The area above Brno is dominated by the magnificent Hrad Spilberk or Spielberg Castle, the history of which is fascinating. It is now also home to the Brno City Museum. The complex is in several parts, so let's go through them. Before I begin, I should say that the place is very photogenic and I developed rather a camera frenzy. As there are only five photos per tip, I will create a travelogue for the remainder.
The first place you will encounter is the casemates (from the Latin meaning "dark house") and this houses an exhibition dealing with what was probably Spilberk's most famous function, that of a prison. Originally built in 1742 to protect men and military materiel from artillery bombardment, they changed use in 1783 as the penal system was reformed under Emperor Joseph II. This was then a place for the incarceration of the toughest criminals and, although it ceased to hold prisoners in the early 19th century, it continued as a military prison until the mid 20th century. At one time, sp many prisoners were held here from all over Europe that it was nicknamed "the prison of nations".
Another thing you will see is a Baroque Pharmacy, founded by Franciscan nuns in 1750 to service the attached charitable hospital. These nuns had travelled from Vienna to inhabit the convent built nearby the year before. The nuns, however, were only reviving a very ancient tradition as there are records of a pharmacy nearby dating back as far as 1342.
Another fine Baroque building in the complex is the Chapel of the Holiest Trinity, established n 1693 by Police General Jan Vilem, Count of Zinzendorf and Pottendorf. Given the penal nature of the place, the chapel was mainly used for the spiritual needs of the inmates and their guards. Later other soldiers, those of Nazi Germany, occupied the Castle in the Second World War and desecrated it considerabley. It was only restored after the War, although a stone carving of a swastika remains.
As if the views from the hill overlooking the city were not spectacular enough, it is possible to view the surrounding area from an even higher vantage point by climbing the aptly named Viewing Tower. It is worth it although check the attached website for opening times as they vary depending on the season.
From the heights to the depths, you can also view the Spielberk Well, an impressive 40 metres deep, which made it one of the deepest in the region. Having been there for a long time previously, by 1711 it was drying up and miners had to be brought to deepen it considerably. If you stand here and imagine that they excavated to the level of the river far below, it will give you an idea of the scale of the task.
Although there are some other interesting permanent exhibitions here, the last attraction I am going to mention is the chime of bells in the courtyard. Not strictly historical, they are still a popular tourist draw not least because the largest of them is an impressive 220 kg. They play every hour on the hour between 0900 and 1800 and have a repertoire of 32 tunes.
No journey to Brno woould really be complete without a trip to the Castle and I do recommend it. If you do, ther is a quite complex system of admission prices for each section / exhibition you may wish to see. The attached website gives full details along with opening hours.
Špilberk Castle is a castle on the hilltop of Brno (German: Bruenn) in Southern Moraiva. Established in the mid 13 the century and consists of militar place, prison, barracks, memorial to the Italian carabineri and of course, royal castle.
Spilberk castle was built in 13. century by our king Premysl Otakar II. as a royal castle. Thank to its strategic position it became an important regional fortress. Later, the castle served as a prison, called in Habsburk monarchy "Prison of Nations". The dark corridors were made as shelters for soldiers in case of attack and also as gaol for the most dangerous prisoners. The castle was opened for public first in 1880, recently there is a museum and take place various cultural events, like concerts and exhibitions.
The castle stands on the hill, from where is an amazing view on Brno, and the whole castle is surrounded by green, where is nice to relax.
The best way to get there is going by tram to Silingrovo namesti and then walk up there.
This castle gives a couple of nice views, especially from the back side from where you can see an old town. There is an observation tower, too, and in the courtyard you find a deep well and also chimes playing a melody every whole hour. I learned that 32 melodies are in their repertoire.
Spilberk often hosts interesting exhibitions, like Old toys, History of sex, Yan Zoritchak and his glass magic, and much more every year.
Spilberk castle dates back to the 13th century. They show various exhibitions there, some are permanent, some temporal. I saw the exhibitions on ground floor, which were about the building history ("Spilberk from castle to fortress") and Spilberk "Prison of the nations". Especially the second exhibition was very interesting. They inform you about the history of the prison, about torture methods, about everyday life in prison etc. You can see some moving letters to beloved ones of prisoners during nazi occupation in 2nd world war (in german) as well. They also reconstructed prison cells. In every room you have a guide book in various languages. There was a toy exhibition on ground floor as well, which is temporal. Actually- against my first thought that this might be boring, it was quite lovely. You can see toys, dolls, doll`s houses from the 19th century till now. The interesting thing about these dolls and doll`s houses was for me that they reflect the respecting period- in regard how those dolls are dressed for example, or how the houses are furnished. There is a playing room for children. Please plan enough time for visiting Spilberk castle- there is so much information, and if you want to see everything you probably would need 2 days. From Spilberk you can enjoy some very nice views over the city as well (there is a viewing tower). You can choose, if you want to see all of the exhibitions or only certain ones- so the entrance fees vary. What I didn`t see due to the lack of time were the casemates. The exhibitions are usually open from Tuesday till Sunday from 9 till 6 p.m.- in some month they close already at 5 p.m. so please check their website for further information . The casemates are open daily in July and August.
Biskupska palac ( Bishop's palace ) is a beautifully restored complex, crafted in regional Renaissance architecture. The palace was built about 450 years ago. The palace houses the Moravian national museum. The museum contains a great collection of folk art, crafts, and Moravian clothing. It also contains a substantial recreation of a medieval village. The complex also contains a good museum of natural history.
