Brno - From the cellars to the stars

This city’s history begins deep underground, with only the stars knowing its future. Apart from its two castles, the city has two city halls and its cathedral bell chimes the midday an hour early. Do you want to know why? Listen carefully...
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You are walking in Brno’s rich history with nearly every step. Old legends and mysterious stories are recorded for you to read about along both the streets and the walls of this city. Discover the mysterious origin of the famous Brno Dragon. And don’t be frightened when you see the petrified head of a cursed city councilman.


© Vít Kovalčik
 
By the way, a number of Brno’s legends are linked with the City Hall and its officials. A proof that it is not worth it to avoid paying the agreed price is the crooked pinnacle on the Gothic portal of the Old City Hall in Brno. When the officials refused to give the architect Anton Pilgram the promised amount of money for building the portal, he was supposed to have purposely bent the pinnacle of the portal to reflect the corruption of the city officials. At least that’s the legend. And what about the Brno Dragon? When you’re in the City Hall’s courtyard, raise your eyes and let you imagination run wild. Also, let’s not forget the midday bells ringing at 11 am. They commemorate the valiant struggle of the city’s defenders against the invading Swedish troops during the Thirty Years’ War. Due to the cunning of the leader of Brno’s troops, Field Marshal De Souches, the city withstood the invasion.
 
Look for the mysteries and legends of the city and decide for yourself whether they are true or not. And even if they are not true, just let your imagination roam free and let the magic of Brno entrance you.

Interesting thing

Brno’s Astronomical Clock
 
Brno’s Astronomical Clock on Svobody Square is actually quite multifunctional. Its shape resembles a bullet, a reference to the successful defence of the city against the Swedish troops. The clock commemorates this historical event not only by chiming midday one hour early, just like the bells of the Petrov Cathedral, but also by throwing out a glass ball every day at 11 a.m. sharp. Whoever is lucky enough to catch it can have it for keepsake. And why is the ball made of glass? It is a reference to another legend – allegedly, the Swedish general could have only been killed by a glass ball cast during a magic ritual which would hit him at midnight.

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Start the tour at Kapucínské Square, where you will have a wonderful view of the towers of the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral (Petrov). The more adventurous among you may also take a look into the Capuchin Tomb. The nearby Vegetable Market will captivate your senses with its innumerable colours and tastes of local fruits, vegetables and flowers. You will see the majestic Parnas Fountain and the Reduta Theatre, the oldest theatre building in Central Europe. Below the Vegetable Market there is a mysterious underground labyrinth. On the way to the Svobody Square you will pass the Old Town Hall, which is steeped in many myths and legends. Do not forget to take a picture of the Brno Dragon. At Svobody Square you will have a chance to marvel at the beautiful palaces (House of the Lords of Lipá, Klein Palace) along with the bronze fountain with verses of a local poet, the square’s plague column and the unusual astronomical clock. Continue to Jakubské Square with the Church of St. Jacob. There is an impressive ossuary of souls long gone in the church’s basement, while above ground it seethes with the joys of life.  With its well-known and highly regarded restaurants, this small square is full of people – a good place to enjoy some refreshment.   We then head towards the New City Hall. If you want to venture underground once again, go see the Mint Master’s Cellar where you can have a keepsake coin minted. Now prepare for a few minutes of uphill walking through Šilingrovo Square to the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral (which is often called Petrov). Enjoy the breathtaking view from one of its towers or from the nearby “Denisovy sady” Park. If you still have some energy left, a great next location to visit is the Špilberk Castle, where you can take a walk on top of its fortifications, visit one of the exhibitions at the Brno City Museum or just sit down and relax in the outside seating of one of the local cafés. Here you can enjoy the views of the city with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.

Common Tips

What about the stars? Add these to an evening programme  by visiting the Brno Observatory and Planetarium, which offers not only the romantic possibility of watching the night sky and the wonderful views of the city’s illuminated skyline but also an interesting programme in the ultra-modern digitarium.

