Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, called the gateway or metropolis of South Moravia, and even the Tuscany of Central Europe or the Czech Manchester. The city is the center of academic, cultural and artistic life. Brno is also the historical capital of Moravia, which, like other cities, suffered during World War II. Fortunately, however, the most valuable monuments were spared the bombing, which is why there are plenty of attractions and places to visit, as well as in the whole area.
Map of Brno
Brno is a compact city that is perfect for a weekend getaway. All major monuments and attractions are located close to each other. You can easily get around them and visit them in two days and you will still have time to enjoy fried cheese and Czech beer and regional wine. The very center of Brno can be easily explored on foot, while in more distant places you can go by well-functioning public transport (tram, trolley bus, bus, train). And what attractions does Brno offer?
Tourist attractions in Brno
One of the most recognizable attractions in Brno is the Spilberk fortress. Located at the top of the hill, at first it was only a castle – the royal seat. Later, its military significance increased and became part of the city’s fortress. Then Spilberk was transformed into a prison. Only castle buildings together with the bastions system have survived to the present times. You have to pay for visiting the underground, observation tower and permanent and temporary exhibitions of the local museum. Watching the fortress from the outside costs nothing. A visit to the Spilberk fortress is a must on every trip to Brno. It is worth visiting here, even for a panoramic view of the whole city.
Villa Tugendhat is another attraction of Brno. This, in turn, is the architectural curiosity of the city, because simply put it is a luxury single-family house designed by Ludwig Mies van de Rohe, for a rich Jewish family. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is an excellent example of modernist construction, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Let us appreciate its innovativeness and ingenuity of solutions used here when we realize that the house was built almost 100 years ago. Villa Tugendhat is such a popular attraction of Brno that to buy a ticket for visiting it, you have to book it well before the planned visit. Without it, you can only admire the garden in front of the property.
The third most visited attraction in Brno is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul the Apostles. It is difficult to miss it, because it is the most characteristic building with two towers in the old town. After many conversions, the final block is in the neo-Gothic style. It is also worth going inside to admire the baroque interior with the altar and sculpture of the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus, the crypt and the treasury. You can also climb one of the towers, from which there is a view of the city. This entry and visit to the treasury are paid.
Vida! learning center is an attraction in Brno aimed mainly at the youngest. Interactive exhibitions are divided into four themes: Planet, Civilization, Man and Microworld. An ideal proposition for adults and children, especially on a rainy day.
In addition to the city itself, the surrounding areas are very attractive, especially the Moravian Karst, where a network of caves and rocky gorges are located. Four of the caves are open to the public and you can admire various karst forms which are extremely attractive. In Brno itself there are also several hiking trails, which are a form of sightseeing combined with a walk, often among the beautiful nature.
In the summer, so-called Brno Days are organized in the city, when the battle for the Spilberk fortress is reconstructed, as well as celebrations commemorating the city’s defense against the Swedish invasion. In December, as in many other European cities, a Christmas market is organized in Brno. It takes place at Freedom Square and in other parts of the city. Stalls with Christmas delicacies and many other attractions are waiting for tourists here.
Sights in Brno
A monument worth seeing in Brno is certainly the old town hall, dating to the 13th century. This is the oldest secular building in the city. It combines several architectural styles due to repeated conversions. You can see the treasury and some historic rooms here, but three other places are more interesting here. The first is the town hall tower, on which there is a viewpoint. Another is the facade with pinnacles, one of which is quite strongly curved, which is probably the revenge of the artist who performed them for non-payment. The third place is the passage between the gate and the courtyard, where a “Brno dragon” hangs from the ceiling, which is really a stuffed crocodile.
Another place worth noting is the church of St. Jacob. The building dates from the 13th century and is built in the Gothic style. Particularly noteworthy here is its bright interior, which is enhanced by large, elongated windows. The local decorated benches and tombstones come from the 18th century, while the cross itself is from the 13th century. The organ and the church tower, added only in the 16th century, deserve special attention. You can enter it for a fee and enjoy the panorama of the city. An interesting element here is literally a bare ass, which you will notice on one of the facades of the church. These greetings were left by the same artist – Anton Pilgram, who twisted the spire at the town hall. Apparently here also had problems with payment for the work done ?
The Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary along with the Augustinian monastery is also a place worth visiting. The basilica in the Gothic style was founded by the Czech queen and the Polish princess Richeza, who is also buried here. As for the abbey, you can visit the museum of the outstanding monk who was Gregor Mendel, who studied the inheritance of pea features, which was the beginning of modern genetics. In addition, the monastery also has a library and a garden to visit. The entrance is paid.
The Technical Museum is considered the most interesting museum object in Brno. You can see permanent and temporary exhibitions on the history of transport (cars and motorbikes from various eras) and other interesting technological inventions – from electron microscopes to mechanical instruments.
A slightly different type of object to visit are the crypts of the Capuchin monastery. This is definitely an unusual attraction, because the bodies of monks, thanks to the favorable microclimate, underwent mummification, and so today they can be admired, despite the passage of hundreds of years. Interestingly, the founders of the monastery are also buried here.
It is worth going to one of the most important squares in the city, i.e. Freedom Square. It is not particularly beautiful, but it is probably the most controversial object of Brno – the city clock, which cost a fortune for construction, looks like a black vibrator.
At Freedom Square, which somehow fulfills the function of a market in Brno, there are Brno bourgeois palaces. These are Renaissance tenement houses that were built by rich burghers. Particularly noteworthy is the House of Lords of Lipa with an extremely ornate facade, as well as the House of Four Churls, also called the House of the Four Giants, which is supported by four figures with not very cheerful faces.
An interesting object for history lovers will certainly be the Museum of the Moravian Region. Here you can admire exhibits related to culture and society, from ancient times to the present day. An interesting element here is the giant reconstructed mammoth.
When it comes to attractions for children, the local zoo will be a nice place in Brno. You can see over 250 species of animals, including tigers, wolves, giraffes and polar bears. In addition to catering outlets, there is a children’s playground and a horse farm.
Slightly further from the center of Brno is the Veveri Castle. It is situated on the Brno Dam, surrounded by forests. It is a former royal seat, built in the Gothic style. Currently, various cultural events are organized here. Entrance to the castle is paid. You can get here by boat from the city center.
Interesting places in Brno
One of the most interesting places in Brno is the Green Market, operating from Monday to Friday, where fresh vegetables and fruits are sold. An interesting object here is the 17th-century Parnassus fountain, shaped like a cave with ornaments of allegorical figures, symbolizing three empires: Babylon, Greece and Persia. Apparently, in the period before Christmas, they keep carps here O.o
However, an even more interesting place is the underground labyrinth under the Green Market. Eight meters underground there are cellars and corridors that have been made available to visitors. Initially, there were warehouses for merchants, and during the war the underground just served as a shelter. Visiting these hidden mazes, you can learn more about the city’s history, including alchemists, dishonest sellers and the punishments they faced, and prison.
However, if you are tired of sightseeing for hours, the best place will be one of the city’s parks, such as Denisovy Sady, for example. It’s a vast, green area in the middle of the city with lots of benches to rest. The park has a Music Pavilion with a colonnade and an obelisk in honor of the victory over Napoleon. Denisovy Sady offers views of the city.