Situated at the confluence of the Svratka and Svitava rivers, Brno is the largest city in Moravia and the second largest city in the Czech Republic. It is the administrative centre of the South Moravian Region and an important historical, social, cultural and transportation centre. The city is the seat of the Supreme Constitutional Court and the State Attorney’s Office, and is the site of the country’s most important trade fairs. Approximately 400,000 residents live on an area of 230 km2.
Gothic Špilberk Castle was founded in the 13th century. Over the course of the centuries Špilberk gradually changed from a prominent royal castle and the residence of the Moravian margrave into a massive Baroque fort, an infamous Austro-Hungarian prison and military barracks. Today the castle is home to the Brno City Museum. The underground casemates are open to the public, and the castle tower has been converted into an observation tower.
The Church of Sts. Peter and Paul stands on Petrov Hill, the former site of the original Brno castle that included a chapel from the 11th and 12th centuries. Following the demise of the castle the separate Roman basilica was rebuilt in the 13th century as a Gothic church. The church was then reconstructed in the 15th and 16th centuries; it was then rebuilt in the Baroque style in the years 1743-46. The current Neo-Gothic appearance dates to the turn of the 20th century. The church has been the seat of the Brno diocese since 1777. The original 12th century crypt is open to the public.
The first mention of St. John’s Church and the Minorite monastery dates to the 13th century. The current appearance of the church was created in the years 1722-33 with a Baroque reconstruction of the building on the Gothic foundations. The church likewise features the Loretto Chapel and the “Holy Staircase”.
Náměstí Svobody is the centre of the historical part of Brno. It was known in the past as Lower Market Square, and in medieval times the square was surrounded by the townhouses of influential Brno burghers and Moravian aristocrats. A Baroque plague column with statues of saints dating to 1679 is a prominent feature of the square.
The church is best known as the Red Church due to its red brick. Designed by Heinrich Ferstel and built in 1863-67, the church was the first large non-Catholic church built in this part of Europe.
Built in the first half of the 13th century, the Old Town Hall is the oldest secular building in Brno. The legends of the Brno dragon and wheel are connected with the Old Town Hall. The building is open to the public from April to September.
Located near Náměstí Svobody, the Church of St. Jacob stands on older Romanesque foundations uncovered during recent modifications to the area around the church; several skeletons were also discovered. The beginnings of this Gothic church date back to the 14th century.
Located approximately 400 metres from Náměstí Svobody, the square is used as a marketplace where fruit, vegetables and flowers are sold. The Baroque Parnas Fountain in the middle of the Cabbage Market stands on the site of a former Renaissance fountain from 1597. A number of historical buildings and the Moravian Museum are located near the Cabbage Market.
A former Augustinian monastery founded in 1350 by Margrave John Henry of Luxembourg, the brother of Emperor Charles IV. The monastery church was meant to serve as the posthumous monumental residence of Moravian rulers. The church suffered extensive damage during the Thirty Years’ War. The new, Baroque, three-aisled Church of St. Thomas was built in the years 1665-75. The new Late Baroque monastery complex was designed by Mořic Grimm.
The first mention of the original structure, apparently a small hunting lodge, dates to the year 1213. Veveří was probably built as a true stone castle in the mid-13th century. The castle was expanded – essentially to today’s size – after the middle of the 14th century under the reign of Moravian Margrave John Henry, the younger brother of Emperor Charles IV.
The romantic valley is connected to the Moravian Karst Protected Landscape Area. The stream running through the valley features five reservoirs, a number of mills and several restaurants. There are also several caves along the stream on the north side of Marian Valley: the “Bakery,” the “Swede’s Table,” and Ochoz caves. The first two are open to the public; Ochoz Cave is only accessible with a guide during very good weather. Marian Valley is one of the most heavily visited sites for passive and active relaxation activities. It is also an excellent starting point for hikes, bike trips and horse rides.
The Moravian Karst is the largest and best developed karst territory in the Czech Republic and features the broadest spectrum of karst formations in the country. Four caves located in the most heavily visited northern part of the Moravian Karst are open to the public: the Sloupsko-Šošůvské, Balcarka, Kateřina and Punkva caves. Punkva Cave, which offers boat rides along the underground Punkva Stream, is the most popular with visitors. This cave also features the Macocha Chasm, which is surrounded by a legend based on actual events.
The memorial was built at the site of the bloody “Battle of Three Emperors” fought on 2 December 1805 near Slavkov, a town best known under the German name of Austerlitz. French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the significantly stronger Austrian-Russian army led by Austrian Emperor Francis II and Russian Tsar Alexander I. Commemorative events are held each year on the anniversary of the battle. In addition to the famous battlefield, Slavkov also features a Baroque chateau with a 16 ha park containing sculptures by the distinguished Italian sculptor Giovanni Giuliani.