The Seed of a City
A little over 1000 years ago, a settlement was built on the Svratka River. It was from this settlement that the city of Brno took its name and from this settlement that the city grew to become the capital of South Moravia today.
Today, the district of Brno where that settlement was located is known as Staré Brno (Old Brno) and spreads south-west from the city centre. Staré Brno covers a sizable area and, typical to any city district anywhere, some parts are much more photogenic and of interest to visitors than others. The good news for the visitor is that the most interesting section of the area is directly connected to the centre and can easily be accessed on foot or by tram from the centre.
Starting at the Square
If you’re coming to the district from outside of the centre, the logical place to start a walking tour would be Mendel Square (Mendlovo Náměstí) as many public transport lines converge there making it very easy to access.
On Mendel Square, you can find the Mendel Museum which highlights the work Johann Gregor Mendel did to establish genetic theory and the laws of heredity; the museum is part of the Augustinian abbey where Mendel did that work. Attached to the abbey is the gothic style Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady.
Also on Mendel Square is the Starobrno brewery which offers tours, tastings and has a restaurant.
Out From Mendel Square
In this section, I will outline my main recommendation for a walking tour in the more photogenic section of Old Brno.
From Mendel Square, depending on the level of exertion you wish to put in, you can walk along either Úvoz or Pekařská streets and then travel along Pellicova street.
Pekařská has more shops, restaurants and cafes on it than Úvoz; but it is also on much more of an incline. To save energy, starting on Úvoz will ensure that Pekařská will be on the downhill leg of your walk.
While Úvoz street is the least picturesque segment of the route, there are some nice building facades along it to take in. Follow Úvoz until you reach the junction it makes with Gorazdova. Gorazdova street has some quite nice looking buildings at this junction, following Gorazdova will also take you to Pellicova street.
Where Pellicova and Gorazdova converge, you will find St. Vaclav’s church with its golden dome. From the convergence, Gorazdova continues up towards Špilberk Fortress through the park that surrounds it while Pellicova runs along the south-west perimeter of the park.
Pellicova is a quiet, largely residential street with several nice facades to view. As the buildings are mostly residential or for businesses first and formost, please be respectful of them as private properties while looking or taking pictures.
A right turn and a short walk from where Pellicova meets Husova street will put you at the top of Pekařská street which has a selection of restaurants, cafes and pubs to suit a variety of tastes. At the bottom of Pekařská, you will find yourself back at Mendel Square.
Other Aspects of the District
Apart from the circuit I’ve outlined above, there are a few other spots in Staré Brno that may be worth your while looking into depending on your interests.
If you like Functionalist architecture, there are a few examples of it along Tvrdého street which makes up the northern border of the district and Tomešova street which branches from it. Tvrdého can be accessed from Úvoz street.
At the very south extreme of the area, the junction of Nové Sady and Poříčí street, you will find the city’s professional hockey arena. While this area is not photogenic at all, there are some spots in the immediate vicinity where you can get a reasonably unobstructed photo of Brno’s signature St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral.
Here is some historical information about the early years of Brno:
The Mendel Museum will come across as rather esoteric for anyone without a keen interest in genetic theory and heredity studies. If you wish to visit, all the information there is bilingual in Czech and English:
This is the page of the Augustinian abbey with plenty of multilingual information about it and the basilica:
Here is a summary of the Starobrno brewery, what it offers and contact information for booking tours:
Here’s a map link showing the general area and streets: