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Historical country
Mikulov, a town in Moravia
Mikulov, a town in Moravia
Coat of arms of Moravia
Coat of arms
Moravia (green and dark gray) in relation to the current regions of the Czech Republic
Moravia (green and dark gray) in relation to the current regions of the Czech Republic
Location of Moravia in Europe
Location of Moravia in Europe
Country  Czech Republic
Established 8th century
Former capital Brno, before that Brno and Olomouc together
Largest city Brno
 • Total 22,348.87 km2 (8,628.95 sq mi)
 • Total 3,100,000
 • Density 140/km2 (360/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Moravia (Czech: Morava; German:    ; Polish: Morawy; Latin: Moravia) is a historical country in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic and one of the historical Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Czech Silesia. It was also one of the 17 former crown lands of the Cisleithanian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867–1918 and one of the five lands of Czechoslovakia in 1918–1928. It takes its name from the Morava river which rises in the northwest of the region. Moravia's largest city and former capital is Brno; before the Thirty Years' War, there were two capitals: Olomouc and Brno.


  • Geography 1
  • Pre-history 2
  • History 3
    • Roman era 3.1
    • Ancient Moravia 3.2
    • Union with Bohemia 3.3
    • Habsburg rule (1526–1918) 3.4
    • 20th century 3.5
    • Gallery 3.6
  • Economy 4
    • Arms industry 4.1
    • Aircraft industry 4.2
    • Machinery industry 4.3
    • Electrical industry 4.4
  • Cities 5
  • People 6
    • Moravians 6.1
  • Ethnographic regions 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11


Šance, part of the Moravian-Silesian Beskids
Mohelno steppe in autumn
Rolling hills of Králický Sněžník from Horní Morava, left Bohemian border

Moravia occupies most of the eastern part of the Czech Republic including the South Moravian Region[1] and the Zlín Region, as well as parts of the Moravian-Silesian, Olomouc, Pardubice, Vysočina and South Bohemian regions.

Moravia borders Poland in the north, Czech Silesia in the northeast, Slovakia in the southeast, Lower Austria in the south and Bohemia in the west. Its northern boundary is formed by the Sudetes mountains, which become the Carpathians in the east. The meandering Dyje flows through the border country with Austria, and there is a protected area on both sides of the border in the area around Hardegg.

At the heart of the country lie the sedimentary basins of the Morava and the Dyje rivers at a height of 180 to 250 m. In the west, the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands rise to over 800 m, although the highest mountain is in the north-west, Praděd in Hrubý Jeseník at 1490 m. Further south lie the Jeseníky lowlands (400 to 600 m) which fall to 310 m at the upper reaches of the River Oder (the Moravian Gate) near Hranice and then rise again as the Beskids to the 1322 m high Lysá hora. These three mountain ranges, plus the "gate" between the latter two, form part of the European Watershed. Moravia's eastern boundary is formed by the White Carpathians and Javorníky.

Between 1782–1850, Moravia (also thus known as Moravia-Silesia) also included a small portion of the former province of Silesia – the Austrian Silesia (when Frederick the Great annexed most of ancient Silesia (the land of upper and middle Oder river) to Prussia, Silesia's southernmost part remained with the Habsburgs).


Venus of Vestonice, the oldest surviving ceramic figurine in the world

Evidence of the presence of Homo dates back more than 600,000 years in the paleontological area of Stránská Skála.

Attracted by suitable living conditions, early modern humans settled in the region by the Paleolithic. The Předmostí archaeological site in Moravia is dated to between 24,000 and 27,000 years old.[2][3] Caves in Moravský kras were used by Mammoth hunters. The oldest ceramic figure in the world (Venus of Dolní Věstonice)[4][5] was found in the excavation of Dolní Věstonice by Karel Absolon.[6]


Roman era

Around 60 BC, the Celtic Volcae people withdrew from the region and were succeeded by the Germanic Quadi. Some of the events of the Marcomannic Wars took place in Moravia in AD 169–180. After the war exposed the weakness of Rome's northern frontier, half of the Roman legions (16 out of 33) were stationed along the Danube. In response to increasing numbers of Germanic settlers in frontier regions like Pannonia, Dacia, Rome established two new frontier provinces on the left shore of the Danube, Marcomannia and Sarmatia, including today's Moravia and western Slovakia.

