Close to the centre of Brno there is a hill that for seven centuries has been called Kraví hora (Cow Hill). Long time ago there was a vineyard, but they say the local wine was not good at all. And until the mid 20th century you could see cows grazing here.
Then the hill started changing into a nice city park. And on the top of it the Brno Observatory and Planetarium grew up. In 1954 it was just a small observatory, then it got a small planetarium in 1959 and finally a big building was built in 1991.
And it has been so till now. If you get lucky with nice weather, you can meet a lot of people during the festival enjoying the Sun in the park around. Not far from us, there is a swimming pool with an indoor pool and even a baseball field. And just a five minute walk from the Brno Observatory and Planetarium you will find a very good restaurant, which is naturally named the Monte Boo.
What technology can you look forward to in here, now? We completed a major reconstruction in 2011 and digitalized our planetarium in 2014. For the fulldome festival we have prepared a hybrid planetarium with a star ball GOTO Chronos II, 2D projection system 4k RSA Cosmos (two JVC projectors) and projection screen Spitz NanoSeam, diameter 16.8 m. The planetarium hall can seat 189 people.
Furthermore, the dome contains the 2D 4k Front Pictures company projection system, connected to the digital projectors. The source of the projection can seamlessly be switched between the two systems (RSA Cosmos and Front Pictures company).
In our building you can also find a small projection planetarium ZKP-1 from the company Carl Zeiss Jena in a dome with a diameter of 8.5 meters, which has been continuously in operation since 1959.
The interactive hall and its exposition called the Story of the Solar System will provide you with a modern view of the vicinity of our planet. There are interactive exhibits, large-scale illustrations and samples of extraterrestrial rocks and fossils.
In front of the building there is a new Science Trail Exposition. From morning till night, from dusk till dawn, from Monday till Sunday, visitors of all ages can explore the world around them with their own eyes, ears and hands. In the vicinity of an old water reservoir from the 1930’s you can find several interactive exhibits such as a kaleidoscope, pixel wall, sound tube, gravity gauge and spectroscope.
We are also an observatory. So we have as many as three observation stations fitted with various telescopes – both historical and modern with an objective lens diameter of up to 30 centimeters.
In 2014 we had 145,000 visitors, of which roughly 40 percent were school excursions and 60 percent the public (around 100,000 in the Planetarium, 10,000 in the Observatory, 15,000 in the Exploratorium hall, 20,000 in outdoor activities). Our typical visitor is less than 26 years old. An average ticket price is EUR 3.5. The Brno Observatory and Planetarium is owned by the city of Brno, which contributes to its operation (about 50 percent of the annual budget).
Brno is the second biggest city of the Czech Republic and at the same time the centre of the South Moravian Region. It is situated about 200 km east of Prague and 120 km north of Vienna. The population of Brno is 400 thousand and there are 90 thousand university students studying at 14 universities!
Brno is not a tourist town, but there are a lot of nice cafés and pubs with reasonable prices.
Currently, City of Brno offers a range of cultural events at theatres, museums, galleries, cinemas and clubs. Of the many sports events of international significance, most visitors are attracted to the city by the motorcycle Grand Prix – a World Motorcycle Championship.
City of Brno is also the cultural capital of the region, as it hosts a number of significant cultural events each year. Worth mentioning certainly are music festivals of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, the Theatre World Festival and the fireworks competition Ignis Brunensis with more than 100,000 visitors a year.
Reduta Theatre is the oldest theatre building in Central Europe, and Mahen Theatre is the first theatre in the entire Europe which was illuminated by Thomas Edison’s electric light bulbs (in that time, it was only four years old invention).
The city center is full of historical buildings, old churches, theaters, fountains, sculptures, clubs, restaurants, etc. It is very compact, so one can just walk around most of the places of interest.
Špilberk Castle is formerly the major royal castle in Moravia, the seat of the Margraves of Moravia (Moravian rulers), and once the seat of the King of the Holy Roman Empire (King Jobst of Moravia). Later it became a famous fortress which for a long time was used as one of the most feared prisons in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Many people have been tortured here from all around Europe, mostly during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The city of Brno has become not only Czech but also Central European centre of education, science, research and innovation. A number of research projects and centres of excellence in science arise here, for which the city can offer skilled workforce. There are around 85,000 university students in Brno, a city with 400,000 inhabitants, it makes it the country’s largest student city by percentage of population.
The city of Brno is a place where famous people like the founder of genetics Gregor Mendel, composer Leoš Janáček and engineer Viktor Kaplan lived and worked. It is the birthplace of the physicist Ernst Mach and mathematician Kurt Gödel.
Although you can find a small historical centre here, the most significant buildings scattered throughout the city come from the 1920’s and 1930’s built in the functionalist style. They are dominated by the Villa of Greta and Fritz Tugendhat from the years 1929–1930, designed by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It is the only exemplar of modern architecture in the Czech Republic included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.
Another interesting place to visit is the Brno underground. Right in the city centre you can find a charnel house with over 50 thousand human remains. While in the square Zelný trh there is a labyrinth with an exposition of how we lived in the Middle Ages.
And you must not miss the Brno Horologe, nicknamed a little impolitely as the Phallus Clock. It is a memorial of the brave defenders of the city of Brno against the Swedish armies in 1645.
Facts & figures
- Location between Vienna, Prague and Bratislava
- The second largest city in the Czech Republic with ca. 400 000 inhabitants
- Political, industrial and business centre of South Moravia
- Important infrastructure hub (railway, highway, air)
- City with a strong historical tradition
- Modern, dynamic and fast developing centre of industry, trade, science, information technology, research and innovation
- University center with ca. 85 000 students
- Home of the supreme bodies of the Czech judiciary
- Home of the Brno Exhibition Centre (BVV)
- Heritage sights (Tugendhat Villa – UNESCO)
- Shopping centers and leisure time services
- Beautiful natural environment
- A Czech Trove of Minimalist Design – The New York Times
- Top 10 European travel destinations for 2013 – The Lonely Planet
- Czech out the prices in Brno – The Guardian
- A center of Czech innovation – The Prague Post
- 52 Places to Go in 2016 – New York Times