The city of Brno is the centre of the historic province of Moravia and the second most important city in the Czech Republic. With a story that gets lost in the mists of old age, Brno pays homage to both Celts and Slavs who laid and continued the foundations for a settlement that was to become a thriving trade and cultural centre. A town since the 5th century, Brno had a medieval castle in the 11th century and played an important role in the commerce between the south and the north of Europe.
City of Brno
Since we’re talking about castles, you’ll have plenty to visit during a stay in Brno. The Spilberk Castle is probably the most well-known and noteworthy. It used to be a royal residence during the 13th century, but in time it turned into an immense Baroque fortress, then a prison and finally, barracks. In the historic consciousness of the Brno inhabitants, Spilberk Castle is often associated with sufferance and political distress; a museum now, the castle has lost much of its dark aspects.
There is another great sight in Brno that matches the castle-palace-chateau paradigm. This is the Dietrichstein’s Palace, a 17th century building, representative for the Baroque style and a formal family residence. A visit here will surprise the tourist who besides the normal features he or she may expect from a palace, there are also museum-like collections on display to enjoy. Take the opportunity to learn more on the Moravian villages, the world of minerals specific to the area and the Middle Ages in Brno.
St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
The spot of the former Brno castle that appears in the documents as an attestation of the city is now occupied by the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul or simply Petrov. First a Romanesque basilica, the edifice was turned into a Gothic cathedral in the 13th century. However that was not to remain the final architectural style it was to know, since it also got Baroque influences in the 18th century. You will definitely enjoy a visit the two towers that provide an incredible panorama, though it does take a little effort to climb. The crypt is also open for visitors in case you want to climb down and take a look around!
Brno is the home of one of the most famous modern architectural styles in the world. UNESCO included Villa Tugendhat on the list of monuments that mark the new age in architecture. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, the villa is well worth seeing, and most tourists are pleasantly impressed by the high grade materials and the modern technologies used to erect the building. Large glass walls, a combination of wood, stone and metal make a great work of art where one could actually live.
As for Czech cuisine, it may not be among the healthiest, given the high calorific content, but it is definitely delicious. There is potato soup and the local specialty of pork roast and dumplings with spicy dressing. There are fruit filled with dumplings and strudels for dessert; fish is not very common, but you may try some delicious trout dishes or mackerel cooked on open fires in the summer time. A traditional Czech meal gets lots of beer as the main beverage to go with the dishes. Bon appetit!