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(bûr`nô), Ger. Brünn, city (1991 pop. 388,296), 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 MoraviaMoravia
, Czech Morava, Ger. Mähren, region in the E Czech Republic. The region is bordered on the W by Bohemia, on the E by the Little and White Carpathian Mts., which divide it from Slovakia, and on the N by the Sudetes Mts.
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. 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 BohemiaBohemia,
Czech Čechy, historic region (20,368 sq mi/52,753 sq km) and former kingdom, in W and central Czech Republic. Bohemia is bounded by Austria in the southeast, by Germany in the west and northwest, by Poland in the north and northeast, and by Moravia in the
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, 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 WarsHussite Wars,
series of conflicts in the 15th cent., caused by the rise of the Hussites in Bohemia and Moravia. It was a religious struggle between Hussites and the Roman Catholic Church, a national struggle between Czechs and Germans, and a social struggle between the landed
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 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 WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War

There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
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, 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 RoheMies van der Rohe, Ludwig
, 1886–1969, German-American architect. A pioneer of modern architecture and one of its most influential figures, he is famous for his minimalist architectural dictum "less is more." In Germany, he was an assistant to Peter Behrens.
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'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