What to see in Brno: the beauties of the city of the Czech Republic
For many it is just the place to for decades they challenged each other heroes on two wheels of the MotoGP. And it’s a shame because things to do and see at Brnothe second city of the Czech Republic, they are many. And the one that has been there for too long poor little sister of the queen Pragueor the humble cousin of Vienna, is actually a charming woman who knows how to conquer whoever arrives. Precisely for this reason, more and more, she is revealing herself to the world.
What to see in Brno: the younger sister of Prague and Vienna
But compared to its better known and closest competitors – Prague and a little more than 200km, Vienna at 135 – Brno he has no inferiority complex. As is normal for what has been a long time a capital. With his 400 thousand inhabitants he knows he can offer culture and entertainment for every taste; thanks to its lively student population indulges in a pleasant and cheerful evening life; the rest is done by the natural environment, among the vineyards of the South Moraviaand the historical legacy. From when this, in fact, was the capital of Moravia.
Brno was founded approx 1000 years ago and received it city status in 1243 becoming, as mentioned, a capital for centuries until, in 1918was invented there Czechoslovakia is in the 1948 at the beginning of Cold War when the Soviets canceled its autonomy. But they have not been able to reset the legacy accumulated over time made up of palaces and large churchesimposing architectures and castles but also, a non-trivial detail, from a common and shared area pleasure in living And enjoy life.
And so be it in summer and in winter you can relax by taking advantage of the wide choice of clubs or mingling with the locals between evenings in the wine bars, to the music festivals or wandering among the Christmas markets.
A city to be explored on foot
All this by the way, you live, like any Brno guide will already tell you in the introduction, without any effort: the Old Town it is compact and turns comfortably on footthe things to see are within walking distance and you pass effortlessly through the once grim rooms of the Spielberg Fortress – or Spilberk in Czech, the one who saw the prisons of Silvio Pellico – to the great meadows of the Luzánky Park or the expanses of trees and flowers of the Botanicka Zahrada.
However, the starting point to go and see Brno is náměsti Svobody i.e. the triangular Freedom Square. It is a very old square, the origin dates back to the thirteenth century, surrounded by important buildings such as the house of the Lords of Lipá with mythological and biblical scenes on the facade, the neo-Renaissance Klein palace and the house of the four giants with their statues.
In addition, several sculptures stand out in the square, including the Plague column of but above all theBrno Astronomical Clocka six-metre-high obelisk in black granite, resembling a bullet. And what at 11 every day drops a ball from one of its many openings.
The market square. And its secrets
Continuing the journey among the things to see in Brno, a short walk is enough to get to Zelný trh square. One does not come here to see monuments but to mingle with the locals that crowds what is the fruit and vegetable market. For the locals it is called “Cabbage Market”. There are not only those though but fruits, vegetables and flowers and many things to see.
In addition to the farmers’ stalls, a monumental Baroque fountain also stands out, the Fountain of Parnas of the 17th century, but also a mozart statue: the great musician at just 11 years old performed here in Reduta theatre which is the oldest theater in Central Europe. And all around also other buildings in between the Gothic and in the Renaissance.
This is the above: but le Brno guide he will tell you to go too underground. Just below the square, between six and eight meters underground, in fact opens a labyrinth of cellars and warehouses that can be visited. Also discovering the space under one old tavern but also the laboratory of an alchemist.
Restaurants, pubs. It’s a macabre secret
But it’s not the only one hidden thing among those to be seen in Brno: in fact, there is another one not far away beautiful squarecall Jakubákwhich is one of the liveliest places in the city with clubs, restaurants and hangouts but with one side formed by a church: that of St. James. Which in turn hides a macabre secret.
Above rise its tower 94 meters high and its splendid naves, while under the floor there is an enormous ossuary. The second largest after that of Paris. In 2001, during some works, this one came to light again underground maze where i is calculated to have been deposited remains of about 50 thousand people death over the centuries because of the plague, epidemics, famine and wars.
Want something happier and less gloomy? No problem, the distance is short and the square awaits us Old Town Hall. The building, since 1935, no longer houses the center of local politics but rather an information center and a permanent exhibition. But it is still the right place to enjoy a special vantage point on Brno.
The city dragon in the old town hall
The town hall or Stara Radnicelaughterle at the beginning of the XIII century and is a triumph of decorations that culminate in the late gothic door, a richly decorated masterpiece of the 1510.
Also take a walk in the courtyard, which often hosts concerts in the summer. Then throw your eye in the halls of Crystals and Frescoes but above all pay homage to one of the symbols of the city: the Brno dragon. It is found hanging from the ceiling and legend has it that it was a dragon, in fact, who lived in a lake near the city. In reality, much more simply, it is the body of a crocodile stuffed brought as a gift in 1608 by a visiting Turkish delegation.
At this point, after a dutiful stop in one of the many places to taste one of the Moravian wines or a pint of Starobrnothe classic Czech beer produced in a factory a few hundred meters away, it will be time you climb to the top. The goal is inevitably there Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paulperched on the Petrov hillone of the country’s best-loved landmarks.
From a small chapel to a cathedral
Its history is very ancient: the origin dates back to XII century when it was built first Romanesque chapel which was then enlarged from time to time until the construction of the twin towers over 80 meters high added at the beginning of the 20th century. The interior is in the Baroque style and includes several masterpieces that deserve to be admired up to at 12. When something curious happens every day.
So instead of 12 chimesthe bells ne they ring 11 and this extravagance goes back to 1600. Then the Swedes surrounded the city for three months: the besieging general, exhausted, gave himself an ultimatum: “I will withdraw if I have not taken the city by middayhe promised. However, the inhabitants rang the bells bells one hour earlier and the Swedes, convinced that their time was up, took up arms and returned to their homeland. It seems crazy: but for 400 years the bells, for this, they play in advance.
The terrible fortress of Silvio Pellico
Instead, the halls of the next destination reverberate with history: the Spielberg castle arose in the XIII to protect both the Czech lands and the city of Brno. Residence of the lords of these lands, it became ahuge military fortressand in the XVII century. Then, in 1783, as decreed by the emperor Joseph II was transformed into prison for serious criminals and political prisoners from countries around the world Austro-Hungaric Empire. It is no coincidence that Spielberg was known as the harshest prison in Europe and here ended up some famous prisoners such as the Italian carbonari. Including the poet Silvio Pellico.
Now this harshness has dissolved. From up here you can enjoy a beautiful viewin the internal rooms is the Brno city museum while performances are also often held, a popular Shakespearean festival and concerts.
The Unesco heritage villa
Before allowing yourself another break, if you love architecture go see a Villa Tugendhatbuilt in 1930 by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and considered one of the most interesting examples of early 20th century architecture. It is located in an elegant residential area and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its revolutionary modernity – for the time – which also included the use of unusual materials like the onyx of the Moroccotravertine Italian and exotic woods.
Finally go back to Jakubákthe square of the church of San Giacomo and look around. Surely you will see young and old who meet and meet in one of the many clubs. Do like them. And then after discovering things from see in Brno you’ll start to appreciate its soul a little. And never again will you think that it can only be considered a place where motorbikes run.