Mix of history, modern architecture and vibrant nightlife
The second city in the Czech Republic in terms of importance and also metropolis of Moravia, Brno is dominated by Špilberk Castle, a well preserved Gothic building with two chapels. The castle was rebuilt as Baroque fort and finally, in the nineteenth century, it became a prison for political prisoners – the “prison of the nations” – which housed Italian patriots such as Silvio Pellico and Piero Maroncelli.
The Gothic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul sits on the top of Petrov hill, on the site where Brno Castle once stood between the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Dating back to the thirteenth century, the cathedral was rebuilt in Baroque style between the years 1743–1746. Its current appearance dates back to the nineteen and twentieth centuries. Since 1777 the cathedral has been the seat of the bishop of Brno. Its twelfth-century century crypt has recently been opened to the public.
The historic center
The historic centre gravitates around Freedom Square, from where the major roads radiate across the city of Brno.
The square is overlooked by the Schwarz Palace and the curious House of the Four Mamlases, four figures that support the building. In another square, known as the “Cabbage Market” stands the Baroque Parnas fountain from which carp were once fished and sold.
Brno has numerous historical buildings: the monastery of the ecclesiastical orders, the Episcopal Court, the Renaissance palaces of the Lords of Lipé and Kunštát, the Church of St. Jakob (James), the Hausper’s Palace – the seat of the Husa na Provázku (Goose on a string) Theatre.
The modern 19th century architecture
But Brno has also become a major centre of modern architecture. Two extraordinary buildings date back to the late nineteenth century, the Klein Palace and the Mahen Theatre.
Important Art Nouveau buildings include Villa Thugendhat, which is famous throughout Europe. This gem of functionalist architecture was named after the owner of Brno’s textile factory, Fritzi Tugendhat, who built it for his family in the period between the two world wars.
The house, which features a series of large glass windows, was designed by the celebrated German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and built on the hills above Brno. The buildings of Brno Trade Fair complex, built between the thirties and sixties, also date back to this same period.
The south Moravian metropolis offers attractions even outside the city centre, such as the zoo, botanical gardens, large public parks and for motorbike enthusiasts, the Brno race track with the Masaryk circuit, where world championship motorbike races are held.
The traditional Czech cuisine
The recipes of Czech cuisine have as main course pork or beef, accompanied by boiled potatoes and rice. The dishes to taste are the Pecena Kachna (roast duck, bacon and sauerkraut) the Goulash with gnocchi (meat stew and dumplings), the Vepro knedlo zelo (pork, dumplings and sauerkraut) the Veprovy rizek (breaded pork cutlet and fried) Svickova na Smetane (beef fillet in sauce, carrots, whipped cream and blueberries)
Where to sleep in Brno
Brno is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
Text by: Eugenio Sorrentino
Published on Avion Tourism N38
Photos: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
Updated June 2018 by Alisè Vitri
WHERE TO GO
Airports nearby Brno