The Welcome Week for the new incoming international students will take place next week. So, many of you have probably already arrived or maybe just started to pack your luggage, trying not to forget anything important at home. Well, that is the right time, to begin with the first blog article of the new academic year, don’t you think?!
You will have enough time to discover your new substitute home on your own or during our ESN events throughout the semester. But for now, you can read a little summary of Brno and get even more excited about your stay!
The Czech Republic is divided into three historical parts – Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. Prague, as the capital city of the country, is also the capital of the Bohemia region. You will stay in Brno, that is the capital city of the second biggest region, Moravia. This region (especially its southern part) is known for the wine production. Oh, what? Didn’t you know that there is also wine production in the Czech Republic? Well, get ready for it. Even French visitors praise our wines.
Anyway – BRNO! The second-largest city of the country with a population of around 380 000 inhabitants is situated on the confluence of the rivers Svitava and Svratka, in the southern part of Moravian region. According to a worldwide student survey, Brno is said to be the 6th best student city in the world for the year 2019 (https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings-articles/qs-best-student-cities/top-10-student-cities-according-students-2019?fbclid=IwAR1RMnca0fpNPswpfZlWL87touJAgVcOkJoYWFO_iHesoMEl33rP5yQMqg0), and we totally agree with that!
There are several architectural icons of the city. We will mention these:
The Špilberk Castle was established in the 13th century by a Czech king Přemysl Otakar II. It’s built partly in Gothic, partly in Baroque style and it is located at the top of a hill in the central part of the city. There are picturesque views of Brno, and we recommend you to take a walk there!
The Villa Tugendhat is the only UNESCO sight in Brno, and you can find it near the Mendel University. It is a functionalistic architectural work of a German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe from the 1930s.
You can also find the Veveří Castle in the North-west of Brno, approx. 12 kilometres from the city centre. The first written source comes from 1213. It’s built in the Gothic/Renaissance style, and according to a legend, twelve silver sculptures of Apostles is hidden somewhere around the castle.
The Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul, or as we often call it - Petrov, is a Baroque pearl of Brno and it’s on a list of the national cultural heritage. Its origins come from the 11th century, and you can find it in the very centre of Brno. Interesting fact: you can also find Petrov on a 10 CZK coin.
Regarding the cultural life in Brno, there is a lot to mention. There are many theatres, museums and other cultural institutions in the city. During the whole year, you can find various music, food, wine or beer festivals, in the centre, some of which include traditional music and clothing. Anyway, there are several cultural events that we have to mention.
The popular festival called Brno – City in the Centre of Europe, takes place annually at the turn of May and June. It includes many events organised at important sites in Brno. The best-known and most visited of them is the traditional international fireworks show accompanied by music, called Ignis Brunensis, which is the biggest firework show in central Europe.
Theatre World Brno is one of the greatest and most prestigious theatre festivals in central Europe. It benefits from the advantageous location of the city of Brno, which lies between Bratislava and Vienna, as well as the unique year-round cooperation and facilities of Brno’s theatres.
Since 2001, the festival of Hot Air Balloon Flying called Balloon Jam has been taking place. Multiple hot air balloons gather above Brno to enjoy the stunning views of the region.
As well as every other city, also Brno has its own legends and tales. The most well-known is the one about the Brno Dragon. There are several versions of this legend. The most popular goes something like this: a Dragon made Brno his home and threatened the citizens and all of its livestock.
Merchants stopped coming to the city to sell, and women stopped going to the market. The plan to kill the dragon was thought up long before somebody brave enough to go through it came along or before a master plan was created.
Luckily, one day, a butcher who was travelling through Brno volunteered. The courageous butcher created a trap to get rid of the Dragon. The trap was a sac made of fur (ox or sheep) and filled with lime. The dragon became very thirsty after eating this fur and lime, and after drinking too much water from the river, his stomach expanded with the lime inside, and it burst! The citizens celebrated the victory by preserving the dragon. Now, we can see it hanging at the Old Town Hall – and you might notice, this dragon looks a lot like a crocodile.
Another legend is about the deformed phial of the Old Town Hall. One version says Master Antonin Pilgrim was hired to build a portal to the Old Town Hall. When he didn’t get paid for his hard work, he deformed one phial by bending the small middle steeple, as a reminder of corrupt morals of councillors. However, another version simply says he was too drunk to get the job done right.
There are many more things to say about your new home. Nevertheless, we will keep the rest for you to discover during your stay so: READY, STEADY, COME!