In the 2nd century AD, a Roman fortress[7][8] stood on the vineyards hill known as Burgstall, which is situated above the former village Mušov and above today's beach resort at Pasohlávky. During the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the Xth Roman legion was assigned to control the Germanic tribes who had been defeated in the Marcomannic Wars.[9] In 1927, the archeologist Gnirs, with the support of president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, began research on the site, located 80 km far from Vindobona and 22 km to the south from Brno. The researchers found remnants of two masonry buildings, a praetorium[10] and a balneum ("bath"), including a hypocaustum. The discovery of bricks with the stamp of the Xth legion and coins from the period of the emperors Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Commodus facilitated dating of the locality.

Ancient Moravia

Territory of the Great Moravia in the 9th century: area ruled by Rastislav (846–870) map marks the greatest territorial extent during the reign of Svatopluk I (871–894), violet core is origin of Moravia

A variety of Germanic and major Slavic tribes crossed through Moravia during the Migration Period before Slavs established themselves in the 6th century AD. At the end of the 8th century, the Moravian Principality came into being in present-day south-eastern Moravia, Záhorie in south-western Slovakia and parts of Lower Austria. In 833 AD, this became the state of Great Moravia[11] with the conquest of the Principality of Nitra (present-day Slovakia). Their first king was Mojmír I (ruled 830–846). Louis the German invaded Moravia and replaced Mojmír I with his nephew Rastiz who became St. Rastislav.[12] St. Rastislav (846–870) tried to emancipate his land from the Carolingian influence, so he sent envoys to Rome to get missionaries to come. When Rome refused he turned to Constantinople to the Byzantine emperor Michael. The result was the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius who translated liturgical books into Slavonic, which had lately been elevated by the Pope to the same level as Latin and Greek. Methodius became the first Moravian archbishop, but after his death the German influence again prevailed and the disciples of Methodius were forced to flee. Great Moravia reached its greatest territorial extent in the 890s under Svatopluk I. At this time, the empire encompassed the territory of the present-day Czech Republic and Slovakia, the western part of present Hungary (Pannonia), as well as Lusatia in present-day Germany and Silesia and the upper Vistula basin in southern Poland. After Svatopluk's death in 895, the Bohemian princes defected to become vassals of the East Frankish ruler Arnulf of Carinthia, and the Moravian state ceased to exist after being overrun by invading Magyars in 906/7.

Třebíč, Romanesque St. Procopius Basilica 12th century
Řeznovice Romanesque temple S. Peter and Paul

Union with Bohemia

Bohemia and Moravia in the 12th century

Boleslaus I, the Přemyslid ruler of Bohemia, took control over Moravia. Bolesław I Chrobry of Poland annexed Moravia in 999, and ruled it until 1019,[13] when the Přemyslid prince Bretislaus recaptured it. Upon his father's death in 1034, Bretislaus became the ruler of Bohemia. In 1055, he decreed that Bohemia and Moravia would be inherited together by primogeniture, although he also provided that his younger sons should govern parts (quarters) of Moravia as vassals to his oldest son.

