The Czech Republic’s second city, Brno may not match Prague for size and scale, but it had more than enough to fill a day trip from Bratislava, just one and a half hours away by train. It felt like a bustling lived in city rather than the tourist traps of Prague and Bratislava Old Towns. Also while it had the usual castles, churches, museums and heritage buildings, it also had a few more unique things to see.
Starting with the unnerving Brno Ossuary underneath Saint James Church. The second largest catacombs in Europe (after those in Paris), they were claustrophobically fascinating. Contemplating your mortality in dark airless tunnels was an experience. I was glad to return to fresh air and light afterwards.
The church itself above is relatively plain but light filled, with towering slender columns.
Something completely different about 5km north of the city centre, best reached by the no. 12 tram. While the Brno Technical Museum wasn’t as impressive as the National Technical Museum in Prague, it somehow had an even more diverse collection. I particularly enjoyed the history of computing, from Tesla and IBM mainframes with transistors and tape machines, to the home computers of the eighties (Commodore 64 and Atari). It also had cars and motorbikes, cameras and clocks, swords and daggers, dental equipment and scientific equipment, and steam engines and jet engines! Staff or volunteers also seemed to outnumber visitors about five to one, thankfully they didn’t ask me anything in Czech…
Like Prague and Bratislava, Brno has it’s own castle on a hill, Špilberk Castle, which was probably the most enjoyable of the three. Mainly due to it being by far the quietest. It also had some funky doors, and great views over the city, though I got a shock in the tower when the bells unseen above my head rang loudly!
There were more views from the tower of the Old Town Hall, along with this unexpected crocodile!
There were plenty of impressive churches in Brno, my favourite being the stunning Church of St. Josef.
The Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary was also rather wonderful.
My final set of city views came from the tower of the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, though the interior was less exciting than expected.
To finish with the usual assortment of beautiful buildings, nicely preserved and pleasingly full of life here.