Brno's galleries and museums beckon art lovers

Brno is hoping to become a European Capital of Culture in 2028; but you don't have to wait. Here's a list of venues to visit in Czechia's second city. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 30.08.2022 15:49:00 (updated on 31.08.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

The title of European Capital of Culture is granted annually by the European Union to one or more European cities, which have the opportunity to present their cultural life and its development throughout the year.

This year the Czech Republic’s second city, Brno, is making a bid to become the European Capital of Culture for the year 2028. While the city is known as a center of the wine region and, more recently, as a tech hub, its art scene is often overlooked.

Visitors don’t have to wait until 2028 to see some of what makes Brno a world-class cultural center. The city boasts several museums and galleries worth checking out, as well as the National Theatre in Brno, with its own opera and ballet troupes, and the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, which performs classical as well as modern music.

From Baroque columns and fountains to the modern and somewhat controversial clock that was supposed to look like a bullet but reminds people of something else, there's also no shortage of art adorning the streets of Brno.

We’ve rounded up some of the most notable cultural venues to check out in Brno.

Moravian Museum: Like the National Museum in Prague, the Moravian Museum (Moravské zemské muzeum) is more than just one building. The main venues are the Baroque-style Dietrichstein Palace and the Bishop’s Courtyard. Exhibitions cover prehistory through modern times, including treasures from the era of the Great Moravian Empire. Other notable venues are the Anthropos Pavilion, with a life-size model of a mammoth, and the Palace of Noble Ladies, which hosts short-term exhibitions and has a chapel and historical murals.

Mammoth model at the Anthropos Pavilion. Photo: Wikimedia commons, public domain
Mammoth model at the Anthropos Pavilion. Photo: Wikimedia commons, public domain.

Moravian Gallery: This group of buildings covers all of the visual arts, and admission to the permanent exhibits is free. Short-term shows still have a fee. The main venues are the Museum of Applied Arts and Pražák Palace, both on Husova Street. The former has furniture, glass, ceramics, metalwork, and textiles, while the latter has 20th-century art. Another venue, the Governor’s Palace has art from medieval times up to the 19th century.

'medusa' by Peter Paul Rubens at the Moravian Gallery in Brno. Photo: Moravská galerie v Brně
'medusa' by Peter Paul Rubens at the Moravian Gallery in Brno. Photo: Moravská galerie v Brně

Museum of the City of Brno: The dominant feature of the Brno skyline is the Špilberk castle, which has been undergoing a large renovation. Highlights include the prison cells that housed enemies of the state, artifacts and documents from the first mention of the city up to modern times, sculptures and stonework in the renovated underground reservoirs, and an overview of historical fireworks. The city museum also administers the Tugendhat Villa, an example of modern architecture that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and often sell out.

Špilberk castle in twilight. Photo: iStock, sumak77
Špilberk castle in twilight. Photo: iStock, sumak77

Museum of Romani Culture: The only museum dedicated to the culture of the Roma was established in 1991, making it a relative newcomer. Muzeum romské kultury has been very active in not only preserving the past, including raising awareness of the mass murders of Roma during World War II, but also in presenting cultural events that help to keep the Roma legacy alive.

Mendel Museum: The science of genetics had its birth in Brno. Gregor Johann Mendel, a monk, did his experiments at a monastery that is now part of Masaryk University. The museum, established in 2002, gives an overview of Mendel’s life and work as well as its lasting impact.

Technical Museum in Brno: A fittingly modern building houses everything from clocks to planes. There is also an overview of computer technology, optics, mechanized music, and a functioning panorama of stereoscopic images. The museum also oversees several technical monuments

Three city representatives are making a 200-kilometer bicycle trip to deliver the application for the first round to the Czech Ministry of Culture on Wednesday. Whether Brno will advance to the second round will be clear on Oct. 14. Information about the bid is available on a dedicated website.

At least three other Czech cities are hoping to get the title: České Budějovice, Liberec, and Broumov. Past Czech European culture capitals have included Prague in 2000 and Plzeň in 2015. It will be Czechia's turn once again in 2028, together with France.

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