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About Brno

About Brno

Welcome to Brno - the second largest city in the Czech Republic

Brno lies in the central part of Europe, in the Czech Republic of which it is the second largest city. At the same time, it represents the center of the province of Moravia, one of the historic lands of the Czech Crown. It is situated at the crossroads of ancient trade routes which have joined the North and South European civilizations for centuries.

Brno is situated in a picturesque countryside, surrounded on three sides by wooded hills and opening to the Southern Moravian lowlands to the south of the city. In the north, the city is guarded by the foothills of the Drahany and Bohemian-Moravian ranges.

The city itself lies in the basin of the Svratka and Svitava rivers, somewhat to the north of their conflux at elevations ranging from 190 to 425 meters (620 to 1395 ft) above sea level and, covers an area of 230 km2 (143 sq.miles). From east to west it spans about 22 km (13 miles). The river Svratka cuts a 29 km (17 mile) path throught the city and is the main supply for the Kninicky Dam Lake, a popular recreation area in the city's northwest corner. The Svitava River flows through the city for about 13 km (8 miles).

Grandhotel Brno - front view

Spilberk castle

The castle was built in the first half of the 13 th century on top of a hill bearing the same name. The original building often changed hands and the medieval part was later rebuilt.


In the 18th century Špilberk was transformed into an enormous Baroque fort which also became a feared prison, with the casemates being particularly notorious. It became the place of grim, lenghty suffering for French revolutionaries, Italian carbonari, and adherents of the Young Italy movement as well as Czech political prisoners. The prison was also a place of terror during the Second World War. Since 1961 Špilberk has been a museum under the administration of Bmo city and is used for exhibition purposes. The former prison cells and casemates are also open for viewing.

Grandhotel Brno - front view

Capuchin Church of the Holy Cross

The capuchin church and monastery was designed by Ondřej Erna in the second half of the 17th century on the site of the former Coal Market. The front of the church is decorated with Baroque statues by Jan AdamNessmann to which was added a statue by Čeněk Vosmík in 1927. It is very popular with tourists to first of all visit the crypt underneath the church wherw, in addition to rows of buried monks, can be found the builders Ondřej and Jan Erna and Baron František Trenck, colonel of “Pandurs”, and later Špilberk prisoner.

Grandhotel Brno - front view

Petr a Pavel catedral

The city church of St. James stands as an example of the standard of building from the end of the 14th until the 16th century. The eastern section of the choir was decorated with Parleř's fan vaulting prior to the outbreak of the Hussite Rebellion. Work on the building continued from the mid-15th century and from 1502 the builder Antonín Pilgram took part in the construction. The tower was completed in 1592.


The church held parochial rights over the non-Slav population arriving in Brno during the period of colonisation from the German countries and Flanders. On the original Romanesque foundations an unusually beautiful Gothic church was constructed, which was to undergo further building alterations over the following centuries.


Grandhotel Brno - front view

Tomas castle

This one-time Augustinian monastery was founded in 1350 by Margrave Jan Heinrich of Luxemburg, brother of Emperor Charles IV. The monastery church was designed to be the monumental resting-place of the Moravian rulers. During the Thirty Years' War it was seriously damaged, and the new baroque triple-aisled church of St. Thomas was built in 1665-75 according to the plans of Jan Křtitel Erna. Of the original contents of the church only the stone Pieta (1385) has survived, which is probably the work of Jindřich Parléř. The new late Baroque monastery complex was built according to the plans of Mořic Grimm.


The portal of the former monastery prelature - Místodržitelský (Governor's) Palace - with its busts of the monastery founder, the Moravian Margrave Jan Heinrich and his son Jošta, are the work of J.L.Weber and date from 1742-49. At present there is a permanent exhibition of art from the Moravian Gallery collection in the building. There is a plaque to commemorate the stays of Napoleon in Brno in 1805 and 1809.