The ( cs|Olše, german: Olsa) is a river
and the Czech Republic
, a right (eastern) tributary
of the River Oder
. It flows from the Silesian Beskids
mountains through southern Cieszyn Silesia
and the Frýdek-Místek
districts of the Czech Republic
, often forming the border with Poland. It flows into the Oder River north of Bohumín
. The Olza-Oder confluence also forms a part of the border.
The river is a symbol of the Zaolzie
( pl|Trans-Olza) region, which lies on its west bank, constituting a part of the western half of Cieszyn Silesia
, as depicted in the words of the unofficial anthem of this region and of local Poles
, ''Płyniesz Olzo po dolinie
'' (Thou flowest, Olza, down the valley), written by Jan Kubisz
The Olza has also inspired many other artists. Among those who have written about the river are Adolf Fierla
, Pola Gojawiczyńska
, Emanuel Grim
, Julian Przyboś
, Vladislav Vančura
, and Adam Wawrosz
. The singer Jaromír Nohavica
has used the Olza as a motif in several of his songs.
The oldest surviving written mention is in a letter dating from 1290, which refers to the river ''Olza''. The river was then mentioned in a written document in 1611 as the ''Oldza''.
[Cicha et al. 2000, 21.]
At the end of the 19th century, with the rise of mass nationalism, both Polish and Czech activists claimed the name ''Olza'' to be not Polish enough, on the one hand, and insufficiently Czech, on the other.
[Gawrecki 1993, 13.]
Some Polish activists proposed the name ''Olsza'', Czech activists ''Olše''.
The Czech linguist and writer Vincenc Prasek
demonstrated in 1900 that the name ''Olza'' has, in fact, an independent Old Slavic
origin which predates both Polish and Czech.
This revelation has been confirmed by various etymological studies in the 20th century.
The regionally used form ''Olza'' is derived from the ancient ''Oldza''. German ''Olsa'' is a re-spelling of ''Olza'' but pronounced the same. Local people always used the ''Olza'' form, regardless of their national or ethnic origin.
However, the central administration in Prague
saw ''Olza'' as a Polish name and when most of the river became a part of Czechoslovakia
in 1920 it tried to change its name to the Czech form, ''Olše''. However, a degree of dualism in the naming persisted until the 1960s, when the Central State Administration of Geodesy and Cartography ruled that the only official form in the Czech Republic is ''Olše''.
[Gawrecki 1993, 15.]
Locals on both sides of the border and from both nationalities continue to refer to the river as the ''Olza'' nevertheless.
Towns and villages on the river
''(from source to the mouth)''
* Český Těšín
* Louky nad Olší
File:Olše v Bukovci.jpg|The Olza in Bukovec
File:Olza grodek.jpg|The Olza in Hrádek
File:Olše v Karviné.jpg|The Olza in Karviná
File:Olza1.jpg|The Olza in Věřňovice
Category:Rivers of Silesian Voivodeship
Category:Rivers of the Moravian-Silesian Region
Category:International rivers of Europe
Category:Czech Republic–Poland border
Category:Rivers of Poland