Transportation

Brno is connected to Prague by the D1 motorway as well as by railway. Apart from car, you can therefore use public transportation – several buses and trains operated by various companies leave for Brno every hour. There are also regular flights to Brno from certain European cities (London, Moscow, Eindhoven).

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Kapucínské Square and the Crypt in Brno

The Capuchin monastery with the Finding of the Holy Cross Church in Brno is a unique monument which will inspire every lover of history and art. In the original early Baroque building you can admire the valuable Capuchin library with the original Rococo inventory and a ceiling fresco by Josef Stern. Anyone who likes spooky experiences will certainly want to head to the cellar of the monastery, which offers a rarity of European importance – a Capuchin crypt from the 18th century where the naturally mummified remains of members of the Capuchin order, their patrons and prominent personalities of Brno lie.

Address

Kapucínské nám. 303/5; 602 00 Brno
GPS: 49.19147846125616, 16.609788755775412

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 70 Kč

Children fee: 35 Kč

Family fee: 150 Kč

Senior fee: 35 Kč

Student fee: 35 Kč

Zelný trh in Brno

Since time immemorial this place has hosted regular daily fairs where the people come to buy vegetables, fruit, flowers, etc.

Address

Zelný trh
Brno
GPS: 49.1923658, 16.6086128

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 160 Kč

Children fee: 80 Kč

Family fee: 380 Kč

Senior fee: 80 Kč

Student fee: 80 Kč

Reduta Theatre

The oldest theatre building in Central Europe. It is a Conner house situated on the Vegetable Market (Zelný trh) which was built at the beginning of the 17th century and later converted to a tavern that served as a meeting point for the wandering theatre societies. The City Council used the place as a venue of various social events and theatre performances. The place saw the first staging of a play in the Czech language in 1767 and in the same year it welcomed the eleven-year-old W. A. Mozart who gave his concert there. Today the building is used by the Brno National Theatre.

Address

Zelný trh 313/4, 602 00 Brno-město
GPS: 49.1921194, 16.6094217

Old Town Hall in Brno

The Brno Dragon and Brno Wheel are well-known symbols of the city and are linked with several legends. You can only see them with your own eyes in the building of the former Town Hall in the Moravian Capital near to Zelný trh. It will surprise you to learn that it was a crocodile which the people of Brno thought to be a fairytale dragon. The Gothic gateway, which you enter the building by, is also worthy of your attention. It is as if the famous builder Anton Pilgram was making fun of Gothic art by allowing the decorated middle turret (technically an obelisk) to create the illusion of it falling on people passing underneath. Inside the building, you can visit a gallery and historical halls as well as climb the 63m tower with Renaissance roofs.

Address

Radnická 8, 602 00 Brno
GPS: 49.19316122872905, 16.608667592407187

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 60 Kč

Children fee: 30 Kč

Family fee: 120 Kč

Senior fee: 30 Kč

Student fee: 30 Kč

Svobody Square in Brno

The glass walls of the Omega Palace from 2008 stand right next to the Neo-Renaissance house “U Čtyř mamlasů”. This is what Brno’s most important square, recently restored, looks like today.

Jakubské Square and the Church of St. Jacob in Brno

Until the 18th century, Jakubské Square was a cemetery, which adjoined the Church of St. Jacob. As it reached capacity and beyond due the growth of the city, the burial remains started to be put to rest into the ossuary. 

Address

Jakubské náměstí, Brno
GPS: 49.196652, 16.608288

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 140 Kč

Children fee: 70 Kč

Family fee: 320 Kč

Senior fee: 70 Kč

Student fee: 70 Kč

New City Hall in Brno

A Dominican monastery founded in the 13th century used to stand here. It was the seat of the local council and the regional governor from which the regional governor (a royal official) ruled Moravia. Since 1935, it has been the seat of the city’s representatives and officials who were relocated here from the Old City Hall. 

Address

Dominikánské náměstí 1, 602 00 Brno
GPS: 49.194250, 16.605723

The Mint Master’s Cellar

When an extensive exploration of Brno’s underground areas was undertaken in the 1990s, maybe not even the archaeologists knew how extensive these spaces were under Dominikánské Square.

