Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, right after Prague. The city is the biggest in Moravia and its former capital. Brno is the center of the judiciary of the Czech Republic and overall, it is an important administrative center. Brno is also a great supporter of university education. The city features a total of 34 faculties of 14 universities. The city is very cultural, and many festivals and international festivals take place annually. Thanks to numerous students, Brno is a lively town and offers plenty of things to do. You’ll be enchanted by not only the history and the picturesque historical center but also the local life and atmosphere.
Read on to find out about the best things to do in Brno, Czech Republic:
1. Špilberk Castle
The Špilberk Castle forms one of the most significant landmarks of Brno as well as the whole Moravia. From afar, you can see a green hill with an impressive fort on the top. The Přemysl Otakar II originally founded the castle as the major royal castle and the support of the rulers. Due to its strategic position, the castle became the most powerful military fortress in the 16th and 17th century. And since then, the castle also held a fortress prison.
In 1783 on the order of Emperor Joseph II, the castle transformed into a civilian prison for the toughest criminals and soon also for political prisoners from the lands of the Habsburg monarchy. After this change, Špilberk Castle has earned the reputation of the most severe imprisonment in Europe. The castle lost its military significance in 1809, following the attacks of the French army during the Napoleonic Wars, when the most important parts of the fort were destroyed. When the prison was closed in 1855, the castle served as a barracks. After that was the Špilberk was used as a prison two more times. In 1962 the castle was declared a national cultural monument.
Nowadays, the castle is a favorite place for meetings and walks due to its sensational views. As well as being the gem of Brno, it is also its cultural center. There are many concerts, theater performances, fairs, and festivals.
Address: Špilberk 1, Brno 602 00
Website: Špilberk Castle
2. Villa Tugendhat
Villa Tugendhat was designed by the renowned architect Ludwig Miesem van der Rohe, and it is a monument of modern architecture. The villa belonged to Greta and Fritz Tugendhat between and was built between 1929 and 1930. The villa is only one monument of modern architecture in the Czech Republic to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Between 2010 and 2012, Villa Tugendhat underwent renovation and complete restoration. Both the house and the garden were restored to its former appearance. The interior features exact replicas of the original furniture. The basement was repaired to the technical background of the villa. There is also an exhibit of the architect, builders, and family life in the villa until 1938 when the Tugendhat family emigrated because the threat of World War II. There is now a bookshop on the premises. The villa also features a study and documentary center, which can be visited by tourist with prior arrangement. Due to the high interests in tours, is recommended to book well in advance, at least 2 to 3 months before your visit!
Address: Černopolní 45, 613 00 Brno
Website: Villa Tugendhat
3. St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
St. Peter and Paul Cathedral is the important monument that stands on the place of former Romanesque Rotunda. The Cathedral is situated on Petrov Hill. The building underwent a few gothic rebuilds. During the Thirty Years’ War the church burnt down, and its restoration took place in two Baroque phases in 1651 and 1743. At the end of the 15th century, the cathedral had 21 altars. The present look was finished by the Austrian architect August Kirstein in 1909 when two towers were added. In the interior, you can see a remarkable statue of Madonna with a child dating back to 1300 and also a late Gothic piety, Baroque altar, and pulpit. In addition to the interior, you can visit the Romanesque crypt with the foundations of the original church. In the treasury is an exposition of worship and monstrance. The Diocesan Museum offers a fascinating exhibition called Vita Christi (Life of Christ). The next attraction also brings the viewpoint from the tower with a breathtaking view of Brno.
St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
Address: Petrov 9, Brno 602 00
Website: St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
4. Dietrichstein Palace
Dietrichstein Palace is one of the oldest palace buildings in Brno. It was founded between 1614 and 1618 as a place of residence for the Cardinal František Dietruchsteun. At the turn of the 17th to the 18th century, the palace was rebuilt into its present Baroque form. Today it forms a permanent exhibition and exhibition halls of the Moravian Museum.
Moravian Regional Museum
The Moravian Regional Museum is the second largest and also the second oldest museum in the Czech Republic. It was founded in 1817. Nowadays it manages more than six million collections, which represents the valuable material from the fields of social and natural sciences as well as popular and scientific publications. The museum also organizes exhibitions, programs for school, and leisure activities.
Address: Zelný trh 8, Brno 602 00
Website: Dietrichstein Palace
5. The Ossuary of St. James' Church
The cemetery at the Church of St. James has existed since the early 13th century. Like the cemeteries of the city, it was built within the walls that prevented later expansion. The Josephine reforms led to the abolition of the cemetery due to hygienic issues in 1784. The remains of the graves were deposited in the crypt, and the graveyard wall was demolished. Over time, the ossuary with its size and location have been forgotten.
