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Go to the capital of Moravia and the Czech Republic’s second city hoping to discover a continuation of Prague’s Gothic glory, and you’ll come away disappointed. Brno is a touch more subtle than the in-your-face capital — here you have to dig a bit deeper and turn a few more doorknobs to discover the heart of this city of 400,000. Although Brno’s beginnings go back to at least the 11th century, it's the 20th-century architecture here that’s most worth seeking out. A rash of functionalist structures appeared across the city in the interwar years, the most prominent of which is the UNESCO-listed Villa Tugendhat, one of the finest examples of ...

Go to the capital of Moravia and the Czech Republic’s second city hoping to discover a continuation of Prague’s Gothic glory, and you’ll come away disappointed. Brno is a touch more subtle than the in-your-face capital — here you have to dig a bit deeper and turn a few more doorknobs to discover the heart of this city of 400,000. Although Brno’s beginnings go back to at least the 11th century, it's the 20th-century architecture here that’s most worth seeking out. A rash of functionalist structures appeared across the city in the interwar years, the most prominent of which is the UNESCO-listed Villa Tugendhat, one of the finest examples of modern architecture anywhere and a truly revolutionary concept when first built by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1929. Otherwise, the city center is an eclectic mix of Gothic/Baroque churches, attention-grabbing museums and galleries and some worthwhile shopping. Above the scene rise two hilltop structures that dominate the Brno skyline: the Cathedral of Sts. Peter & Paul is featured on the Czech ten-crown coin and provides panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside; Špilberk Castle has little to rival Prague Castle but it does house Brno’s municipal museum.

Marc Di Duca
About the Expert

Marc Di Duca has written and updated more than 40 guides, mainly for Lonely Planet but also for AA, Thomas Cook, Berlitz and Bradt. Having spent the last 20 years exploring the former communist world, his main field of expertise is Eastern Europe and Siberia.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Administrative center of the South Moravian Region in southeastern Czech Republic.
  • Language: Czech
  • Currency: Czech Koruna
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring to autumn