions.
The highland divide between Moravia and Bohemia is a watershed; rainwater that falls in Bohemia ends up in the Vltava or Labe rivers and flows via the German Elbe to the North Sea, while Moravian streams and watercourses flow into the Morava River and join the Danube for their southeasterly journey to the Black Sea.
In the Middle Ages when rivers were used effectively as highways, this geography meant that Bohemia's history and culture were influenced from the north and west while Moravia was more open to cultural and culinary influences from Slovakia, Hungary and the Balkans.
The differences are plain to see in any performance of traditional Bohemian or Moravian folk music, and even today the best Czech musicians (Jaromir Nohavica, Iva Bittova, Cechomor, Hradistan and Karel Plihal to name a few) belong to the lively and upbeat Moravian tradition. As do most of the good creative writers (including Milan Kundera, Bohumil Hrabal and Michal Viewegh).
Other prominent cultural figures from Moravia include the Liberator President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, historian Frantisek Palacky, educator Comenius, artist Alfons Mucha, shoemaker Tomas Bata and the Moravian Germans Oscar Schindler, Sigmund Freud, Gregor Mendel and Gustav Mahler. Many have memorial museums, birthplaces or even former factories that can be visited as a daytrip from Olomouc.
In the hostel we keep a binder of daytrip guides to our fifteen or twenty favourite places out in the countryside. The guides were written especially by us for you, but we'll be happy to answer any extra queries you have about any of those places or more off-the-beaten-path and special interest destinations.
See also: Top 10 daytrips from Olomouc
"To generalize, the Moravians are seen as friendlier and more community-oriented than the more indivualistic Bohemians. This shows in voting pattterns. In Moravia, left-leaning parties tend to do better than the pro-business candidates who dominate the electorates in Prague and Pilsen. Traditions are also more prized in Moravia: Diverse regional dialects and folk customs have flourished here but have long since disappeared in Bohemia."
"The soils and climates in which the hops and wine grapes grow are very different and so are the regions' mentalities...the political viewpoint of the Prague power broker is at odds with the spirituality of the Moravian bard."
"Away from the tourist commotion of Prague and Bohemia, Moravia provides a quietly authentic experience. Olomouc and Telč are two of the country's prettiest towns, and bustling Brno delivers Czech urban ambience, but without the tourists. Active travellers can explore the stunning landscapes of Moravian Karst region, and everyone can celebrate with a good vintage from the Moravian wine country."
"So strong and confident is the region's ability and desire to keep its culture alive that metamorphosis into a seperate buffer state between Bohemia and Slovakia would be a powerful way to reinforce a potent sense of identity."
"Since 1989, Moravian wine has been improving with every vintage and as a drawcard for travellers, wine tourism now competes with the alluring world heritage chateaux at nearby Lednice and Valtice."
"The valleys and peaks of Moravia make up the easternmost third of the Czech Republic. Home to the country's two leading universities, the region is the birthplace of Tomáš G. Masaryk, first president of the former Czechoslovakia, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, and geneticist Johann Gregor Mendel."