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Brno (bûrˈnô), Ger. Brünn, city, SE Czech Republic, at the confluence of the Svratka and Svitava rivers. It is the second largest city of the Czech Republic and the chief city of Moravia. Brno is an industrial center known for its international trade fairs and for its textile and metal manufactures. The famous Bren gun, later made in Enfield, England, was developed in Brno. Tourism is also economically important.

Originally the site of a Celtic settlement, Brno grew between two hills, one of which, the Spielberg (Czech špilberk), had a castle known in the 11th cent. The city became part of the kingdom of Bohemia, whose king, Ottocar I, confirmed Brno's ancient charter, a model of liberal town government, in 1229. King Wenceslaus I made it a free city by royal decree in 1243, and Brno flourished in the 13th and 14th cent. In the Hussite Wars it sided with the Roman Catholic Church. The city was besieged in 1645 by the Swedes and served as headquarters for Napoleon I during the battle of Austerlitz in 1805. The Spielberg castle, which was captured by Hapsburg forces during the Thirty Years War, became (1740–1855) their most notorious political prison. Franz von der Trenck and Silvio Pellico (who described it in Le mie prigioni) were its most celebrated inmates. In the 19th cent. Brno became one of the foremost manufacturing towns of the Austrian empire. Most Germans were expelled from the city after World War II.

Brno's landmarks include the cathedral (15th cent.), the old and new town halls, several fine Gothic and baroque churches, and Mies van der Rohe's classic modernist Villa Tugendhat (1930). Masaryk Univ. (founded 1919), Beneš Technical College, a music conservatory, and several fine museums are also located in the city.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in Czechoslovakia located at the confluence of the Svitava and Svratka rivers at the juncture of the Českomoravská Highlands and the fertile Jíhomoravská Plain. Second most populous city in the country (after Prague). Administrative center of the south Moravian region (Czech Socialist Republic). Population, 335,000 (1968).

Brno was first mentioned (as a castle) in the 11th century. From the late 11th century it was a center of the appanage principalities of the Přemyslovů and in the late 12th century it was the residence of the Margrave of Moravia. In 1243 it received the privilege of being a “free royal city.” In the period of Hapsburg dominion over the Czech Lands (1526-1918), Brno (Brünn in German) was the administrative, economic, and cultural center of Moravia. From the late 19th century it was one of the centers of the labor movement. In 1899, the Brünn Program was adopted at the congress of the Austrian Social Democratic Party at Brno. The city has been part of Czechoslovakia since 1918. It was heavily damaged during the fascist German occupation. On Apr. 26, 1945, the Soviet Army liberated the city.

Brno is one of the leading economic centers of the country. Its economic growth was promoted by its geographic location, which favored trade. The working of small, local coal deposits was also important to the city. Brno is an important transportation junction for six railroad lines. It is second to the capital city in machine construction, primarily of heavy machinery. The city produces mainly chemical equipment, turbines, electrical engineering goods, machine tools, ball bearings, tractors, calculating machines, and precision instruments. Other developed industries are textiles (mainly woolens), food processing, woodworking, furniture, cement, and printing.

An international industrial fair is held annually in Brno; its major pavilions were built in 1926-28. The general exhibition space is 520,000 sq m and includes a 75,000-sq m covered area. Brno has a branch of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, J. E. Purkynē University, and the L. Janáček Academy of Music. Among the city’s museums are the Moravian, Industrial Arts, National Technical, and the City Museum. The scientist G. Mendel conducted his experiments in the Augustinian monastery in Brno.

The central part of the city forms its historical nucleus. The industrial districts are in the northeast and southeast (Židenice, Královo Pole, Líšeň, Husovice, and others). East of the hill with the Spilberk Castle (13th-18th centuries) are the districts of the old city and the Low, Fish, and Vegetable markets with a fountain (the early 18th century; architect, J. B. Fischer von Erlach). The Gothic cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul has been preserved (13th-20th centuries), as well as the churches of St. James (13th-16th centuries), St. Thomas (14th-17th centuries), and St. Jan (14th-18th centuries), the city hall with its Gothic portal (13th-16th centuries), Renaissance homes, and baroque palaces, churches, monasteries, and fountains and statuary on the squares. Buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries are located beyond the ring of boulevards built in the 1860’s on the site of the city’s fortifications. A general plan for Brno was worked out after 1945, and new districts are being developed (Lesna, Juliánov, and Nové Brno), as well as public buildings (the International Hotel, an opera theater, administrative buildings, and new pavilions for the international industrial fair).


Brno: Putevoditel’. Prague, 1958.
Khiskii, I., M. Skal’nik, and V. Adamets. Putevoditel’ po Chekhoslovakii. Prague, 1965. Pages 251-54.
Wagner, J. Špilberk. Brno, 1961.
Brno v minulosti a dnes [vols.] 1-8. Brno, 1959-66.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a city in the Czech Republic; formerly the capital of Moravia: the country's second largest city. Pop.: 375 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The final chapter, The Brno National Theatre's farewell to Janacek, provides inspiring and entirely new information.
One of the book's significant fortes is the appendices following the mentioned chapters: the list of chairpersons of the Society of the Czech National Theatre in Brno (1881-1928); the list of NDB directors (1884-1928); the list of performances of Janacek's operas at the NDB (1884-.1928); the glossary of selected figures; the list of abbreviations and literature; the list of pictorial materials; and the index of persons.
"Not many people know zis, but Arnold Schwarzenegger vas in fact my first love," Brno whispers as his hand slides onto my knee.
With his film set to make him a Hollywood star, can Brno expect his life to get even more exotic?
Makeover finished, I leave Brno preening in front of the mirror and two days later walk as proudly as I can down the red carpet hosting the movie's West End premiere.
TEARING A STRIP OFF: Brno is appalled at Alun's all-over body hair and decides a severe waxing is the only answer BELT UP: Brno puts our Alun in his place
Some are plain easy targets, but Brno is at its most hilarious when it is at its most politically incorrect.
Best bits include Brno's Madonna/Angelina Jolieinspired adoption of an African baby he names OJ and parades on an all-blacTV show, his attempt to mediate peace in the Middle East by pointing out that "hummus" and "Hamas" sound alike, and his brutal introduction to the world of swinging and a busty blonde who is very keen to whip him.
Naked ambition ...Brno in various poses on his quest for fame Crawl of the wild ...Baron Cohen as Brno in leather Laughterh|sen...
The theatre tried to extract itself from economic crisis by appealing to a national spirit--anyone who feels for the nation will become our subscriber: "Are you already subscriber to the United German Theatres in Brno?" ("Sind Sie schon Stammsitzmieter der Vereinigten Deutschen Theater in Brunn?") or "The strongest unity of the Brno German community will be ensured by its theatre!" ("Den starkesten ZusammenschluB des Brunner Deutschtums bringt sein Theater zustande!") (1929/30).
Hitler's favourite Franz Lehar became the most frequently performed operetta composer, and actually visited Brno several times in the course of the war.
In Brno as elsewhere, music societies and choirs played an important part in musical life.