The Zlínský Region was established on 1 January 2000 on the basis of the Constitutional Act No 347 from 3 December 1997 on foundation of higher self-governing units. It was formed by a merger of the Zlín District, the Kroměříž District, and the Uherské Hradiště District that were parts of the Jihomoravský Region, and the Vsetín District that belonged to the Severomoravský Region. Along with the Olomoucký Region it forms the Střední Morava cohesion region. With the effect from 1 January 2003, there are 13 administrative districts of the municipalities with extended powers (the 3rd level municipalities); within them there are 25 territorial districts of municipalities with authorized municipal authority (the 2nd level municipalities).
It is located in the east of the CR, where the borders with Slovakia are formed by its eastern edge. It borders on the Jihomoravský Region in the southwest, on the Olomoucký Region in the northwest, and on the Moravskoslezský Region in the northern part. It is the fourth smallest Region of the CR thanks to its area of 3,963 km2. It has 307 municipalities in total (30 of which are towns), in which 583,698 inhabitants were living by the end of the year 2016. The population density of 147 inhabitants per km2 distinctively exceeds the national average. The highest population density is in the Zlín District (186 inhabitants per km2) and the lowest in the Vsetín District (126 inhabitants per km2).
The character of the Region’s territory is very diverse; a dominant part is hilly, it consists of hilly areas and mountain ranges. In a part of the Region, in the Morava River basin, flat fertile areas of Haná and Slovácko stretch in the Kroměříž District and the Uherské Hradiště District, respectively. The Moravskoslezské Beskydy with the highest peak Čertův mlýn (altitude 1,206 m) mountain range goes through the northern part of the Region, the Javorníky mountain range with its highest peak of Velký Javorník (altitude 1,071 m) is situated in the east and towards the south there is the Bílé Karpaty mountain range (the White Carpathians) with its highest peak of Velká Javořina (altitude 970 m) that forms the borders on Slovakia. The highlands of Hostýnsko–Vsetínská hornatina and Vizovická vrchovina pass south of the Moravskoslezské Beskydy mountain range. On the south-western part of the Region, there are Chřiby highlands with the highest point Brdo (altitude 587 m). The Upper Moravian vale (Hornomoravský úval) passes from the west among the highlands of Chřiby and the above mentioned hilly areas through the Kroměříž District down to the Zlín District.
The Lower Moravia vale (Dolnomoravský úval) passes along the Morava River, in the Uherské Hradiště District. It passes further to the Jihomoravský Region. Most of the streams flowing through the area flow to the Morava River, which is the biggest river of the Region flowing through both the vales from the west to the south. These are above all the Bečva River in the northern part and the Olšava River in the southern part. The Region’s climate is rather favourable. As for climatic data measured in a weather station on the territory of the Region, the average temperature of air was 9.8°C in 2016 and the total amount of precipitation was 635.4 mm.
Most of the soils in the Region are poor in minerals (with the exception of potassium and magnesium) with the lack of humus. These are the brown soils of the highlands and the podzolic soils that locally pass to brown soils of the lower locations towards the south. There are very fertile brown soils and black soils in both the vales and high-quality floodplain soils in the surroundings of the Morava River in contrast with the hilly and mountainous part with the poor gravel and stony medium-hard or hard soils.
It is very difficult to cultivate soil in big part of the Region due to the steep land and variety of the terrain. The total amount of the Region’s land can be divided into 48.6 % of agricultural land and 51.4 % of non-agricultural land. Most agricultural land belongs to the Uherské Hradiště District (57 052 hectares, of which 69.4 % is arable land). There is a completely different distribution of land in the Vsetín District: the percentage of non-agricultural land is much higher (64.8 %) and 83.7 % of it is covered with forests, mostly spruce forests.
The Region is poor in mineral resources. Deposits of brick-clay, gravel (these deposits have a national importance), and building block are used the most; mining of sandstone is of local importance. To a limited extent there are deposits of crude oil and natural gas.
There is a large protected landscape area in the Zlínský Region. Large-area territories include two protected landscape areas (CHKO): Beskydy and Bílé Karpaty (White Carpathians) that cover approximately 30 % of the area. The protected landscape area of Bílé Karpaty belongs to six biosphere reservations of UNESCO in the Czech Republic. Further, there are also 50 natural reservations of which 6 national and 166 nature monuments (2 national nature monuments) in the area of the Region. In July 2000, an association of legal persons „Euroregion Bílé – Biele Karpaty“ (focusing on versatile development of cross-border co-operation of the regions on the territory of the protected landscape area of Bílé Karpaty) was established. The Euroregion includes the area of the operation of the Región Biele Karpaty association with the seat in Trenčín and the area of operation of the Region Bílé Karpaty association with the seat in Zlín. The Czech part of the Euroregion stretches in the Uherské Hradiště District, the Zlín District, the Vsetín District, and a part of the Kroměříž District as well as several municipalities of the Hodonín District with the microregion of Horňácko, which belongs to the Jihomoravský Region.
