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European Heritage Days will take place in Brno this year on September 17th-19th. TIC BRNO has selected several interesting locations within the theme of ‘Monuments for All’. This year, the event will be fully accessible for all with mobility problems. Photo: M. Růžička / TIC Brno. 

Brno, Sep 4 (BD) –The Czech Republic has been involved in the European Heritage Days since 1991, and the event returns to Brno this year on September 17th-19th, with the theme of ‘Monuments for All’. 

“This year’s theme evoked two dramaturgical lines in us,” said Jana Janulíková, Director of TIC BRNO. “First of all, we wanted to make the sights accessible to all people, including those with a physical disability. Secondly, we realized that many historic buildings are truly for everyone. We all visit them regularly without knowing their historical value.” 

Every year, the European Heritage Days open up interesting discussions about Europe’s monuments, culture, and historical richness. 50 European countries participate in the event, aiming to promote a diverse cultural heritage. However, historical and cultural heritage is not always open to everyone, as such monuments are often inaccessible to people with disabilities or reduced mobility. This year, special attention will be paid to making sure all of these heritage sites are truly for everyone. 

The program will feature lectures about various topics, such as the fascinating history of deaf people in Moravia and the organisations they formed (Kavárna u Žambocha, Saturday, September 18th) as well as guided tours of some lesser-known architectural and cultural gems around the city.

Here are eight highlights you can visit as a part of the European Heritage Days 2021. 

  1. The First Moravian Savings Bank, Janska 6.

This modernist palace housed the First Moravian Savings Bank. Founded in Brno in 1852, in the years 1937-1939 the bank replaced its previous building on Jánská, no longer fit for purpose, with a new one on the same site, designed by architects Otakar Oplatek, Josef Polášek and Heinrich Blum. Today the building houses Česká spořitelna. Two guided tours will be held of the site on the evening of Friday, September 17th. 

  1. National Monuments Institute, náměstí Svobody 72/8. 

Originally a medieval burgher house, U Zlaté lodi, this building was reconstructed in 1847 in the Imperial style for the family of Ernst Johann Herring. It was modified to its current form by the Viennese architect Ludwig Förster in the 1970s, with architectural elements from neo-classicist and neo-historicist styles. Today the building houses the National Monuments Institute. A tour will take place on September 17th.

  1. A guided tour of Masarykova čtvrť for wheelchair users

Starting at the Villa Stiassni, this guided tour on the afternoon of Saturday, September 18th will investigate the architecture of one of Brno’s most unusual and interesting districts, which has been home to many of the important personalities of the city’s architectural scene and cultural life, and fully accessible for wheelchair users.

  1. Palác Morava
Palác Morava. Photo: NS.

Sitting opposite the Mahen Theater on Malinovského náměstí is Palác Morava, built by the architect Ernst Wiesner in the late 1920s. The building was originally intended as a hotel, but the owner Hermine Stiassni eventually decided to create a multifunctional house, with shops, offices, apartments, and even a cinema. The building has an interesting contrast between the reinforced concrete skeleton and grey brickwork. This tour will take place twice in the afternoon of Saturday, September 18th.

  1. Prior (OC Dornych)

The Prior department store was to function as a commercial gateway to the developing southern city center from the mid-1980s. At present, the building is in danger of being demolished despite its architectural quality. Two guided tours on the afternoon of Sunday, September 19th, take you inside this brutalist curiosity.

  1. A visit to the interior of Villa Stiassni for the blind
Villa Stiassni. Photo via TIC Brno.

On Sunday, September 19th, at 2pm, a special guided tour for the blind will be held at Villa Stiassni, built for the textile manufacturer Alfred Stiassni during the First Republic, and one of the finest examples of the work of architect Ernst Wiesner. The tour will incorporate the troubled story of the Stiassni family and the impressive history of their home, which became a secret government villa after the Second World War.

  1. Pharmacy in Husovice, Nováčkova 967

The pharmacy in Husovice is probably the last pharmacy in Brno with original equipment from the first half of the 20th century. In addition to the preserved furniture and equipment, the concept of the building is interesting, combining a functioning pharmacy, the owner’s housing, and a tenement house. Two guided tours of the pharmacy will take place in the morning on Sunday, September 19th.

  1. Vesna, Údolní 10

The Vesna Czech Women’s Educational Association was founded in Brno in the early 1870s. The association’s first school building, in a late historicist style with Neo-Renaissance elements, was built at Údolní 10 in 1889 according to the plans of the builder Julius Zedník. Dušan Jurkovič was commissioned to design the interior and furniture of the building and the girls’ boarding house, which was established a few years later. The remains of the equipment can still be seen in the Jurkovič room. The association went insolvent in 2020 due to poor management, but a group of prominent personalities including Magda Vášáryová and Kateřina Tučková are leading efforts to revive it. A guided tour will take place on Saturday, September 18th.

For the complete program of this year’s Brno European Heritage Days, including times and prices of the tours, see the event website. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the info centers at Radnická 8 and Panenská 1.

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