Part of the palace complex is shown in the photo. An elegant art Nouveau palace is shown on the right. The city dominating Katedrala sv. Petra a Pavla ( Cathedral of saints Peter and Paul ) looms high directly behind the palace. The cathedral which is for the most part original, is a true flambouyant Gothic masterpiece.
Spielberg Castle ( Hrad Spilberk ) and the vast public park that oppupies most of castle hill, provides excellent views of Brno and the surrounding countryside. The ancient city of Brno which is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, was the capital city of Moravia.
The photo shows a section of Brno looking southward from one of the footpaths leading to Spielberg Castle. Shown is a mainly industrial area of this great emerging city. A recently built nuclear power plant coexists with 700 year old Gothic churches. Many of the ugly utilitarian Communist era apartment complexes are being replaced with asthetically pleasing housing units.
Spilberk is a castle with characteristic silhouette, one of important dominants of the town, a national cultural monument. It was founded around the year 1240 by Moravian margrave, later Czech king Premysl Otakar II. From the early gothic phase comes the ground floor of the palace with a groin vault, a fragment of the big hall upstairs, the portal and the bottom of the tower. In the 14th and 15th century, when the castle was extended by the buildings near the circuit wall, was the castle used by Czech kings and Moravian margraves. The castle, manned by a corporate garrison, was captured in the year 1621 by the imperial troops and the cardinal Dietrichstein was encaging here the captive Moravian chiefs of the antihabsburg rising. Spilberk was fortified with modern rampart technique, which proved good by the Swedish siege of Brno in the years 1643 and 1645. During the 2nd half of the 17th century was Spilberk slowly turned into a citadel of Brno's fortress. The known casemate developed by vaulting the moat. Already from the year 1673 served the objects as a jail, this function as the only one remained to Spilberk also after the Napoleonic wars, when the castle lost its importance as a military stronghold. Criminals, but also political deliquents, i.e. Hungarian Jacobins, Italian carbonari, Polish revolutionaries, confessors of utopian socialism etc., were kept here in prison. From the famed names it were for example Vaclav Babinsky, the leader of pandoors baron Trenck, the postmaster J.B.Drouet, who held back the king Louis XVI with family escaping of the revolution and others. During the WWII the Germans organized here a collecting concentration camp. The castle and fortress Spilberk are used today by the City museum of Brno. In the casemates is a permanent exposition of baroque fort building and of the prison service. There are also art collections from renaissance till modernism. The castle's tower was adapted to an outlook-tower.
Die Burg Spielberg (in German), hrad Spilberk (in the Czech language), the Spilberk Castle in English.
VT pre-setting is using a wrong name for it! :o)
Definitely go inside the castle and tell me what I am missing that I havent visited it yet. I go to Spilberk to get a nice view of the town.
Spilberk was founded in the 13th century, and rebuilt later into a sizeable Baroque fort. Till 1945 there was a prison and barracks.
The castle surrounded by a tree park is a favourite place for dates. Young people, who have just fallen in love, often walk up the hill to count the stars in the evening/night. The atmosphere is beautiful when it snows, the snowflakes glitter against the lights of the park lamps.
The Spilberk Castle, a more than 7 centuries old building, is enthroned above the city.
Once it was one of the most terrible prisons in the Austro-hungarian monarchy is it now a popular place of excursions.
In the castle courtyard there are often concerts and performances, there are also some takeaways.
I actually did not visit the castle's interior, but I was told, that it is not too spectacular.
Another great thing about the castle is it's scenic views down to the city of Brno.
High above the city of Brno / Brünn you may see castle Spielberg ( sometimes also spelled Spielberk).
It dates back more than 700 years and used to be one of the most terrible prisons including cells without any kind of daylight, where prisoners were fixed to the walls and many of them died there....
Freiherr von der Trenck spent some time there in a prison-cell, before he committed suicide with the help of a poison.
You may still visit the castle daily except Monday :
May - September 09.00a.m. - 06.00p.m.
Oktober - April : 09.00a.m. - 05.00p.m.
In july and august it is also open on mondays.
Be there in time, the last entry is 1 hour before closing-time.
I did not yet visit Spielberk myself, maybe next time !
The medieval dungeons in this 'hrad' were used by the Nazis to imprison, torture and kill 80,000 people. It is terrifying to see their 'modern' brickwork against the old structure.
The castle now houses an art gallery, which has a good historical exhibit of paintings done by Brno artists, as well as temporary exhibitions.
This 13th century castle is a dominant part of Brno and Moravia both visibly and historically. The castle sits on a hill, from which it got its name, looking down upon the old part of Brno. Spilberk has seen many changes, many owners and many wars and in recent centuries became more infamous as a prison. The Casemates the run beneath the castle and were additionally used as cells are also an interesting part of the castle, which is the home of the Brno City Musuem. Once you do reach the castle you are also rewarded with views of the city.
Just a view outside the casemates.
This is the front moat of the casemate.
The original purpose of the casemate was to serve as a shelter of the garrison.
This is why they had airshafts securing at least a reduced access of sunlight/daylight & above all, fresh air...
Some of the furnitures are not from the era but put there to resemble what it was like in the Casemates at the actual time.
This casemate was opened to the public for the first time in 1880, after 2 years of reconstructions.