In 2001, a systematic exploration of the underground area began and several probes have confirmed the existence of a large burial complex. The number of buried is estimated at more than 50,000! During the restoration, all the remains were removed, cleaned, and put back to the place of their last rest. Together with other archaeological artefacts, the exhibition is proof of the former burial traditions at one of the largest town cemeteries in Brno.
The Ossuary of St. James' Church
Address: Jakubské náměstí 1-2, Brno 602 00
Website: The Ossuary of St. James’ Church
6. Veveří Castle
Surrounding a dam, large forests, and a lot of beautiful hills, Veveří Castle is an ideal location for hiking. One of the most popular places around Brno is a medieval mansion called Veveří Castle. The romantic and former royal hunting castle has experienced the times of glory as well as deep sorrow. There is a long-term reconstruction but its still open to the public. Besides, you can visit many cultural and social events that held there.
The history The castle was founded as a hunting seat before 1222. The Romanesque castle was extended to a Gothic castle in the late 13th century. Then in the 14th century, it was significantly extended during the reign of Jan Jindřich who made Veveří one of his major seats. Later, the castle fell into the hands of more rulers and underwent more reconstructions. In 1925, the castle became the property of the state, and today it is managed by the National Monument Institute in Brno.
Address: Hrad Veveří 1, Veverská Bitýška 664 71
Website: Veveří Castle
7. Liberty Square
Liberty Square is the Central Square of Brno. Nowadays, Liberty Square was formerly called Lower Market. It still retains its original triangular shape, determined by ancient trade roads and a stream. This square is always busy and lively. There are theater and music shows, concerts, summer festivals, and atmospheric Christmas markets. The historic houses on the square underwent permanent reconstructions, and their history illustrates the economic boom of Brno. The most attention was focused on important objects – the House of Lords and Klein Palace. Besides the picturesque ambiance of the old buildings, there is also the heart of the Brno, and you can enjoy the local atmosphere while sitting in any of the cafés or restaurants.
Address: náměstí Svobody, Brno 602 00
8. Brno Zoo
The Brno Zoo offers an encounter with unusual animals from all over the world in the beautiful natural area in Mniší Mountains. The zoo was founded in 1953 at the Míši Mountain, and its founder is the Statutory of Brno. The Brno Zoo is a member of the Union of Czech and Slovak Zoological Gardens and a member of several international institutions. A rarity in Europe is the regular natural rearing of polar bears and the unique rearing of 24 youngsters, one the zoo’s endangered species. In recent years, the zoo completed the Beringie exhibition, and you will also find a range of polar bears, wolves, Canadian beavers, and other Siberian species. It is very attractive and has recently opened new exhibits such as an eagle aviary and kangaroo excursion. The children’s zoo also enjoys great popularity in which, besides direct contact with animals, it also offers active recreation on swings, slides, and climbing frames. In the Tropical Kingdom pavilion, you will find piranhas, iguanas, desert cats, and turtles. One of the other attractions is the zoo train, which helps you to see the whole zoo.
Address: U Zoologické zahrady 46, Brno 635 00
Website: Brno Zoo
9. VIDA! Science Center
VIDA! Science Center is an entertainment and science park founded to support science in Brno. There is a permanent interactive exhibition that represents dozens of scientific phenomena in four areas: planets, man, micros, and civilization. The program includes performances of scientific experiments and special programs for school children and the public. The center is built in the former pavilion of Brno Exhibition Center, and it was opened in 2014. The VIDA! Science Center is a great place to spend time with family, and there are fascinating elements for anyone.
VIDA! Science Center
Address: Křížkovského 554/12, 603 00 Brno
Website: VIDA! Science Center
10. Church of St. John and Loreto
The next significant landmark of Brno is the 13th century Church of St. John and Loreto. The appearance of the church as we see it nowadays comes from the period of the High Baroque, and it is a result of work of Baroque architect Mořic Grimm. This part of the church is charming and adjacent to the Loreto Chapel, which consists of Loreto and so-called holy stairs. The interior was adorned by John George Schauberger and John George Etgens. The main altar is decorated with a painting of Virgin Mary’s worship by Josef Stern. The Loreto Chapel is a building copying the Holy Lodge in Italian Loreto. It is the place of Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and the holy family. The holy stairs are a copy of the Jerusalem stairs.
Church of St. John and Loreto
Address: Minoritská 1, Brno 602 00
Website: Church of St. John and Loreto
It is time to head to beautiful Brno
The most visited city in the Czech Republic is Prague. Despite this, the Czech Republic has many more treasures and beautiful cities unseen by the eyes of tourists. And Brno is one of them! It has interesting history and stunning architecture and also a place full of culture, tradition, and life.
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