Ostrožská Lhota named Village of the Year

Ostrožská Lhota - Village of the Year 2023

The village of Ostrožská Lhota in the Zlín region has been named “Village of the Year” for 2023, ahead of Hrádek from Moravia-Silesia and Dolní Poustevna from the Ústí nad Labem region. The winner was announced this past weekend at a folk festival in the Moravian town of Luhačovice.

Representatives of Ostrožská Lhota, a picturesque south Moravian village at the foothills of the White Carpathians, popped the champagne as soon as the winner of the Village of the Year competition was announced, handing out home-made gingerbread cookies decorated with the town’s church and the inscription Ostrožská Lhota.

Ostrožská Lhota | Photo: Dalibor Glück,  ČTK

The annual Village of the Year competition has been organised by the Association for Rural Renewal along with the Agriculture and Regional Development ministries since 1995. Its main criterion is the quality of local projects that encourage the community spirit.

This year, some 175 municipalities from Czechia’s 13 regions took part. The mayor of Ostrožská Lhota, Roman Tuháček, says the community spirit is indeed the main reason why his village earned the title for 2023:

“Ostrožská Lhota is a picturesque village located in a small valley, off the main roads. What makes it special is the wonderful community of local people who are organised in 23 different associations, and who are behind its busy cultural and social life.

“I think the title is proof that our village is a good place to live,  because no matter how beautiful your village is, you cannot win this competition if there is no social life in it.”

Photo: Czech Ministry of Regional Development

Ostrožská Lhota covers some six square kilometres and has a lot to offer its local inhabitants, from health services and education to all sorts of sports and cultural facilities, says Mr Tuháček:

“We have a municipal hall with a cultural centre, a kindergarten and a primary school. There is a beautiful church with a pastoral centre, a medical facility with a GP, a paediatrician and a dentist, two tennis courts, a football field and a beach volleyball court. And we also have an archaeological museum, which we are very proud of.”

Photo: Czech Ministry of Regional Development

The title Village of the Year comes with a cheque of CZK 2.6 million, which Mr. Tuháček plans to invest in improving the public space one way or another.

“One idea is to revive a small park in one part of our village, making it more attractive for the locals. We would like to install more benches there and create some water elements and a small playground.

“And just like any other village, we always need to invest money in repairing roads and sidewalks. We would also like to make our buildings more energy-efficient. So these are some of our investment plans.”

The next edition of the Village of the Year competition will be launched in March 2024, with applications taken throughout the month of April.