The Moravian capital of Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, and the gateway to the fertile vineyards of South Moravia.
Compared to Prague, Brno is much smaller when it comes to the range of activities and architectural monuments which are available to visitors. But Brno’s nightlife, especially at weekends, easily rivals Prague’s clubbing scene, when thousands of students and even foreign visitors fill the central cafes, clubs and pubs. There’s also a very good choice of excellent restaurants and microbreweries. Add to this the city’s Old Town Hall, which is guarded by a two-metre dragon, numerous museums and the Functionalist Unesco-protected Vila Tugendhat, and you can easily stay two days in Brno without worrying about getting bored. Špilberk and Petrov are the two hills that mostly characterise Brno: The cathedral sits atop one; and on top of the other stands the imposing Špilberk castle.
The most important example of modern architecture in Brno is the Tugendhat Villa – a historic site inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage List. Villa Tugendhat has borne witness to the birth of modern housing and also to the tragic fate of the people who lived there. This work by the famous German architect Mies van der Rohe is to this very day regarded as one of the four most important villas in the world. Villa Tugendhat in the Brno city district of Černá Pole was built at the request of Greta and Fritz Tugendhat who came from a rich textile-trading family in Brno. The building is set into a slope, the greatest virtue of which is the wonderful view over the historical centre of Brno. The villa broke from all period trends in all respects with its functionality, and its interior was way ahead of its time.
Brno is the Hub between Prague, Vienna and Bratislava
Brno is only 2.5 hours from Prague by bus, or two hours by car. Brno lies in the central part of Europe and within a two hundred-kilometer radius there are other important European capitals like Prague, Vienna and Bratislava. Brno has the international Brno airport, which offers regular flights to and from other EU cities.
Brno has several universities and important judiciary institutions. Brno has the seat of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic, Supreme Court, and Supreme Prosecutor’s Office.
What to See in Brno
A dominant feature of Brno is the Gothic Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul on Petrov Hill, which is linked to several legends and which saved the city from the Swedish army during the Thirty Years War. Špilberk fortress rises up to the sky opposite the cathedral, formerly a highly feared prison, which is now used as a museum and gallery.
As in any other big Czech city, the largest Moravian city offers theatres (Mahen Theatre in Brno was the first building in the world to use Edison’s electric lamps), museums, shopping malls, cinemas and clubs and even a zoo. Brno is well known for the World Moto Grand Prix Brno.
Brno’s surroundings are also lovely. You might visit nearby Slavkov Chateau and the Peace Mound, where the Battle of Austerlitz took place in 1805, or the beautiful caves of Moravian Karst.