Saint Wenceslas Cathedral, Olomouc. Metropolitical Church of Moravia. Seat of Archbishop of Olomouc

Throughout the Přemyslid era, junior princes often ruled all or part of Moravia from Olomouc, Brno or Znojmo, with varying degrees of autonomy from the ruler of Bohemia. Dukes of Olomouc often acted as the "right hand" of Prague dukes and kings, while Dukes of Brno and especially those of Znojmo were much more insubordinate. Moravia reached its height of autonomy in 1182, when Emperor Frederick I elevated Conrad II Otto of Znojmo to the status of a margrave,[14] immediately subject to the emperor, independent of Bohemia. This status was short-lived: in 1186, Conrad Otto was forced to obey the supreme rule of Bohemian duke Frederick. Three years later, Conrad Otto succeeded to Frederick as Duke of Bohemia and subsequently canceled his margrave title. Nevertheless, the margrave title was restored in 1197 when Vladislaus III of Bohemia resolved the succession dispute between him and his brother Ottokar by abdicating from the Bohemian throne and accepting Moravia as a vassal land of Bohemian (i.e., Prague) rulers. Vladislaus gradually established this land as Margraviate, slightly administratively different from Bohemia. After the Battle of Legnica, the Mongols carried their raids into Moravia.

Lands of Bohemian Crown in early the 14th century
Church of St. Thomas Brno, mausoleum of Moravian branch House of Luxembourg, ruler's of Moravia and old governor's palace – former Augustinian abbey.

The main line of the Přemyslid dynasty became extinct in 1306, and in 1310 John of Luxembourg became Margrave of Moravia and King of Bohemia. In 1333, he made his son Charles the next Margrave of Moravia (later in 1346, Charles become also the King of Bohemia). In 1349, Charles gave Moravia to his younger brother John Henry who ruled in the margraviate until his death in 1375, after him Moravia was ruled by his oldest son Jobst of Moravia who was in 1410 elected the Holy Roman King but died in 1411 (at present day, he is buried with his father in the Church of St. Thomas in Brno – the Moravian capital which they both ruled from). Moravia and Bohemia remained within the Luxembourg dynasty of Holy Roman kings and emperors (except during the Hussite wars), until inherited by Albert II of Habsburg in 1437.

After his death followed the crusade followed and in 1469 Matthias Corvinus conquered Moravia and proclaimed himself (with assistance of rebelling Bohemian nobility) as the king of Bohemia.

The subsequent 21-year period of a divided kingdom was decisive for the rising awareness of a specific Moravian identity, distinct from that of Bohemia. Although Moravia was reunited with Bohemia in 1490 when Vladislaus Jagiellon, king of Bohemia, also became king of Hungary, some attachment to Moravian "freedoms" and resistance to government by Prague continued until the end of independence in 1620. In 1526, Vladislaus' son Louis died in battle and the Habsburg Ferdinand I was elected as his successor.

Habsburg rule (1526–1918)

Habsburg Empire Crown lands - grouth of the Habsburg territories and Moravia´s status

The epoch 1526–1620 was marked by increasing animosity between Catholic Habsburg kings (emperors) and the Protestant Moravian nobility (and other Crowns') estates. Moravia,[15] like Bohemia, was a Habsburg possession until the end of World War I. In 1573 the Jesuit University of Olomouc was established; this was the first university in Moravia. The establishment of a special papal seminary, Collegium Nordicum, made the University a centre of the Catholic Reformation and effort to revive Catholicism in Central and Northern Europe. The second largest group of students were from Scandinavia.

Brno and Olomouc served as Moravia's capitals until 1641. As the only city to successfully resist the Swedish invasion, Brno become the sole capital following the capture of Olomouc. The Margraviate of Moravia had, from 1348 in Olomouc and Brno, its own Diet, or parliament, zemský sněm (Landtag in German), whose deputies from 1905 onward were elected separately from the ethnically separate German and Czech constituencies.

