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Brno, Czech Republic

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Brno, Czech Republic

Statutory city
Brno Exhibition Centre

Location of Brno in Czech Republic

Coordinates: 49°12′N 16°37′E / 49.200°N 16.617°E / 49.200; 16.617

Country Czech Republic
Historical region Moravia
Region South Moravian Region
District Brno-City District
Founded ca. 1000[2]
Administrative divisions Bohunice, Bosonohy, Bystrc, Centre, Černovice, Chrlice, Ivanovice, Jehnice, Jundrov, Kníničky, Kohoutovice, Komín, Královo Pole, Lesná, Líšeň, Maloměřice and Obřany, Medlánky, North, Nový Lískovec, Ořešín, Řečkovice and Mokrá Hora, Slatina, South, Starý Lískovec, Tuřany, Útěchov, Vinohrady, Žabovřesky, Žebětín, Židenice
 • Mayor Roman Onderka (ČSSD)
 • Statutory city 230.19 km2 (88.88 sq mi)
 • Land 225.73 km2 (87.15 sq mi)
 • Water 4.46 km2 (1.72 sq mi)
 • Metro 3,170 km2 (1,220 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 237 m (778 ft)
Highest elevation 425 m (1,394 ft)
Lowest elevation 190 m (620 ft)
Population (26 March 2011)[4][5][6]
 • Statutory city 385,913[1]
 • Metro ca. 810,000 Increase
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 600 00 – 650 00
Area code(s) (+420) 542

Brno (Czech pronunciation: [ˈbr̩no]; German: Brünn; Latin: Bruna; Yiddish: ברין, Brin) by population and area is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, the largest Moravian city, and the historical capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia. Brno is the administrative center of the South Moravian Region where it forms a separate district Brno-City District. The city lies at the confluence of the Svitava and Svratka rivers and has about 400,000 residents,[5] its greater metropolitan area[6] is regularly home to more than 800,000 people[5] while its larger urban zone had population of about 730,000 in 2004.[7]

Brno is the capital of judicial authority of the Czech Republic – it is the seat of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, and the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office. Beside that, the city is a significant administrative centre. It is the seat of a number of state authorities like Ombudsman,[8] Office for the Protection of Competition[9] and the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority.[10] Brno is also an important centre of higher education, with 33 faculties belonging to 13 institutes of higher learning and about 89,000 students.[11] There is also a studio of Czech Television[12] and the Czech Radio,[13] in both cases by law.

Brno Exhibition Centre ranks among the largest exhibition centres in Europe (23rd in the world).[14] The complex opened in 1928 and established the tradition of large exhibitions and trade fairs held in Brno.[15] Brno is also known for hosting motorbike and other races on the Masaryk Circuit, a tradition established in 1930 in which the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix[16] is one of the most prestigious races. Another notable cultural tradition is an international fireworks competition, Ignis Brunensis,[17] that usually attracts one or two hundred thousand daily visitors.[18]

The most visited sights of the city include the castle and fortress Špilberk and the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on Petrov hill, two formerly medieval buildings that form the characteristic cityscape and are often depicted as its traditional symbols. The other large preserved castle near the city is Veveří Castle by the Brno Dam Lake.[19] This castle is the site of a number of legends, as are many other places of Brno.[20][21] Another important monument of Brno is the functionalist Villa Tugendhat which has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.[22] One of the natural sights nearby is the Moravian Karst.


The etymology of the name Brno is disputed. It perhaps comes from Old Czech brnie 'muddy, swampy.'[23] Alternative explanations derive it from a Slavic verb brniti (to armor or to fortify) or a Celtic language spoken in the area before it was overrun by Germanic peoples and later Slavic peoples (this theory would make it cognate with other Celtic words for hill, such as the Welsh word bryn). Throughout its history, Brno's locals also used to refer to the town in other languages, including Brünn in German, ברין (Brin) in Yiddish and Bruna in Latin.

