Brno monuments

Spilberk Castle and fortifications

Spilberk Castle and fortifications foto: Ing. Jan Vondra

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, 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.

Аdress: Spilberk 1, 60200 Brno

 

Petrov

Petrov foto: Miloslav Bouška

The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul is located on the top of this hill, known as Petrov, on the presumed site of the former Brno castle (including a chapel) that dates from the 11th and 12th centuries. After the castle`s demise the free-standing Romanesque basilica was rebuilt as a Gothic cathedral in the 13th century, further modified in the 15th and 16th centuries, and converted to the Baroque style in the 18th century. Its current neo-Gothic form dates from the turn of this century. Since 1777 the cathedral has been the seat of the Brno bishopric. The original church crypt from the 12th century is now accessible to visitors.

Аdress: Petrov 9, 60200 Brno

 

Tugendhat Villa

Tugendhat Villa Foto: Miloslav Bouška

„There exist some building elements from which it is possible to develop new and richer architecture. They lend us a measure of freedom that we no longer wish to abandon. Now we are able to divide a space, open it up and join it with the landscape, so that we may fulfil the spatial needs of modern man. The simplicity of construction, clarity of the tectonic environment and purity of materials will become the new standard-bearers of beauty.“ Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1933

Architecture in the 1920s was characterised by the opening of new roads of creative thought, which reflected the avant-garde trends that were searching for an image of life after the First World War. The designs for the glass skyscrapers by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1919-1922 broke the traditional forms of enclosed spaces with their transparent walls and open-plan floor spaces, which have made possible new and progressive technology for the manufacture of glass, steel and ferro-concrete.

The Brno work of Mies van der Rohe began to take shape rapidly in June 1929. By the end of October of the same year the frame of the building was completed, in summer 1930 the internal work was complete, and the house was inhabited by the end of the year.

The Tugendhat Villa stands on land which was given to Greta Tugendhat as a wedding gift by her father. The Tugendhats came from a family of well-known textile entrepreneurs, and they lived in the house until 1938, when the family was forced to flee to Switzerland, and subsequently Venezuela, in order to escape the Nazis. The villa was requisitioned by the Gestapo, and was damaged during the course of the war. After 1945 it was used for a short while as a school of rhythmics, following which it became the rehabilitation centre for the university children’s hospital. In 1969 the villa became the property of the city. From 1982 until 1985 it underwent partial restoration, during which all the unwanted changed that had been added later were removed, and the building was preserved for future use as a protected monument. The villa went on to be used for special civic occasions, and in 1992 talks were held in the building on the division of the Czechoslovak state.

The villa, built on a slope in the residential suburb of Černá Pole, faces to the south and has a view of the city centre, Špilberk castle and Petrov cathedral. The house has three storeys, and is partially ‘buried’ in the sloping terrain. The building is constructed around an extensive steel frame supporting a ceramic ceiling. The network of steel load-bearing columns passes through the entire height of the building, and in the living quarters they form an important stylistic and aesthetic element.

The street façade was designed to house the ground floor entrance and garage, joined by a flat roof to the entrance to the terrace. The severity of the façade is relieved by the freely-standing load-bearing column and especially by the curved wall that was originally made from plate ‘milk’ glass. The entrance storey comprises the bedrooms, dressing rooms, sanitary facilities and notably the travertine spiral staircase that leads down to the living area on the lower storey, which is the central part of the house. Not counting the kitchens and food preparation areas, the main floor measures 360 m². On its southern and eastern sides the entire living area is visually open to the entire height of the walls using glass, allowing a view of the exterior garden and the interior winter garden. This floor consists of a single room that is divided into interlinking sections. The free-flowing area creates the impression of fusion of the interior and the exterior by using specific materials and lighting. This impression is not disturbed by the load-bearing steel columns that, thanks to their chrome plating, reflect the light and appear to be more subtle than they are in reality. It is possible to lower part of the glass walls into the basement, thereby directly joining the living area with the garden. The most striking and dominant feature of the living area is the onyx wall that creates breath-taking lighting effects. The interior also contains a wall that is veneered with tropical macassar wood and a dining area that is divided by a semi-circular wall of ebony wood. From the dining area it is possible to walk onto the western terrace, and down a wide stairway to the garden which forms an integral part of the house and forms, in fact, an extension of the building.

The living area was furnished with items that took up a precisely defined space, and which were designed by Mies van der Rohe himself. The furniture, especially the armchairs and other chairs, were so modern, high-quality and purposeful that they are still produced today. The most well-known of these are the chrome tubular framed “Brno”, “Barcelona” and “Tugendhat” chairs. All of the equipment fulfilled precisely-defined functions that were not only practical, but also artistic. The architect did not neglect a single detail, and even designed the door handles, doors, curtains, lighting and other technical equipment.