The oldest surviving theatre building in Central Europe, the Reduta Theatre, was established in 17th-century Moravia. Ottoman Turks and Tatars invaded the region in 1663, taking 12,000 captives.[16] In 1740, Moravia was invaded by Prussian forces under Frederick the Great, and Olomouc was forced to surrender on 27 December 1741. A few months later the Prussians were repelled, mainly because of their unsuccessful siege of Brno in 1742. In 1758, Olomouc was besieged by Prussians again, but this time its defenders forced the Prussians to withdraw following the Battle of Domstadtl. In 1777, a new Moravian bishopric was established in Brno, and the Olomouc bishopric was elevated to an archbishopric.[17] In 1782, the Margaviate of Moravia was merged with Austrian Silesia into Moravia-Silesia, with Brno as its capital. This lasted until 1850.[18]

20th century

Jan Černý, president of Moravia (governor) 1922–1926. Later also PM of Czechoslovakia

Following the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, Moravia became part of Czechoslovakia. As one of the five lands of Czechoslovakia, it had restricted autonomy. In 1928 Moravia ceased to exist as a territorial unity and was merged with Czech Silesia into the Moravian-Silesian Land. After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in World War II, Moravia was divided – part was made an administrative unit within the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the area with more ethnic Germans was absorbed by the German Third Reich.

In 1945 after the end of World War II and Allied defeat of Germany, Czechoslovakia expelled the ethnic German minority of Moravia to Germany and Austria. The Moravian-Silesian Land was restored with Moravia as part of it. In 1949 the territorial division of Czechoslovakia was radically changed, as the Moravian-Silesian Land was abolished and Lands were replaced by "kraje" (regions), whose borders substantially differ from the historical Bohemian-Moravian border, so Moravia politically ceased to exist after approx. 1116 years (833–1949) of its history.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly condemned the cancellation of Moravian-Silesian land and expressed "firm conviction that this injustice will be corrected" in 1990, however after the breakup of Czechoslovakia into Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, Moravian land remained in the Czech territory, and the latest administrative division of Czech Republic (which was introduced in 2000) is nearly identical with the administrative division of 1949.



An area in South Moravia, around Hodonín and Břeclav, is part of the Viennese Basin. Petroleum and lignite are found there in abundance. The main economic centres of Moravia are Brno, Olomouc and Zlín. As well as agriculture in general, Moravia is noted for its viticulture; it contains 94% of the Czech Republic's vineyards and is at the centre of the country's wine industry.

Arms industry

Moravia is also the centre of the Czech firearm industry, as the vast majority of Czech firearms manufacturers (e.g. CZUB, Zbrojovka Brno, Czech Small Arms, Czech Weapons, ZVI, Great Gun) are settled in Moravia. Almost all well-known Czech sporting, self-defense, military and hunting firearms come from Moravia. Also, Meopta rifle scopes are of Moravian origin.

Aircraft industry

The Zlín Region hosts several aircraft manufacturers, namely Let Kunovice (also known as Aircraft Industries, a.s.), ZLIN AIRCRAFT a.s. Otrokovice (former well-known name Moravan Otrokovice), Evektor-Aerotechnik and Czech Sport Aircraft. Sport aircraft is also manufactured in Jihlava by Jihlavan Airplanes/Skyleader.

Aircraft production in the region started in 1930s and there are signs of recovery in recent years and the production is expected to grow from 2013 onwards.[19]

Machinery industry

Machinery has been the most important industrial sector in the region, especially in South Moravia, for many decades. The main centres of machinery production are Brno (Zbrojovka Brno, Zetor, První brněnská strojírna, Siemens), Blansko (ČKD Blansko, Metra), Adamov (ADAST), Kuřim (TOS Kuřim), Boskovice (Minerva, Novibra) and Břeclav (Otis Elevator Company), together with a large number of other variously sized machinery or machining factories, companies or workshops spread all over Moravia.

Electrical industry

The beginnings of the electrical industry in Moravia date back to 1918. The biggest centres of electrical production are Brno (VUES, ZPA Brno, EM Brno), Drásov, Frenštát pod Radhoštěm and Mohelnice (currently Siemens).