The Asteroid 2889 Brno was named after the city, as well as the Bren light machine gun (Brno + Enfield), one of the most famous weapons of World War II.


Main article: History of Brno

The Brno basin has been inhabited since prehistoric era,[24] however, the direct ancestor of Brno was a fortified settlement of the Great Moravia Empire known as Staré Zámky which was inhabited since the Neolithic Age to the early 11th century.[25] In the early 11th century Brno was established as a castle of non-ruling Prince from the House of Přemyslid,[24] and Brno became one of the centres of Moravia along with Olomouc and Znojmo.

In the 11th century a chapel was founded on the Petrov hill, since then, the chapel has undergone many changes which after centuries resulted in the current Gothic Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. The Spilberk Castle was founded in the 13th century, originally as the major royal castle in Moravia.[26] In 1243 Brno received the large and small city privileges from the King, and thus it was recognized as a royal city. In 1324 Queen Elisabeth Richeza of Poland (cz: Eliška Rejčka) founded the current Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady where is now her final resting place.[27] In the 14th century, Brno became one of the centres for the Moravian regional assemblies, whose meetings alternated between Brno and Olomouc.[24] These assemblies made political, legal, and financial decisions. Brno and Olomouc were also the seats of the Land Court and the Land Tables, thus they were the two most important cities in Moravia. From the mid 14th century to the early 15th century the Spilberk Castle had served as the permanent seat of the Margraves of Moravia (Moravian rulers), one of them was elected the King of the Romans.

In the 1641 Brno became the sole capital of Moravia.[24] During the 17th century Spilberk Castle was rebuild into a huge baroque citadel.[26] In 1777 the Brno Bishopric was established Mathias Franz Graf von Chorinsky Freiherr von Ledske being the 1st Bishop.[24][note 1] In 1839 the first train arrived in Brno from Vienna, this event was the beginning of rail transport in today's Czech Republic.[28] In the years 1859-1864 the city fortification was almost completely removed. In 1869 a horsecar service started to operate in Brno, it was the first tram service in today's Czech Republic.[29]

Major battles

  • In the 15th century Brno was besieged twice, in 1428 and again in 1430 by the Hussites during the Hussite Wars. But both attempts to conquer the city failed.
  • In the 17th century Swedish army under the leadership of General Lennart Torstenson laid siege to the city in 1643 and in 1645. This was an important part of the Thirty Years' War, and Brno was the only city in Moravia which succeeded in defending itself against Swedish sieges.
  • In the 18th century Brno was besieged by Prussians in 1742 under the leadership of Frederick the Great, but also without success.
  • In December 1805, Battle of Austerlitz, took place nearby the city, the battle is also known as the "Battle of the Three Emperors". Brno itself didn't interfere with the battle but the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte spent several nights here and again in 1809.[30][31]
  • On 26 April 1945 Brno was liberated [32]by the Red Army under the leadership of Rodion Malinovsky, ending seven years of occupation by Nazi Germany.

The capital of Moravia

In the mid 11th century, Moravia was divided into three separate territories; each one of them had its own ruler, coming from the Přemyslids dynasty, but independent of the other two, and subordinated only to the Bohemian ruler in Prague. Seats of these rulers and thus "capitals" of these territories were castles and towns of Brno, Olomouc, and Znojmo. In the late 12th century, Moravia began to reunify, forming the Margraviate of Moravia. Since then, until the mid of the 17th century, it was not clear which town should be the capital of Moravia. Political power was therefore "evenly" divided between Brno and Olomouc, but Znojmo also played an important role. The Moravian Diet (cz: Moravský Zemský sněm), the Moravian Land Tables (cz: Moravské Zemské desky), and the Moravian Land Court (cz: Moravský Zemský soud) were all seated in both cities at once. However, Brno was the official seat of the Moravian Margraves (rulers of Moravia),[26] and later its geographical position closer to Vienna also became important. Otherwise, until 1642 Olomouc was larger than Brno as the population number is concerned, and it was the seat of the only Roman Catholic diocese in Moravia. Since 1573, Olomouc was also the seat of the only Moravian university existing at that time (nowadays Palacký University of Olomouc).

