Leave your busy life behind and disappear in South Moravia
We could compose a whole number of lyrical proclamations about the atmosphere of the South Moravian Region, but that would not do it honour. The reality is beautifully simple, as described in a popular Czech song. South Moravia can give you everything you miss in your daily life – good people, peace, and order. Water, sunshine, and endless vineyards.
Brno is alive!
It has no castle panorama or throngs of selfie-hungry tourists; it’s not exactly polished and it might take you a while to get used to its personality - but Brno is definitely not just a spot on the map in the middle of D1, the most infamous Czech highway. The city decided to cater exactly to the wishes of its tourists, and it offers good fun, a vibrant nightlife and amazing food. That lent it a new, lively atmosphere, which even earned it a place in the New York Times Places To Go list. The sophisticated way Brno attracts tourists is clearly illustrated by the Gourmet Brno and Brno Industrial projects. Forget typical tourist traps and discover new tastes in unconventional restaurants. Swap traditional sights for historical lessons in industrial buildings and for modern creative arts.
The Moravian Manchester inside out
When the first manufactories started cropping up around Brno in the 1770s, nobody would have imagined the city would soon become an industrial hub, producing textile and machinery. Companies like Zbrojovka Brno and Zetor soon became household names, although nor many know that the exceptionally productive textile factories meant Brno had been nicknamed “the Moravian Manchester”. You can glimpse this side of the city if you follow a thematic trail, which will guide you through the almost three hundred years that Brno spent building its steadfast reputation in the textile industry. The trail through the Moravian Manchester was inspired by Kateřina Tučková’s book and it will take you to twelve spots full of industrial and human history. You will learn something about the Max Kohn and Tugendhat Factory, which later became known under the name Mosilana, as well as the stories of its owners. They were very active in the Human Rights League and helped refugees fleeing Hitler’s Germany, but as Jews, they later lost all their property, including a functionalism villa built by Fritz Tugendhat and his wife Greta, which is now known simply as Villa Tugendhat. The house had been abandoned for many years, but today you can admire it in all its splendour. The villa was built in 1930 and it had a special air conditioning system, as well as retractable windows that could be hidden in the floor. Guided tours are extremely popular, however, and it might happen that you will find no free slots in the booking system. In that case, the Löw-Beer Villa, originally owned by Greta Tugendhat’s parents, is an excellent alternative. The villa also offers thematic exhibitions on the families’ businesses, on Villa Tugendhat, and on the Brno bourgeoisie.
TIP: Experience the Moravian Manchester first-hand. The Brno Industrial project also includes a group game for friends and families. A four-kilometre trail contains 8 tasks and an encounter with a girl who likes dresses...
Brno on a platter
Sadly, Michelin critics have not ventured beyond the borders of Prague in their search for top restaurants to put on their list, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll starve outside of the capital. The foodie scene in Brno is mapped by the Gourmet Brno project, which offers a selection of not only the best restaurants, but also bistros, cafés, pastry shops and bars. The listed places combine attractive menus with unique stories. One of them can even offer a different angle on Brno’s textile history - the former Vlněna factory now hosts the Rebelbean industrial café and roasters. You can get a lovely cake to go alongside your coffee here, but if you want really special cakes, you’ll need to go to the centre. There you will find a cake shop called SORRY - we bake differently. And bake differently they do! For example, a moss cake with spinach and crickets... The truly unconventional ideas are as striking as the interior, which is airy, but full of intriguing details and design. To get a full selection of food places that will satisfy every avid foodie, go to www.gotobrno.cz/en/taste-brno/.
TIP: Another gastro star is the Būcheck food truck, which is usually parked at Zelný trh. While you’re there, you can also visit an underground labyrinth of medieval corridors and cellars which used to serve for food storage.
Brno is full of excellent wine bars, but the true wine-lovers paradise lies a bit further south. And you don’t necessarily just have to end up in a wine cellar. South Moravia has the longest net of wine and cycling trails in Czechia. For example, one of the biggest wine-making towns, Mutěnice, lies on the Mutěnice wine trail, which is ideal even for less avid cyclists. It has 62 kilometres and includes wine making operations (for example Vinařství Dufek, right at the start), wine cellars (Za Dědinú), and vast vineyards, as well as a number of interesting sights. One example is a charming castle in Milotice, one of the rarest preserved baroque building (and garden) complexes in the Czech Republic. It is no coincidence that it also served as the set for the Czech comedy The Last Aristocrat, inspired by a book by Evžen Boček. Don’t worry, you won’t be too far from wine - the castle has a wine shop that offers a selection of the region’s best wines. You can of course pick a trail to suit your interests and your capacities on www.stezky.cz.
TIP: You can time your visit to Mutěnice to coincide with the traditional “Burčák March”, which will lead you through sun-filled vineyards into the picturesque valley of “Pod Dubňanskú horú”. With its many cellar tours, great music, and opportunities to taste countless kinds of Burčák, wines and other South Moravian specialties, it draws in thousands of visitors every year. Don’t forget to stop by the local “live astronomical clock”...