Regional capitals
Other important cities


Male and female Moravian Slovak costumes worn during the Jízda králů ("Kings Ride") Festival held annually in the village of Vlčnov (southeastern Moravia)

The Moravians are generally a Slavic ethnic group who speak various dialects of Czech. Before the expulsion of Germans from Moravia the Moravian German minority also referred to themselves as "Moravians" (Mährer). Those expelled and their descendants continue to identify as Moravian. [20] Some Moravians assert that Moravian is a language distinct from Czech; however, their position is not widely supported by academics and the public.[21][22][23][24] Some Moravians identify as an ethnically distinct group; the majority consider themselves to be ethnically Czech. In the census of 1991 (the first census in history in which respondents were allowed to claim Moravian nationality), 1,362,000 (13.2%) of the Czech population identified as being of Moravian nationality (or ethnicity). In the census of 2001, this number had decreased to 380,000 (3.7% of the population).[25] In the census of 2011, this number rose to 522,474 (4.9% of the Czech population).[26][27]

Moravia historically had a large minority of ethnic Germans, some of whom had arrived as early as the 13th century at the behest of the Přemyslid dynasty. Germans continued to come to Moravia in waves, culminating in the 18th century. After the Second World War, Czechoslovakia largely expelled them in retaliation for Nazi German efforts to create a Greater Germanic Reich in Central Europe.


Notable people from Moravia include:

Old ethnic division of Moravians according to an encyclopaedia of 1878

Ethnographic regions

See also


  1. ^ Not only here for the beer: Moravia, the Czech Republic's wine region. The Guardian 2011 [1]
  2. ^ Velemínskáa, J., Brůžekb, J., Velemínskýd, P., Bigonia, L., Šefčákováe, A., Katinaf, F. (2008). "Variability of the Upper Palaeolithic skulls from Předmostí near Přerov (Czech Republic): Craniometric comparison with recent human standards". Homo 59 (1): 1–26.  
  3. ^ Viegas, Jennifer (7 October 2011). "Prehistoric dog found with mammoth bone in mouth". Discovery News. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Jonathan Jones: Carl Andre on notoriety and a 26,000-year-old portrait – the week in art. The Guardian 25 January 2013 [2]
  5. ^ Moravia – Dolní Věstonice and Pavlov sites- Ice age Pompeii
  6. ^ 29.8. 2005The TimesOldest homes were made of mammoth bone.
  7. ^ Roman fortress/Hradisko in Mušov, Czech academy of sciences report
  8. ^ Fortification Czech academy of sciences report
  9. ^ Jaroslav Tejral: Roman troops movements to the north of Carnuntum, Archeological evidence. In: Limes XX (2009) Esdtudios sobre. Madrid Polifemo
  10. ^ Praetorium, Czech academy of sciences report
  11. ^ Florin Kurta. The history and archaeology of Great Moravia: an introduction. in: Early Medieval Europe 2009 volume 17 (3) [3]
  12. ^ Reuter, Timothy. (1991). Germany in the Early Middle Ages, London: Longman, page 82
  13. ^ The exact dating of the conquest of Moravia by Bohemian dukes is uncertain. Czech and some Slovak historiographers suggest the year 1019, while Polish, German and other Slovak historians suggest 1029, during the rule of Boleslaus' son, Mieszko II Lambert.
  14. ^ There are no primary testimonies about creating a margraviate (march) as distinct political unit
  15. ^ Evan Rail (23 September 2011).The Castles of Moravia. NYT 23.9. 2011 [4]
  16. ^ Lánové rejstříky (1656–1711) (Czech)
  17. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia. Moravia. on line [5]
  18. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia. Moravia. on line [6]
  19. ^ "Leteckou výrobu v Česku čeká v roce 2013 růst. Pomůže modernizace L-410 (Czech aircraft production expected to grow in 2013)". Hospodářské noviny IHNED ISSN 1213 – 7693. 2012. 
  20. ^ Bill Lehane: ČSÚ (Czech statistical office) plays down census disputes – Campaign want to include Moravian language in count (Moravian identity). The Prague Post 9. 3. 2011 20 [7]
  21. ^ Kolínková, Eliška (26 December 2008). "Číšník tvoří spisovnou moravštinu".  
  22. ^ Zemanová, Barbora (12 November 2008). "Moravané tvoří spisovnou moravštinu" (in Česky). Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  23. ^ O spisovné moravštině a jiných „malých“ jazycích (Naše řeč 5, ročník 83/2000) (Czech)
  24. ^ Kolínková, Eliška (30 December 2008). "Amatérský jazykovědec prosazuje moravštinu jako nový jazyk". Mladá fronta DNES (in Česky). iDnes. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  25. ^ Robert B. Kaplan; Richard B. Baldauf (1 January 2005). Language Planning and Policy in Europe. Multilingual Matters. pp. 27–.  
  26. ^ Lynn Tesser (14 May 2013). Ethnic Cleansing and the European Union: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Security, Memory and Ethnography. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 213–.  
  27. ^ Ibp, Inc (10 September 2013). Czech Republic Mining Laws and Regulations Handbook - Strategic Information and Basic Laws. Int'l Business Publications. pp. 8–.  