In 1641, in the midst of the Thirty Years' War, the Holy Roman Emperor and Margrave of Moravia Ferdinand III commanded permanent relocation of the diet, court, and the land tables from Olomouc to Brno, as Olomouc's Collegium Nordicum made it one of the primary targets of Swedish armies.[33] In 1642 Olomouc surrendered to the Swedish army which then stayed there for 8 years.[note 2] Meanwhile Brno, as the only Moravian city which under the leadership of Jean-Louis Raduit de Souches managed to defend itself from the Swedes, served as the sole capital of the state (Margraviate of Moravia). After the end of the Thirty Years' War (1648), Brno retained its status as the sole capital. This was later confirmed by the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II in 1782, and again in 1849 by the Moravian constitution.[note 3] In 1948 the communist government of Czechoslovakia abolished Moravian autonomy, stripped Brno of its title, and transferred all political power in the country into one center which is Prague. At the present day, the Moravian Land Tables are stored in the Moravian Regional Archive, and ranks among the national cultural sights of the Czech Republic.[34]

The 20th century and Greater Brno

In 1919 two neighbouring towns, the town of Královo Pole, and the town of Husovice, and 21 other municipalities were annexed to Brno, creating Greater Brno (cz: Velké Brno). This was done to dilute the German majority by addition of the Slavic communities of the city's neighborhood. Greater Brno was almost 7 times larger with population of about 222 thousand - before that Brno had about 130 thousand inhabitants.[35][36][37] In 1921 Brno became the capital city of the Land of Moravia (cz: země Moravská), before that Brno was the capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia. Seven years later, Brno became the capital of the Land of Moravia-Silesia (cz: země Moravskoslezská). In 1939 Brno was occupied by the army of Nazi Germany, and in 1945 it was liberated by the Red Army.

When the First World War ended in 1918, the population of Brno included about 55,000 German speakers, including almost all inhabitants of Jewish origin. Most of Brno's Jewish population of about 12,000 was murdered by the Nazis during the German occupation of the Czech lands between 1939 and 1945. All Czech universities including those of Brno were closed by the Nazis in 1939, and the Faculty of Law was transformed into the headquarters of Gestapo and the university dormitory was used as a prison. About 35,000 Czechs and also some American and British prisoners of war were imprisoned and tortured there, leaving about 800 civilians executed or dead. One source states that executions were public and local Germans attended for a 3 Reichsmark fee.[38][39] After the end of the Second World War in 1945, the surviving ethnic German residents were forcibly expelled, as was the case throughout Czechoslovakia. In the so-called “Brünn death march”, beginning on 31 May 1945, about 27,000 German inhabitants of Brno were marched 40 miles (64 kilometres) overland to the Austrian border. According to postwar testimony collected by German sources, about 5,200 of them died during the march.[40] However, later estimates by Czech sources put the death toll at about 1,700. The Czech sources say that most deaths were due to an epidemics of Shigellosis.[41]

At the beginning of the Communism Era in Czechoslovakia, in 1948, Brno ceased to serve as the capital city of Moravia.[42][43] Since then Moravia has been divided into several administrative regions subordinate to Prague, and Brno is the seat of the Regional Authority of the South Moravian Region, originally called the Brno Region.[42] In 1968 Brno was recognized as a statutory city.[44]

In 2009 Pope Benedict XVI came to Brno during his state visit to the Czech Republic. A Catholic mass was celebrated on the compound of the Brno Airport.[45]

