Are you planning to visit Europe? Then you should consider to see also the Czech Republic! Czech Republic consists of Bohemia and Moravia and is the western part of the former Czechoslovakia with the "Golden Prague" as her capital. But you should also not miss to visit Bruenn / Brno, the capital of Moravia, you will not regret it! For not forgetting it, you will find in the following some helpful hints:
Bruenn is situated at the junction of two rivers, the Schwarza and Zwitta. (The Czech names are svratka and svitava). A steep hill, facing South, is called Petersberg and atop is the Cathedral of St.Peter and Paul. On another hill, called Spielberg (Spilberk), is a fortress with an infamous jail and torture chamber, originating from the 13th century.
During the 12th and 13th century, the Bohemian King Přemysl Ottokar I (1198 - 1230) and his successors, but also the noble landowners and the clergy welcomed the Germans to the country and their territories. Many of them settled also around the castle of Bruenn.
The intentions were, to bring to the native population proficiencies in agriculture, trade, mining, art and craft.
The centuries, which followed, were marked with a variety of events. "The War of the Hussites" in the 15th century was named after Jan Hus, a religious Czech reformer, who persecuted the German population. He was burned to death in 1415 as a heretic, in Constance on lake of Constance during the council (Concilium 1414 - 1418).
Another incisive event was the Thirty Year War (1618-1648). This war started, because Martin Luther, a monk, provoked great religious differences. His followers in the North fought the predominantly Catholic South. When the Swedish army entered the war, they were able to move into Moravia and twice besieged Bruenn. (1643,1645) Bruenn withstood these attacks every time. In 1683 the Turks pushed forward to Vienna and besieged the city, which had also brought great suffering to Bruenn.
Still more wars had to be endured. One of this was the seven years lasting war between the Prussian King Friederich II which got later the extension "the Great" to his name, and the Austrian Queen Maria Theresia, a member of the Habsburg dynasty. Half a century later it was Napoleon who fought his largest battle with a victory over the united Austrian and Russian Armies in the so called "Three Emperors Battle" at Austerlitz, just 25 km east of Bruenn.
The industrialization of the city started in the 18th century, approximately in 1765. Several cloth mills were being established and 150 years later, there were a total of 42. Bruenn had then the image to be the "Austrian Manchester". At the same time began a serious machinery industry to develop.
The image of this city was marked by many German citizens: Mayors, scientists, builders and artists. Many of them became famous, reaching across the city's borders. We will mention a few of them:
GREGOR MENDEL, abbot of the Augustine monastery is the undisputed discoverer of the hereditary rules. This great and modest searcher is remembered in a permanent exhibition, The Mendelaneum.
FRITZ STASTNY discovered a porous, durable, artificial foam, which he called Styropor. It is today widely used as packing material.
ERNST MACH was a famous physicist (1838-1916). The "Sound waves", which he discovered were measured and named after him. An american pilot, Yaeger, was the first to exceed the sound barrier and since then, high speeds are measured in "Mach".
GUSTAV LINDENTHAL immigrated to the USA, where he constructed many bridges, like in
Philadelphia, Chicago, Ohio, West-Virginia, Illinois, New York and Niagara Falls.
ROBERT von MUSIL was an important writer. His best known book is "The man without qualities".
E.W.KORNGOLD was an infant prodigy in music. At an early age, he began to compose music, including an opera. In 1938 he left for the USA and worked as a composer in Hollywood for numerous films and shows.
LEO SLEZAK was an excellent opera singer and performed many times at the Metropolitan Opera house in New York.
MARIA JERITZA is remembered as an outstanding soprano. She was a member of the Metropolitan Opera from 1921-1932.
Al this found a sudden and brutal end in 1945, when the Czechs expelled all Germans of Bruenn, the city of their ancestors.
This event is described in the chapter:"The Deathmarch of Bruenn."