Further reading

  • The Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society (1877) for the Diffusion of Useful ..., volume 15. London, Charles Knight. Moravia. pg. 397–398
  • The New Encyclopedia Britannica (2003). Chicago, New Delhi, Paris, Seoul, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo. Volume 8. pg. 309. Moravia. ISBN 0-85229 961-3
  • Filip, Jan (1964) The Great Moravia exhibition. ČSAV (Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences)
  • Galuška, Luděk, Mitáček Jiří, Novotná, Lea /eds./ (2010) Treausures of Moravia – story of historical land. Brno, Moravian Museum. ISBN 978-80-7028-371-4.
  • National Geographic Society. Wonders of the Ancient World; National Geographic Atlas of Archaeology, Norman Hammond, Consultant, Nat'l Geogr. Soc., (Multiple Staff authors), (Nat'l Geogr., R.H.Donnelley & Sons, Willard, OH), 1994, 1999, Reg or Deluxe Ed., 304 pgs. Deluxe ed. photo (pg 248): "Venus, Dolni Věstonice, 24,000 B.C." In section titled: The Potter's Art, pp 246–253.
  • Dekan, Jan (1981). Moravia Magna: The Great Moravian Empire, Its Art and Time, Minneapolis: Control Data Arts. ISBN 0-89893-084-7
  • Hugh, Agnew (2004). The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown.Hoower Press, Stanford. ISBN 0-8179-4491-5
  • Róna-Tas, András (1999) Hungarians & Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History translated by Nicholas Bodoczky, Central European University Press, Budapest, ISBN 963-9116-48-3 ;
  • Kirschbaum, Stanislav J. (1996) A History of Slovakia: The Struggle for Survival St. Martin's Press, New York, ISBN 0-312-16125-5 ;
  • Constantine Porphyrogenitus De Administrando Imperio edited by Gy. Moravcsik, translated by R.J.H. Jenkins, Dumbarton Oaks Edition, Washington D.C. (1993)
  • David, Jiří (2009). "Moravian estatism and provincial councils in the second half of the 17th century". Folia historica Bohemica. 1 24: 111–165. ISSN 0231-7494.

External links

  • Moravian museum official website (Czech) (English) (German)
  • Moravian gallery official website (Czech) (English)
  • Moravian library official website (Czech) (English) (German)
  • Moravian land archive official website (Czech)
  • Province of Moravia – Czech Catholic Church – official website
  • Welcome to the 2nd largest city of the CR (Czech) (English) (German)
  • Welcome to Olomouc, city of good cheer... (Czech) (English) (German) (French) (Spanish) (Italian) (Polish) (Russian) (Japanese) (Chinese)
  • Znojmo – City of Virtue (Czech) (English) (German)

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