Geography and climate

Brno is located in the southeastern part of the Czech Republic, at the confluence of the Svitava and Svratka rivers and there are also several brooks flowing through it including the Veverka, Ponávka, and Říčka. The Svratka River flows through the city for about 29 km (18.02 mi), the Svitava River cuts a 13 km (8.08 mi) path through the city.[3] The length of Brno is 21.5 km (13.36 mi) measured from the east to the west and its overall area is 230 km2 (88.80 sq mi).[46] Inside of the city limits there is the Brno Dam Lake, several ponds, and other standing bodies of water, for example reservoirs in the Marian Valley[47] or the Žebětín Pond. Brno is surrounded by woody hills from three sides; a significant part of the area of the city is forest, about 6,379 ha (15,762.85 acres), i.e. 28%. Due to its location between the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands and the Southern Moravian lowlands, Brno has a moderate climate.[3] Compared to other cities in the country, Brno has a very high air quality, this is ensured by a good natural circulation of air, no severely violent storms or similar natural disasters have ever been recorded in the city.[3]


Under the Köppen climate classification, Brno has a borderline oceanic climate (Cfb) and a humid continental climate (Dfb) with cold winters and warm, mild summers.[48] The average temperature is 9.4 °C (49 °F), the average annual precipitation is about 505 mm (19.88 in), the average number of precipitation days is 150, the average annual sunshine is 1,771 hours, and the prevailing wind direction is northwest.[3] Its elevation above the sea level varies from 190 m (623.36 ft) to 425 m (1,394.36 ft),[3] and the highest point in the area is the Kopeček Hill. There are dozens of legally protected areas which are protected because of their ecological and/or natural values, like the Moravian Karst, Stránská Skála, and others.

Brno is the former capital city of Moravia and the political and cultural hub of the South Moravian Region. The city has over 400 thousand residents.[5] Its urban agglomeration [49] has approximately 450 thousand residents.[5] Its larger urban zone had a population of about 730 thousand in 2004[7] while its greater metropolitan area[6] is home to more than 800 thousand people,.[5] The estimated population of the South Moravian Region is 1.2 million people.[50] According to the Eurostat population estimate from the year 2004 Brno had 367,729 inhabitants,[51] which ranks it among the 100 largest cities of the EU. Brno is situated at the crossroads of ancient trade routes which have joined northern and southern European civilizations for centuries, and as a part of the Danube basin region. The city is historically connected with Vienna which lies a mere 110 km (68.35 mi) to the south.[46]

Climate data for Brno
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.2
Average high °C (°F) 0.2
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.5
Average low °C (°F) −5.2
Record low °C (°F) −24.1
Precipitation mm (inches) 24.6
Snowfall cm (inches) 17.4
Avg. precipitation days 6.0 5.4 5.3 5.4 8.3 9.1 9.0 7.3 5.5 5.1 7.0 6.3 79.7
 % humidity 84 81 73 65 67 69 67 68 73 78 84 85 75
Mean monthly sunshine hours 45.3 71.6 121.1 169.0 219.5 220.8 235.0 217.8 162.1 123.9 51.3 39.9 1,677.3
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization (UN)[52]
Source #2: NOAA[53]
Panoramic view of approximately the northeast quarter of the city


Main articles: Administrative divisions of Brno and List of Mayors of Brno

By law Brno is a statutory city; it consists of 29 city districts (administrative divisions, cz: Městské části)[54] the highest body of its self-government is the Assembly of the City of Brno (cz: Zastupitelstvo města Brna). [55] The city is headed by the Lord Mayor (cz: primátor), he/she has right to use the mayor insignia and represents the city outwards, the current Lord Mayor is Romand Onderka.[56][57] The executive body is the City Council (cz: Rada města Brna) and local councils of the city districts, the City Council has 11 members including the Lord Mayor and his four deputies. [58] The Assembly of the City elects the Lord Mayor and other member of the City Council, establishes the local police, and is also entitled to grant citizenship of honour and the Awards of the City of Brno.[55] The head of the Assembly of the City of Brno in personal matters is the Chief Executive (cz: Tajemník magistrátu) who according to certain special regulations carries out the function of employer of the other members of the city management.[59] The Chief Executive is directly responsible to the Lord Mayor.[60]

The city itself forms a separate district the Brno-City District (cz: Okres Brno-město) surrounded by the Brno-Country District (cz: Okres Brno-venkov), Brno is divided into 29 administrative divisions (city districts) and consists of 48 cadastral areas. This might sound confusing but there is a big difference between "a city district of Brno", "the Brno-City District" and "the Brno-Country District".

