The Czech Republic is to a great degree a secular country and it is estimated that on average less than 20% of the population follow any particular religion. The churches are separate from the state; religion is considered a private thing and must not be superimposed on anybody. There is a freedom of choice of religion and it should not be e.g. enquired about when applying for a job. Churches and religious groups (not individuals) are registered with the Ministry of Culture and there are several types of registrations. Religion and spiritual beliefs are not a preferred topic for everyday discussion and religious symbols are respected but not to be promoted in everyday business life or at schools.
The 2,000 years of Christian traditions have greatly influenced the Czech values and culture. Churches and other religious buildings and sites are visited not only as places of contemplation but also as places displaying masterpieces of arts and history and are treated as admired shrines. Christian churches are to be entered without hats (valid for men) and not too revealing clothing (women). Of course, please silence your phone’s sounds before entering, and when there is a Mass on and you are not coming for prayer, choose another time for visiting.
After many unfortunate historical periods when the kings and emperors either enforced solely the Roman Catholic Church or the reformist Czech Hussite Church and the Czech Brethren Church, there are many choices nowadays to practice various branches of Christianity. These include the Evangelical Church, the Seventh-day Adventists Church, the Greek-Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and many others.
- Internationals often visit the Christian community Trojka. It is very welcoming and partially uses English.
- HOME is a protestant – evangelical pentecostal church group welcoming internationals. The Sunday church service is interpreted into English (possibly even into Russian).
- There is a Jewish Kehila in Ostrava. Most synagogues were unfortunately destroyed during WWII large synagogues are to be found in the nearby city of Bohumín or in Krnov.
- In Ostrava there are no Hindu temples. However, there are lots of yoga studios around and yoga is widely practised. Some yoga teachers travel often to India to learn and are very popular. Group OM chanting takes place during each full moon night at Antakarana Teahouse (Dolní 65, 700 30 Ostrava-Zábřeh).
- There are no mosques in Ostrava. The nearest one is in Brno.
In the centre of the city there are three churches worth visiting. The largest is Katedrála Božského spasitele. It dates from the end of 19th century and is worth visiting.
The Evangelic Church, built in 1905 in the style of Dutch Renaissance, is made of red brick and is commonly called the “Red Church”. Before Christmas and also during other occasions it is also used as a concert hall. It is a Cultural Heritage listed site: Evangelic Church, Husovo náměstí 1188/4.
The oldest church in the centre of Ostrava is the Filial Church of St. Wenceslas (first mentioned in the year 1297). It was originally romanesque and rebuilt several times. The story goes that earlier there was a Slavic spiritual shrine in the first Millennium. It is the oldest and most valuable Cultural Heritage site in Moravská Ostrava and, although small, it has been reconstructed to a very interesting and spiritually attractive place.