Visit The Historic City Of Brno

visit-the-historic-city-of-brno1Today’s featured post was provided by Kendra, sharing travel tips and information on the Czech city of Brno. I must admit that I fall into the category of people who have only visited Prague – clearly there is a lot more to this country that I need to see!

When most people think of visiting the Czech Republic, Prague is the only thing that comes to mind. This is a shame – while Prague has many charms, the historic city of Brno also lies within striking distance.

Brno has a huge array of attractions, ranging from medieval castles to modern shopping and entertainment complexes, and is only about 120 miles from Prague. It is also a similar distance from Vienna and Bratislava, making it the perfect starting point for a central European vacation.

Getting to Brno is relatively easy, as a number of major carriers, including Ryanair, fly into the Brno-Tuřany international airport.

Although there is evidence of settlement in the Brno area dating back to Neolithic times, the city itself was first recognized in 1243 by King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, and subsequently became the capital of Moravia.

Špilberk Castle, located on a hilltop in Brno, became a royal castle in the mid-13th century, and by the mid-14th century was the home of the margraves of Moravia. After 1560, the castle was turned into a fortified prison, and remained so until it became a military barracks in 1858. The castle is now home to the Brno City Museum, and is open to the public.

Brno offers many other fine examples of medieval architecture, including Veveří Castle, which dates back to the early 13th century, and the baroque Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, which dominates the city's skyline from the Petrov stone promontory. For a more modern touch, visitors can visit the Villa Tugendhat, a UNESCO World Heritage site built by Mies van der Rohe in 1928.

For those visitors with a taste for the slightly macabre, a visit to the Capuchin Monastery and Crypts is in order. The crypts beneath the church there hold the mummified remains of monks who lived in the monastery over the ages. If this appeals, there is also the Brno Ossuary, located under the historic centre of the city and home to over 50,000 deceased souls, as well as a labyrinth (without corpses) under the city's vegetable market.

Brno also offers a wide range of cultural activities. It has a number of excellent galleries, including the Moravian Gallery, the second largest one in the Czech Republic, as well as the Brno House of Arts and the Baron Trenk Gallery. There is also the National Theatre, which has three stages showing everything from plays through to opera and ballet – it was also the first building in the world to install Thomas Edison's electric lights. For a more avant-garde selection, the Brno City Theatre offers a unique experience of original dramas and musicals.


Depending on the time of year, there are also a number of special events in Brno that are well worth attending. For example, the annual Ignis Brunensis festival includes an international fireworks competition, a hot air balloon meet, and dragon boat races. There's also something for sports fans, with Moto GP racing at the Masaryk Circuit attracting over 200,000 fans every year.

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