The city districts of Brno significantly varies in their size by both population and area. The most populated city district of Brno is the Brno-Centre which has over 91 thousand of residents and the less populated are Brno-Ořešín and Brno-Útěchov with about 500 residents. By its area the largest one is Brno-Bystrc with 27.24 square kilometres (10.52 sq mi) and the smallest is Brno-Nový Lískovec with 1.66 square kilometres (0.64 sq mi).

Brno is the home to the highest courts in the Czech judiciary. The Supreme Court is on Burešova Street,[61] the Supreme Administrative Court is on Moravské náměstí (English: Moravian Square),[62] and the Constitutional Court is on Joštova Street,[63] and the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office of the Czech Republic is on Jezuitská street.[64]


According to the 2011 census, Brno had 385,913 inhabitants.[65] Brno experienced the largest increase in population during the 19th century at the time of the industrial revolution. A slight decrease in population after 1989 was caused by suburbanisation.


The city spends about 30 million euro every year on culture.[66][67] There are many museums, theatres and other cultural institutions. Brno is also a vibrant university city with about ninety thousand students, a number of festivals and other cultural events.

Since the 1990s Brno has experienced a great cultural "rebirth", façades of historical monuments are being repaired and various exhibitions, shows, etc., are being established or extended. In 2007 a summit of 15 presidents of the EU Member States was held in Brno.[68]

Despite its urban character, some of the city districts still preserve traditional Moravian folklore, including folk festivals with traditional Moravian costumes (cz: kroje), Moravian wines, folk music and dances. Unlike smaller municipalities, in Brno the traditional folk festivals are held locally by city districts, among the city district where annually the traditional Moravian festivals takes place are Židenice,[69] Líšeň,[70] or Ivanovice.[71]

Hantec is a unique dialect that originated in Brno.


Brno has hundreds of historical sights, including one designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO,[72] and eight monuments listed among the national cultural heritage of the Czech Republic.[73][74] Majority of the main sights of Brno are situated in its historical centre. The city has the second largest historic preservation zone in the Czech Republic, the largest one being that of the Czech capital Prague. However, there is a considerable difference in the size of historical preservation zones of both cities. While Brno has 484 legally protected sights, Prague has as many as 1,330 of them.[75]

Špilberk Castle, originally a royal castle, but from the 17th century a fortress and feared prison (e.g. Carbonari) is one of the city's principal monuments,[76] as is the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. The cathedral was built during the 14th and 15th centuries.[77] The other large preserved castle near the city is Veveří Castle by the Brno Dam Lake.[19]

Abbey of Saint Thomas is the place where Gregor Mendel established the new science of genetics. Church of Saint Tomas is the final resting place of its founder Margrave of Moravia John Henry of Luxembourg and his son King of the Romans and Margrave of Moravia Jobst of Moravia. Basilica of the assumption of our Lady the final resting place also of its founder Queen Elisabeth Richeza. Church of Saint James is one of the most preserved and most spectacular Gothic churches in Brno.

Brno Ossuary which is the second largest ossuary in Europe,[78] after the Catacombs of Paris. Another ossuary is Capuchin crypt with mummies of Capuchin monks and some of the notable people of their era, like architect Mořic Grimm or the famous mercenary leader Baron Trenk.[79] The Labyrinth under Vegetable Market, a system of underground corridors and cellars dating back to Middle Ages, has been recently opened to the public.

