Brno evolved into the handsome, red-brick city of today in the ninetenth century, when it was a major textile producer and known as “rakouský Manchestr” (Austrian Manchester). The capital of Moravia, Brno’s vital energy has produced 11 universities, a powerful economy and a number of famous Czechs, including inventor of genetics Gregor Mendel, composer Leoš Janáček and novelist Milan Kundera.
Triangular Svobody Square sits funnel-like on the high street, Masarykova. The square hosts the Zelný trh, the old medieval Cabbage Market, still bustling with vegetable traders hawking onions and daffodils. Špilberk Castle, which houses historical exhibitions, dominates the skyline to the west, in a standoff with the hilltop Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul to the south.