The technical equipment in the building is unique and was well ahead of its time. The house was equipped with a modern central heating system which included an air-conditioning system with an oil and sawdust filter and regulation of the airflow humidity. In the basement are housed the machine rooms and the electric motors for lowering the windows. The house was also equipped with am electric security system. The majority of these pieces of equipment were completely unique and the use of them in a family house was many decades before its time. This did not come cheap, however. The costs of building and equipping the Tugendhat Villa were such that they would have been enough for the construction of more than thirty normal family houses.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe died in 1969 in Chicago. During his life he created a characterful and uninterchangeable style, which has significantly influenced modern architecture throughout the world.

The Tugendhat Villa in Černá Pole, Brno, was met with great acclaim and interest even when it was newly-built and its fame has grown with time. The Tugendhat Villa in Brno, the most prominent completed European work of its creator, has become one of the milestones in the history of world 20th century architecture. Its importance was recognised in 2001 by its inclusion amongst the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites.

Further information can be found on the web pages of Muzea města Brna, www.tugendhat-villa.cz.

Аdress: Cernopolni 45, 61300 Brno

 

Augustinian Monastery and Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady

Augustinian Monastery and Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady foto: Marie Schmerková

The Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady is a true jewel amongst Gothic architecture in Moravia. The widow Queen, Eliška Rejčka, established the Cistercian convent in 1323 next to the old parish church of Our Lady. This became known as Aula Sanctae Mariae, or the Queen's Convent. In 1782 the Augustinian monks moved here from their original site next to the church of St. Thomas, which is today on Moravské Náměstí (Moravian Square).

From this year onwards the Old Brno convent became their new home, and also the seat of an abbot.

The Gothic Church of the Assumption of Our Lady differs from other monuments of its period not only by its complicated and unique ground plan composition, but also by the building techniques used in the construction of its unrendered brickwork alternating with carved masonry, which is unusual in this country. In the XVIII century the interior was baroquized; the baroque buildings of the Abbey were also completed at this time.

In 1868 Johann Gregor Mendel was elected Augustinian abbot, and it was in this monastery that he discovered and formulated his theory of genetics.

In 1987 the Old Brno church was elevated in status by Pope John Paul II, and from that time it has carried the title "Basilica minor". Many famous people have worked at the monastery:

opat Cyril František Napp (1782-1867)
Antonín Thaller ( 1796-1843 )
František Matouš Klácel (1808-1882),
František Tomáš Bratránek (1815-1884)
Tomáš Eduard Šilinger (1866-1913),
opat Jan (Johann) Gregor Mendel (1822-1884),
Pavel Křížkovský (1820-1885),
Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) stipendista thurnovské fundace a později ředitel starobrněnského kůru.

Аdress: Mendlovo nam. 1, 60300 Brno

 

The Reduta Theatre in Brno

The Reduta Theatre in Brno foto: archiv MMB

The Reduta building on Zelný trh has evolved over time on the site of a group of medieval burghers’ houses; it is the oldest theatre building in Brno and is one of the oldest in the whole of Moravia. Its predecessor was the renaissance city tavern which was built in 1605 by redesigning the Liechtenstein house, which had been purchased by the city for this purpose. As well as a beer hall the tavern housed staterooms for the reception of important guests and ceremonial purposes. In 1634 the building was extended with the addition of the neighbouring building - the so-called Little Tavern - on its eastern side, which was used for occasional performances by travelling theatrical companies. In the 1730s the building was reconstructed and extended for use as a theatre and ballroom. The new theatre hall was used for plays which were mainly performed in Italian and German, and in 1767 the eleven-year-old W. A. Mozart performed a concert in the theatre. Two great fires in 1785 and 1786 were followed by reconstruction in the classical style, during which a magnificent two-storey ridotto hall was built. Plays in the reconstructed theatre were predominantly performed in German, and only occasionally in Czech; for example, in 1852 Prokop’s theatre company performed here. As well as plays and operas the building was also used for balls and important city events. During the 19th century small building alterations were made, but after the destructive fire of 1870 the building ceased to be used as a theatre. In the 1880s the building became the city marketplace, and it remained so until 1918. Following the declaration of the independent Czechoslovakia, however, theatre returned to the Reduta and German and Czech plays were performed here. After the Second World War the damaged Reduta was repaired, and in the 1950 it was reconstructed to the plans of the architects B. Fuchs and K. Fuchs for the Czech operetta company, which remained in the building until the 1990s. In order to preserve the building the city has taken measures to completely renovate the building, a process that has been underway since 2002 to the plans of the team of M. Melen and the architects P.Valenta, A.Novák, and R.Smejkal. The aim of the renovation is to return the Reduta to its original role as a theatre and venue for city of Brno social events.