Brno is home to a functionalist Synagogue and the largest Jewish cemetery in Moravia. A Jewish population lived in Brno as early as the 13th century, and remnants of tombstones can be traced back to as early as 1349.[80] The functionalist synagogue was built between 1934 and 1936.[80] While there were 12,000 members of the Brno Jewish community in 1938, only 1,000 survived the Nazi persecution during Germany's occupation in World War II.[80] Today, the cemetery and synagogue are maintained by a Brno Jewish community once again. The only Czech mosque, founded in 1998, is also located in Brno.[81]

The era between the world wars brought a building boom to the city, leaving it with many modern and especially functionalist buildings,[82][83] the most celebrated one being Villa Tugendhat, designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1920s for the wealthy family of Fritz Tugendhat, and finished in 1930. It was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001.[84] Another renowned architect who significantly shaped Brno was Arnošt Wiesner.[85][86][87] Other functionalist buildings include Avion Hotel and Morava Palace. The Brno Exhibition Centre is the city's premier attraction for international business visitors. Annually, over one million visitors attend over 40 professional trade fairs and business conferences held here. The exhibition and convention industry contributes heavily to the region’s economy.

Lužánky is the oldest public park opened in the current Czech Republic, as a public park it was established in the late 18th century.[88] Denis Gardens were founded in the early 19th century and are the first public park in the present-day Czech Republic founded by public administration authorities,[89] while Lužánky Park was founded by the emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Špilberk Park is classified as a national cultural sight of the Czech Republic as a unique piece of garden architecture.[90]


The biggest festival held in Brno is the fireworks competition festival Ignis Brunensis (Latin for "Flame of Brno") held annually in June. It is part of a festival with a bold name "Brno - City in the Centre of Europe".[91] Ignis Brunensis is the biggest show of its kind held in Central Europe.[92][93] usually attracts one or two hundred thousand visitors every day.[18]

International film festival Cinema Mundi shows about 60 films competing for Oscar nomination in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.[94]

The Theatre World Brno is another international festival annually held in the city where the Brno theatres and the city centre stages around one hundred performances by both national and foreign ensembles.[95]

There are many other festivals regularly held in Brno, for instance the International Music Festival Brno,[96] the Spilberk International Music Festival,[97] the Summer Shakespeare Festival,[98] and many others...

Every September, Brno is home to a large wine festival (Slavnosti vína) to celebrate the harvest in the surrounding wine-producing region.[99]


Brno has the oldest theatre building in Central Europe, it's the Reduta Theatre at Zelný trh (en: the Vegetable Market).[101] So the city has a long tradition in theatre productions, the first theatre plays in Brno took place probably in 1660s in the City Tavern, today's Reduta Theatre, however, the first "real theatre" with theatre boxes was build in 1733 in this complex.[101] The first documented professional Czech performance took place in 1767 again in the Reduta Theatre, the play was called Zamilovaný ponocný (en: Watchmen in Love) performed by the Venice Theatre Company, the same year Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed in the theatre with his older sister Anna Maria (Nannerl).[101] In that year the Mozart family spent Christmas in Brno,[102] this rare visit is commemorated by a statue of Mozart as a child in front of the Reduta Theatre and also the Reduta's Mozart Hall (cz: Mozartův sál) was named after him.[103]

The National Theatre Brno is the leading scene of opera,[104] drama[105] and ballet[106] in the city of Brno. The first permanent seat of the National Theatre Brno was established in 1884 and it was called Národní divadlo v Brně (en: the National Theatre in Brno), today this institution owns the Mahen Theatre, built in 1882, Janáček Theatre built in 1965, and the Reduta Theatre which is Central Europe's oldest theatre.[107] The composer Leoš Janáček is also connected with the National Theatre Brno.[108] And there is also one more interesting thing about the National Theatre Brno, the Mahen Theatre was the first theatre building which was illuminated by Thomas Edison's electric light bulbs in entire Europe, at that time it was a completely new invention and there were no power plants built in the city, so a small steam power plant was built nearby just to power the theatre, and Thomas Alva Edison came to Brno in 1911 to see this somewhat unique creation.[100]

The most commercially successful theatre in Brno is the Brno City Theatre, it was founded in 1945,[109] and its performances are usually sold out. On top of that, they stage about 150 performances abroad every year.[110] Repertoire of this theatre consists primarily of musical and dramatical scene.[111]

There is a variety of smaller theatres in Brno, such as Divadlo Bolka Polívky, Divadlo Husa na provázku, HaDivadlo, loutkové divadlo Radost, Divadlo Polárka, G Studio, Divadlo v 7 a půl - Kabinet múz, Divadlo Vaňkovka for children, etc.

