Building Heritage in Brno
by Lili Eylon
In the heart of Europe, Brno is proud of its architectural reminders of the past, many of which are being revitalized today. Modernist buildings of the 1920s and 30s, including the Tugendhadt Villa by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, are receiving renewed international attention and inspiring new construction.
The second largest city in the Czech Republic, Brno was first inhabited some 70,000 years ago and today is home to 400,000 inhabitants. Serene and industrious, it boasts a rich architectural tradition.
Many cathedrals and monasteries built in the Middle Ages still survive. In the 15th century, Anthony Pilgram, who built St. Stephen's Church in Vienna, erected in Brno the Gothic St. James Church and the sculpted portal in the tower of the Old Town Hall.
An ancient fortress-castle used as a prison under Napoleon and, later, the Nazis, is now a museum. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Baroque buildings mushroomed; they are still admired for the skill of their creators.
Buildings from the 19th century abound, especially in downtown Brno. One example is the Hotel Slavia, built by architect Antonin Blazek in 1893 and enlarged in 1902.
Another example is The Klein Palais, a single-family residence on Independence Square, designed by Viennese architects Forster and Hansen in 1847 in the richly decorated neo-renaissance style. Because the Klein family owned ironworks in northern Moravia, cast iron was widely used on the building's facade in windows and oriels.
Reconstructed in 1999 as a rental headquarters for the Credit Lyonnais Bank, The Klein Palais is unrivaled among Brno's 19th century buildings.
The Hotel Slavia, built by architect Antonin Blazek in 1893, was enlarged in 1902 by its owner in the Art Nouveau style.
Photo: Jan Tachezy
The Klein Palais is one of Brno's most celebrated buildings from the 19th century.
Photo: Department for the Preservation of Monuments in Brno
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