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Around the world, many places that once had industrial uses have since been repurposed, giving them second lives. Long used for transporting coal, the Bata Canal is now a popular place for recreation in South Moravia.
Bata Canal History
The Bata Canal was constructed between 1934 & 1938. The Bata Shoes company hired some 1,500 workers to build the canal to transport lignite (brown coal) between the mines in Ratíškovice & the power plant in Otrokovice. This coal was of lower quality than that from the mines of Ostrava. The canal also helped bring water to agricultural fields in the region. Back in the 1930s, horses pulled the boats along the waterway from canalside paths.
Following World War II, the canal was only used for agriculture, but then in the ensuing years, all usage stopped and the canal was abandoned. After the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic, the Bata Canal became a place for recreation and tourism, reopening in 1995.
Following a recent short extension into Slovakia, the Bata Canal is 53 kilometers long with 13 locks and an elevation difference of over 18 meters. The Baťák is a combination of an artificial canal as well as portions of the Morava River. The locks only operate during the summer recreation months.
Bata Canal Activities
Nowadays, the Bata Canal is a popular place for recreation in South Moravia when the weather gets warm. Each May 1st, the canal opens with special ceremonies. The canal is then in operation until the end of September.
People can take their own boats along the Bata Canal or sit back and relax on a guided tour, some of which include wine tasting. Boat rentals include everything from kayaks to houseboats. Peter, our captain, guided us on our hour-long boat trip.
The boat ride along the Bata canal started at Straznice, near the open-air museum. It ended in Petrov, the first modern port constructed on the canal. There is also a lock there, though our section of the journey had no locks. In between, the boat skimmed the tranquil waters underneath bright green trees.
For a more active journey, there is also a cycling path & hiking trail alongside the Bata Canal. These were formerly the towpaths used by horses back in the days of local coal mining.
At Petrov, there are restaurants & kiosks, including coffee & local craft beer.
The next lock along the canal is just past the port.
Petrov is also famous for its underground wine cellars, making it a popular stopping place along the canal.
The Bata Canal is an excellent example of how a formerly industrial area can be revitalized into something that provides enjoyment for locals & tourists alike.
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Note: My visit to the Bata Canal was a Traverse press trip hosted by South Moravia. All opinions are 100% my own.