Yes Yes… Prague It is a charming city and possibly the first that comes to mind when we talk about Czech Republic. However, Brno, the second largest metropolis in the country, has what we usually call “exotic beauty”. This city is like the result of putting a bit of medieval history in a shaker, as well as the Second World War, a lot of culture, art, good food and very peculiar bars. Here we tell you a little about exploring the city.
Getting to Brno from Prague is easy: you can do it by train called Regiojet. Ticket prices start at $10 for a two and a half hour trip. The other option is three hours by bus, from the ÚAN Florenc station.
The nerve center of Brno is Liberty Square, where commerce harmonizes with architecture and all types of activities. The restaurants around the square set up tables and chairs for diners and tourists.
One of them is Kebab King and, as their name suggests, they prepare kebabs. The curious thing is that this place is right in the building that was once the home of the physicist. George Placzekwho, from 1943 to 1946, was one of the group leaders of the Manhattan Project—headed by Major General Leslie Groves and the American physicist Robert Oppenheimer—, which developed the nuclear bombs used against Japan during World War II.
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On one side of the plaza stands a piece of polished black granite: the Brno Astronomical Clock. They intended it to be in the shape of a bullet, but, in the end, the people of Brunei found it in the shape of a vibrator and that’s what they affectionately call it.
It is a work carried out by Oldrich Rujbr and Petr Kameník. Every day, at 11:00 a.m., it ejects a small glass sphere that falls through one of the four openings in the clock. It is highly coveted as a souvenir.
Each of the pieces is designed by the artist Jaroslav Svoboda and created by hand by glass artists led by Lukas Werner.
A few meters from La Plaza is the St. James’s Church. The surprising thing about this one is right below. These are the skeletal remains of more than 50 thousand people, carefully placed in an artistic manner to project figures and shadows.
He Brno ossuary It is the second largest in Europe, after Paris. And, although it dates back to the 17th century, it was discovered in 2001 and was opened to the public until 2012.
As you descend the stairs that lead to the historic catacombs, the light diminishes. The walls, columns and arches become bone. It is said that the remains were placed under the church when it ran out of space for disposal in the cemetery.
The skeletons speak and, thanks to their pigmentation, tell the causes of death of their owners. The yellowish bones reveal that those humans lost their lives to cholera, while the reddish ones died from the plague.
The ossuary is divided into different, dimly lit rooms and corridors that visitors can explore. One of the highlights is the cross-shaped corridor, where the bones have been arranged symmetrically. If you are interested in visiting this place, please note that you can only do so in small groups and with a licensed tour guide. The tours offer a unique perspective on the history of the church and the ultimate fate of many of its former inhabitants.
(Keep reading: These are the countries you can visit for more than 3 months with a tourist visa only.)
Vegetable market (Cabbage Market) is one of the favorite meeting points among Bruneians. It is an open-air fruit, vegetable, flower and craft market that dates back to the Middle Ages. Surrounding the square you will find picturesque cafes and restaurants.
In the center stands out the Fountain of Parnassus, built between 1690 and 1695, with a design by the Austrian architect and sculptor Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, who was greatly influenced by Baroque art. At the base Hercules appears holding Cerberus with a chain, and at the top there is a statue of the goddess Europa.
To one side stands the Reduta Theater. It is the oldest in Central Europe and in which the German composer Mozart gave a concert when I was 11 years old.
In the Collina Petrov is erected Cathedral of Saints Peter and Saints Paul. This Gothic-style temple from the 13th century has a pair of 83-meter-high towers. If you endure the climb and reach the top, you will have a spectacular postcard of the city.
The bells traditionally have to ring at 12:00 p.m. However, this church plays them at 11:00, as legend has it that after several months of the Swedish siege during the Thirty Years’ War, the leader of the Nordic troops, Lennart Torstenson, promised to withdraw on August 15, when he heard the bells. It is said that the residents found out about this and, therefore, played them ahead of time.
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The sun sets and the streets are illuminated with neon lights emanating from the bars. Young people are the owners of the night. Students forget about school and their homework, they just want to have fun, raise a couple of beers with their friends and shout at the top of their lungs ‘Na zdravi’! (health).
Of course, Brno must provide recreation for the almost 90 thousand students of the 33 higher education faculties that are based there. Bars are the preferred spaces in a country that has the highest rate of beer consumption per capita per year (182 liters).
We share four bars that you should know:
– Beer Exchange: The concept of this bar is very different from other traditional establishments. It operates under the model of a stock exchange. The price of beers changes in real time, depending on demand and supply. When you enter the bar they lend you an electronic card that allows you to order beers. On the bar’s screens, you’ll see a list of beers with their prices, which fluctuate depending on how many people are ordering them. When someone orders a particular beer, its price increases slightly, and when demand decreases, the price drops.
– Jekyll & Hyde Bar: If you love classic movies and creative cocktails, look no further. Louis Stevenson, author of the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, is present in every corner of this place, as intriguing as it is mysterious. His cocktails are the hallmark of the house, since they are cared for to perfection and with top-notch ingredients. As a suggestion, he should try ‘Attempt No. 6, Afternoon Tea’, a drink served with “crisp powder”, which is not only a tea bag, it also represents the soul splitting of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde .
– The bar that doesn’t exist: There are three floors of creative freedom on the bars. The bartenders are professionals and do their best to please the customers who crowd around them so as not to miss the way they prepare the cocktails. Quite a performance. Elegant crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling and Chester sofas are everywhere. The food menu is small, but you can’t go wrong with whatever you’re craving. Here the burgers are king.
– La Gaviota Terrace: If you are looking for a rumba and Latin atmosphere, you have come to the right place. A traditional vat or a caipirinha are classics that you can try while enjoying an exceptional view of the center of Brno.
Brno has everything and is a city that can be enjoyed both day and night, offering options for different budgets and intentions.
Its essence of modernity and freshness, immersed in a “classic European” setting, make it a city that should not be ignored, for anything in the world, on a visit to the Czech Republic.
Stay in Brno
The Czech Republic does not require a visa for Colombians for short-term stays. To get to Brno, the price range for plane tickets is $2,480,000 Colombian pesos, with a stopover in Prague. Accommodation in a three-star hotel ranges between $167,000 and $220,000 pesos. While a luxury hotel costs approximately $390,000. The value of a ticket for public transportation within the city is $5,000.
EL UNIVERSAL (MEXICO) – GDA