Theatres in Brno experienced a long development and the current seats of the theatres and their artistic ensembles might be considerably different from the original ones, for example the Mahen Theatre was originally called the City Theatre and until 1918 it performed exclusively in German and also it wasn't part of the National Theatre in Brno, there was similar situation regarding the Reduta Theatre. Between the years 1971 and 1978 some plays were performed at Brno Exhibition Centre due to reconstruction of the Mahen Theatre.[112]

Legends connected with Brno

There are several legends connected with the City of Brno; one of the best known is the Legend of the Brno Dragon.[113] It is said that there was a terrible creature terrorizing the citizens of Brno. The people had never seen such a beast before, so they called it a dragon. They trembled in fear of the dragon until a brave man decided to kill the monster by tricking it into eating a carcass filled with lime. In reality the dragon was a crocodile, the preserved body of which is now displayed at the entrance of the Old Town Hall. Crocodile motifs are common in Brno. A "krokodýl" (in Czech language) is the local stuffed baguette, and the city radio station is known as Radio Krokodýl.

Next to the "dragon" at the Old Town Hall the town's second well-known emblem is displayed. This is a waggon wheel made from a tree found and felled fifty miles away from the city. According to the story, a local man waged to fell the tree, to make a wheel out of it, and to roll the wheel to the city of Brno, all this within a single day. Since the whole achievement was considered impossible by normal human means, the man was later believed to have called on the devil for assistance, and he died in poverty as a result.

As a historic memento to victory over the Swedish army in 1645, the local Petrov Cathedral rings noon an hour earlier, at 11 o'clock because the locals and Swedish army were in stalemate and the Swedish general said he would withdraw if his army had not won by noon and the bellringer tricked him by ringing the bell an hour early. Keeping his word, the general and his army left.[114]

Museums, libraries, and galleries

The most significant museum in Brno is the Moravian Museum which is the largest and the biggest museum in Moravia and the second in the Czech Republic.[115] The museum was founded in 1817 and its collections include over 6 million objects.[115] The biggest public library in Brno is the Moravian Library, it's the second largest library in the Czech Republic with about 4 million volumes.[116] The biggest gallery in Brno is the Moravian Gallery and again it is the second largest institution of its kind in the Czech Republic and the biggest in Moravia.[117]


Over the past two decades Brno evolved into an important university city, the number of students of higher education institutions reached 89 thousand in 2010.[11] The city also became home to a number of institutions directly related to research and development, like the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC),[118] or the International Clinical Research Center in Brno (ICRC).[119] The city is also gaining importance in various fields of engineering, especially in software development, there is a number of companies focused on development operating in Brno. For example, AVG Technologies (headquarters),[120] IBM (Delivery Centre Central Europe Brno),[121] AT&T (American Telephone and Telephone) Honeywell (Honeywell Global Design Center Brno),[122] Siemens,[123] SGI (CZ headquarters),[124] Red Hat (CZ headquarters),[125] Motorola,[126] etc.

With over 40 thousand students Masaryk University is by far the biggest university in Brno and the second biggest in the Czech republic.[127] Today, it consists of nine faculties, with more than 190 departments, institutes and clinics. It is one of the most significant institutions for education and research in the Czech Republic and a respected Central European university.[128]

The Brno University of Technology was established in 1899. Today with over 20 thousand students it ranks among the Czech republic's biggest technical universities. Viktor Kaplan, inventor of the Kaplan turbine, spent nearly 30 years on German Technical University in Brno (which ceased to exist in 1945 and its property was transferred to Brno University of Technology).