Аdress: Zelny trh 4, 60200 Brno

 

Assembly House

Assembly House foto:

Besední dům in Brno belongs amongst the most significant buildings of the Viennese architect of Danish origin, Theofil Hansen. Its importance as a listed building in the historical development of the city is due to its social, cultural and political significance in the life of the Brno Czechs and testifies to the German influence in the past.

The Neo-renaissance building was built in 1871-73, based on T. Hansen's project for a centre of social and cultural life for Czech Brno. During a demonstration for a Czech university in 1905, F. Pavlik, a young worker, was killed here. Besední dům has been so far most aptly characterized by a contemporary connoisseur of the 19th century Moravian architecture, Pavel Zatloukal, who says it is considered to be one of the most beautiful embodiments of the ideal of Renaissance harmony and simultaneously the culmination of palace architecture inspired by the Italian Renaissance. Since 1956 Besední dům has been used and looked after by the Brno State Philharmonic. This use is of course not privileged - apart from the philharmonic's administration the palace has remained an institute for other spheres of activity which make it nof only one of the most important centres for music but for the general cultural and social life of Brno.

Аdress: Komenskeho nam. 8, 60200 Brno

 

Dietrichstein Palace

Dietrichstein Palace foto: archiv MMB

Dietrichstein palace was built on the site of five houses by Kardinal Dietrichstein. After radical conversion by Domenik Martinell in 1700 only the main door and some of the vaults were left intact of the Baroque palace designed by Giovanni Giacom Tencala. Still preserved and worthy of note from Martinell´s work is the entrance portal and the vestibule. The building which functioned as a provincial and appeal court in the 19th century was gradually repaired and the effects of an undervaluing of the Baroque architecture of the palace in the 1980s this extension was taken down and the exterior of the building was restored to its Baroque state. The building now holds exhibitions for the Moravian museum.

Аdress: Zelny trh 8, 60200 Brno

 

Janáčkovo divadlo

Janáčkovo divadlo foto: Helena Kupčíková

Budova Janáčkova divadla byla postavena v letech 1960-1965 (architekti Otakar Oplatek, Vilém Zavřel, Ivan Ruller, Boleslav Písařík). Je sídlem souboru opery a baletu, hlediště pojme 1380 diváků, jevištní a osvětlovací techniku dodali světoví výrobci v daném oboru.

Аdresa: Rooseveltova 7, 60200 Brno

 

Mahen Theatre

Mahen Theatre foto: Marie Schmerková

The Mahen theatre was built from July 1881 to October 1882 according to the design of the Viennese architects F. Fellner and H. Hellmer with sculptures by T. Friedl. It was the first theatre in Central Europe to be illuminated with Edison's light bulbs.

Аdress: Rooseveltova 17, 60200 Brno

 

Old Town Hall

Old Town Hall foto: Marie Schmerková

The city administration was situated in this, the oldest secular building in Brno until 1935. The historical origins of the building go back to around 1240. Before 1510 the tower entrance was hoded-through to the courtyard which A. Pilgram decorated with a stone protal with reliefs of heralds and town dwellers. The original allegory of justice was replaced in 1660 by the present statue. At that time the city´s new coat of arms was added to the protal which Brno acquired in 1646. The portal closes the original Late-Gothic gate. The tower lies on early Gothic foundations, its roofing is a copy of the original renaissance roof. The town hall building was damaged during the Swedish wars and its repair, completed in 1660, was accredited to the Brno architect Jan Křtitel Erna.

Аdress: Radnicka 8, 60200 Brno

 

Orthodox Church

Orthodox Church foto: Martin Vybíral, Jiří Dvořák

Built in 1931-32. In his plans, Petr Levickij preserved the many-layered nature of traditional orthodox churches, whilst using the functionalist characteristics that were dominating Brno architecture at the time and in which Levickij, a native of Smolensk, had shortly before graduated. In the 1990s a self-standing bell tower was added.

Аdress: Gorazdova 8, 60200 Brno

 

New Town Hall

New Town Hall Foto: Zdeněk Kolařík

The original building of the Moravian provincial self-government was where the provincial assemblies and courts held session. The building complex, whose front is situated in Dominican square, began to be used as the New Town hall after the final reconstruction in 1934-35. It was due to its previous commendable function as the city administration that this site was chosen. From a historical and architectural viewpoint it is one of the most significant Moravian buildings as from 1348 to 1783 it served the Moravian province independently and was inseparably linked with the fate of Bmo city, the land of Moravia and the whole country. Belonging to some of the older rooms which make up the New Town hall complex and which are used by Bmo city council are the former cross-shaped corridor and the chapter hall of the Dominican Monastery. They are some of the oldest buildings in Brno linked to the development of the city.

Аdress: Dominikanske nam. 1, 60167 Brno