In 2016, 583,698 inhabitants lived on the territory of the Zlínský Region. Development of the population age structure is characterized by an increasing share of people in the post-working age: the share of population aged 64+ increased from 18.8 % in 2015 to 19.4 % in 2016. However, the age structure is still favourable as for the economic point of view. The average age of the Region’s was 42.7 years in 2016.
The economy in the Region was and still is based primarily on capitalisation of input raw materials and semi- finished products. Regarding the gross domestic product generation, the Zlínský Region ranks eighth among regions of the CR. In 2016, the average value of the GDP per capita reached CZK 391,336 in the Region.
Industrial potential of the Region lies in manufacturing enterprises, which represent 16.0 % of total registered entities. They are mainly enterprises of metalworking and wood processing industries. However, their characteristic feature is low level of modernisation of production in comparison with the rest of the CR.
In housing construction, 975 dwellings were completed on the Region’s territory during the year 2016, of which 640 were in family houses. The average habitable floor area of a completed dwelling was 77.0m2.
As at 31 December 2016, the Czech Statistical Office registered in the Zlínský Region 141,070 legal and natural persons of which 14,104 entities had employees. 1,392 enterprises in the Region have 25 and more employees.
As at 31 December 2016, the labour offices registered 16,848 job applicants in the Region; the share of unemployed persons was 4.92 %. Within the Region, the highest share of unemployed persons was reported from the Vsetín District (5.89 %), while the lowest from the Zlín District (3.98 %).
The network of pre-school and school establishments in the Region consists of 315 nursery schools, 258 basic schools, 16 grammar schools, 68 secondary schools, 10 higher professional schools. There are two universities in the Region: Univerzita Tomáše Bati in Zlín (with a public status; it has 6 faculties and can confer a bachelor and master degree) and Evropský polytechnický institut in Kunovice (private).
In the Region, a general practitioner takes care of 260 inhabitants in average. Acute care, follow-up care, and physiotherapeutic care are provided by a stabilised network of hospitals (10 in the Region) with 2,842 beds available. In 2016, there were 168,496 pension recipients (138,030 were full old-age pensions).
In 453 collective tourist accommodation establishments of the Zlínský Region, 686,935 guests were accommodated, of whom 110,613 were foreigners in 2016.
The Zlínský Region is a typical touristic region; its attractiveness is a consequence of number of nature, cultural, and historic monuments. There is no other area in the Czech Republic which offers at the same time mountains, garden architecture, spas, wine valleys, remains of the Great Moravian Empire, series of religious monuments and historically valuable buildings as well as a unique example of modern Baťa’s functional architecture. Three ethnographic units meat in the Region: fertile Haná, hospitable Slovácko, and typical Valašsko, which contribute a lot to its uniqueness.
Tens of thousands of visitors arrive to the biggest Moravian spa Luhačovice every year in order to relax and improve their health. The town of Luhačovice has a long tradition of spa treatments of the respiratory system, digestive system, diabetes, and the musculoskeletal system. They are very famous for their curative springs, favourable climatic conditions, and also the typical architecture.
The Region offers a rich sporting life. High quality ski courses for downhill and cross-country skiing are provided in Pustevny, Portáš, Velké Karlovice, the Chřiby ridges, and Hostýnské hills. Along the Morava River there is the Moravian cycle route, which is connected to the Austrian and Slovak cycle routes. Mountain climbers can practice in the Pulčín rocks, the Lačnov rocks or the Čertovy rocks.
A unique experience is to cruise the Baťa canal; there are water reservoirs of Horní Bečva, Bystříčka, Ostrožovská Nová Ves, Rusava, Pozlovice, and Smraďavka.
A worldwide appreciation is given to the Podzámecká and Květná gardens and archiepiscopal castle in Kroměříž, which have been entered in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Worth mentioning is also Holešov with its museum of Jewish culture, the gothic castle Buchlov, the baroque castle in Buchlovice or the Velehrad pilgrimage place. What is also unique is the monument of Great Moravia in Staré Město, the Valašské museum in nature and open-air museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, area of buildings in Pustevny, the statute of a pagan god Radegast, and sculptural group of Cyril and Metoděj in Radhošť.
Events, which document the ethnographic richness of the Region are: the Fašank in Strání (i.e. a festival of shrove traditions), Ride of Kings in Vlčnov or the Kopaničářský Festival in Starý Hrozenkov.
Every year, the Summer Film School takes place in Uherské Hradiště and the International Film Festival for Children and Youth in Zlín. Visitors also like to visit the zoological garden with a castle in Lešná or the Shoe Museum in Zlín.