Mendel University, named after the founder of genetics Gregor Mendel who created his revolutionary scientific theories in Brno, has roughly 10 thousand students.

Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts, named after Leoš Janáček, was founded in 1947 and is one of two academies of music and drama in the Czech Republic.[129] It holds the annual Leoš Janáček Competition.[130]


File:Warm up lap start, Formula Renault 3.5 Series, 2010 Brno WSR.ogv The town has a long history of motor racing. Since 1968, Brno has been a permanent fixture on the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) series. The road course ceased use at the end of 1986, when all motorsport activities resumed at the new permanent Masaryk Circuit, which was completed in 1985. Among other events, it hosts the Moto GP series.[131][132]

There is also a horse-race course at Brno-Dvorska and an aeroclub airport in Medlánky. Several sports clubs play the highest Czech league, respectively. For example, (football) FC Zbrojovka Brno, (ice hockey) HC Kometa Brno, men and women basketball teams, four baseball teams (AVG Draci Brno, Hroši Brno, VSK Technika Brno, MZLU Express Brno), American football team (Brno Alligators), two rugby teams (RC Dragon Brno, RC Bystrc) and others. Tennis player Lucie Šafářová comes from Brno as well as Lukáš Rosol, who managed to beat top-player Rafael Nadal in the second round of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships.


Public transport in Brno consists of 12 tram lines, 13

Railway transport first started to operate in the city in 1839 on line Brno–Vienna, this was the first operating railway line in the current Czech Republic.[28] Today's Brno is a railway junction of supranational importance, for passenger traffic there are nine stations and stops. Current main railway station which the central hub of regional train services, used by about 50,000 passengers every day and passed by around 500 trains daily, is currently operating at full capacity.[141] The current main station building is outdated and lack sufficient operating capacity but the construction of the new station has been postponed for several times for various reasons.[141]

Road transport makes Brno an international crossroad of highways. There are two motorways on the southern edge of the city, D1 leading to Ostrava and to Prague and D2 leading to Bratislava.[142] Not far from the city limits there is also one expressway R52 leading to Vienna, another expressway R43 which will connect Brno to the northwestern Moravia is planned.[142] The city is gradually building the large city ring road (road I/42), several road tunnels were built (Tunnels Pisarky, Husovice, Hlinky and Královopolský) and more tunnels are planned.[143] Also, due to the congestion in private transport the city continues to strive to build more parking ramps including underground ones, but this effort has not always been successful.[144]

Air transport is enabled by two functional airports. One of them is the public international airport Airport Brno. Passenger traffic at this airport has experienced a large increase in recent years, regular flights fly from there to London, Eindhoven, Milan and Moscow,[145] the airport also serves as one of two bases for police helicopters in the Czech Republic. The other local airport is a small domestic airport serving mainly recreational activities such as flying hot air balloons, gliders or aircraft RC models.[146][147][148]

Cycling is widespread in Brno also due to lowland nature of the landscape. Existing tracks for cycling and roller skating in 2011 measured in total approximately 38 kilometres (24 mi) and are gradually being expanded.[149] And there is also one long bikeway leading to Vienna, which is one of Brno's sister cities, the track is approximately 130 kilometres (81 mi) long.[150] Several hiking trails of the Czech Tourist Club also pass through Brno.

International relations

Twin towns—Sister cities

Brno is twinned with the following cities:[151]

Nearby cities

This tool shows only cities with population over 300,000 in radius of 300 km (186.41 mi).


See also




External links

  • Brno – Official Web site
  • Living in Brno - English News for foreigners. Linked to many international social groups in the city.
  • Brno Now – latest news for expats working, studying or doing business in Brno, Czech Republic
  • Tourist Information Center Brno
  • Brno at the official website of the Czech Republic.

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