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Brno2028: Nature, space and care

Brno, the fountain Brno, the fountain Photo by Petrov Gabzdyl

EcocNews continues the journey among the cities that are candidates for European capital of culture for 2028. After Broumov, today we discover the city of Brno, in the Czech Republic. In 2028 it will be the third time that the Czech Republic will have a European Capital of Culture after Prague in 2000 and Plsen in 2015.

Brno, the capital of the South Moravian Region with a population of almost 400.000 people, lying between the Bohemian-Moravian forested highlands and the fertile South Moravian lowlands with vineyards, offers its residents and visitors a high-quality and attractive natural environment for living, business and recreation.

The city is a unique cultural centre of the whole region. There are permanent theatre ensembles, opera, ballet and musical stages, a philharmonic orchestra, and you can also visit a number of museums, galleries and libraries, a recently modernized observatory and planetarium, a zoo and a botanical garden. More than 20 festivals of culture and theatre take place in the city each year. Brno is remarkable for its unique functionalist architecture including an icons of functionalism -Villa Tugendhat, which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  Modern architecture in the city is mapped by the project of Brno Architectural Manual.

Brno is full of valuable historical buildings and interesting places. For a true feel of just how amazing this city is, here’s a list of its must-see locations.

You should definitely visit the two dominant hills in the city centre. On Petrov Hill, is possible admire Katedrála sv. Petra a Pavla (the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul), and at the top of Špilberk Hill, you’ll find the city’s famous castle, which contains a museum and casemates. It was known as the harshest jail in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Close to Zelný trh (the Vegetable Market) is Stará radnice (the Old Town Hall) with the fabled dragon of Brno in its passageway, historical halls, and a lookout tower. The Brno underground promises unforgettable experiences, such as Labyrint pod Zelným trhem (the Labyrinth under the Vegetable Market), Mincmistrovský sklep (the Mint Master’s Cellar), and the second-largest ossuary in Europe. And after Kostel sv. Jakuba (the Church of St James) and Bazilika Nanebevzetí Panny Marie (the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady).

Why did your city decide to apply for the European capital of culture?

Boasting a vibrant history, prosperous business excellence, 14 flourishing universities and a thriving cultural life, Brno is a city of innovation and diversity. It is at the heart of the South Moravian region and its 400,000 residents make it the second largest city in the Czech Republic. Brno enjoys an unusually rich cultural life, quite exceptional for a city its size. Exhibitions in museums and galleries, plays, concerts, operas, dance performances – the range of possibilities is extraordinarily wide.

We see the competition as an opportunity to accelerate sustainable development of the city of Brno through culture and foster common and shared identity of the Brno's inhabitants when interconnecting all different communities and stakeholders together.  Brno is allready on the map of Europe, lets make the cultural ties to Europe stronger and more relevant.

What do you think are the keywords of your application?

Nature - space - care 

How are you involving citizens in this competition?

The preparation for the competition is long lasting process especially in so big city. In the past we involved Brno's teenagers through art competition "Brno of the future", we cooperated with university students when identifying "the need of the city" and few months ago we reached our citizens using "sentiment analysis map" – the inhabitants of Brno could put pins on the map of Brno (online but also offline version) and express e.g. where do they feel proud, where do they see opportunity for development etc. More than 1000 citizens got involved with more than 23 000 pin-points. We also involve the cultural actors from Brno, politicians, city officials and representatives of business, communities, schools and other important stakeholders into the process through thematic and interdisciplinary working groups.

What are the next steps on your journey?

We are doing our best to finish the first bidbook with a clear narrative of our city based on the participation process. At the same time the city is trying to help our fellow Europeans coming from Ukraine and make them feel welcomed.

What are your thoughts on the European Capital of Culture competition?

We appreciate the current state of the competition with a clear set of goals and evaluation system. The opportunity for cities to go through this challenge is one of a kind and even when the city doesn't win in the end, there is always something to build on because the good processes usually start during the bidding phase. 

Serafino Paternoster

Ecocnews Founder, Journalist, repentant jazz guitarist, music critic and film lover.

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