Address

Dominikánské náměstí 1, 602 00 Brno
GPS: 49.193921, 16.606107

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 80 Kč

Children fee: 40 Kč

Family fee: 150 Kč

Senior fee: 40 Kč

Student fee: 40 Kč

St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Brno

Once a small Romanesque Basilica on Petrov Hill, later rebuilt in the Gothic style, the cathedral was built in 1777 after the Brno bishopric was created. Now its two tall towers, together with Špilberk Castle , form the characteristic silhouette of the city of Brno. In addition to the interior, the Romanesque-Gothic crypt and view from the two towers are a must. The Diocesan Museum and Information Centre is located nearby. The noon ringing at 11 o’clock is part of the legend of the Swedish siege during the Thirty Years War.

Address

Římskokatolická farnost u katedrály sv. Petra a Pavla Brno Petrov 9 602 00 BRNO 2
GPS: 49.19096078082767, 16.607527971300442

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 40 Kč

Children fee: 30 Kč

Family fee: 80 Kč

Senior fee: 30 Kč

Student fee: 30 Kč

“Denisovy sady” Park in Brno

Below the Petrov Cathedral stretches the extensive “Denisovy sady” Park. It is a true oasis in the centre of the city. There are many benches scattered throughout the park, inviting you to sit down, and also a Music Pavilion with an adjoining colonnade. The park merges into the Capuchin Gardens.
 

Address

Denisovy sady, 658 78 Brno
GPS: 49.190869, 16.605661

Špilberk Castle

A prison shrouded in horrific legends, valuable historical collections, a beautiful view over the city and many cultural events held throughout the year – all of this is Špilberk Castle. One of the two most important dominant features of the Moravian capital and a place which became synonymous with the most horrific of dungeons throughout the whole of Europe is nowadays one of the most valuable monuments in Brno.

Address

Špilberk 1, 662 24 Brno
GPS: 49.19449067321927, 16.599148471513153

Music Club Fléda

Head out to the famous Fléda club for an indie, techno, hip hop or classical music concert in Brno. Musical productions are complemented by film projections, plays and many other activities. The club got its name from the popular Brüner Fledermause cabaret, which was established here in 1911, i.e. at a time when Brno was more of a German than a Czech city.

Address

Štefánikova 24, 602 00 Brno
GPS: 49.2097544568589, 16.603517751098593

Panská Lícha Restaurant

Do you want to experience something unusual? The stylish restaurant and family hotel Panská Lícha will prepare an unforgettable experience for you with its unusual connection with the adjacent riding centre. You can see the riding school and surrounding runs from the restaurant and from the terrace or actually ride a horse there.

Address

Panská Lícha 631/6 614 00 Brno
GPS: 49.2465277778, 16.6356277778

Prominent Restaurant

The elegant Prominent Restaurant prepares first-class Bohemian and Moravian dishes right in front of the guests’ eyes – a truly unusual sight which really is worth taking in. 

Address

Křížkovského 20, 603 00 Brno
GPS: 49.1842199530004, 16.580759966563

Orea Resort Santon

Relaxation in the pleasant surroundings of the hotel Santon as well as flavoursome dishes at the restaurant Panorama await you at the Brno reservoir. The restaurant offers a spacious summer terrace with views of the reservoir. In addition to regional dishes and Czech specialities we also have so-called wellness foods; why not try our grilled goat’s cheese or baked vegetable cakes?

Address

Orea Resort Santon ***
Přístavní 38
635 00 Brno
GPS: 49.2307916667, 16.5183111111

Royal Ricc

Hotel Royal Ricc whose Baroque building remembers the times of Austria-Hungary is located in the centre of the Moravian capital. A cosy hotel restaurant is located in these pleasant surroundings, the offer of which includes dishes from Czech, Italian and French cuisine. The restaurant has won several awards including the Czech Specials certificate.

Address

Royal Ricc ****
Starobrněnská 10
602 00 Brno
GPS: 49.1925776578934, 16.6072243452072