Like nearly every year, Bimbino and Bambina had to decided to celebrate the beginning of the new year with friends from all over the world at WinterCamp. WinterCamp is the annual week-long New Year's Eve Party of the Couchsurfing Camps
community in Europe. 2017's WinterCamp took place in Brno, the capital of Czechia's the Moravia region. For the monkeys this was the perfect opportunity to explore the city and its surroundings. .
28th December 2017
Praha, Czechia 🇨🇿
On the way to brno, the monkeys had a stopover in Praha (Prague), where they visited the Christmas market on Staroměstské Náměstí, one of the most famous Christmas markets in Europe.
29th December 2017
Brno, Czechia 🇨🇿
Bimbino and Bambina came to Brno, the capital of Moravia, to celebrate New Year's Eve. On their first day in the city they explored Brno's picturesque old town.
Náměstí Svobody (Liberty Square) is probably the most important square in Brno. There are several interesting sights including the Plague Column built at the end of 17th century (on the left) and the famous chronometer (on the right.)
Right on Náměstí Svobody (Liberty Square) stands Brno's famous chronometer. Every day at 11 o'clock it gives out one little glass ball. Because of its shape the clock has been called many names...
The Mahen Theatre was built as German Deutsches Stadttheater in 1882. It was one of the first public buildings in the world lit entirely by electric light.
Brno's cathedral is located on Petrov hill in the centre of the city. It is one of the most important pieces of architecture in South Moravia. The Cathedral was errected on an earlier construction as a three-nave Gothic basilica in the 14th century. While its interior is mostly Baroquein style, its impressive 84-metre-high towers were constructed in the Gothic Revival style at the beginning of the 20th century.
Brno and its cathedral seen from Špielberk Castle.
In the afternoon the monkeys went to visit Špilberk castle, a building that dates back to the 13th century. Špilberk castle was established as the seat of the Moravian margraves in the mid-14th century. Over the centuries it was gradually turned into a huge baroque fortress considered the harshest prison in the Austro-Hungarian empire, and later into barracks.
30th December 2017
Pálava, Czechia 🇨🇿
The next morning, Bimbino and Bambina travelled with a group of Couchsurfers to Dolní Věstonice to go on a hiking trip through Pálava, a protected UNESCO biosphere reserve.
The hike led the group to Děvičky, an old ruined castle ruin above the Thaya water reservoir.
They continued to the top of Děvín, a 554 metres high hill who's top was covered in snow.
Instead of climbing up another hill and visiting another ruin, Bimbino, Bambina, and their group crossed Klentnice, a small village with a beautiful baroque-style church.
After 3.5 hours of hiking the group finally reached the outskirts of Mikulov aka Nikolsburg. From the hill from which they descended into the city they had an breathtaking view of the old town and the historic castle which was erected between 1719 and 1730.
The monkeys couldn't spend much time in Mikulov but it was enough to get enchanted by the city's charm. The gem of Mikulov was its central square with the famous Sgrafitto house. Sgraffito is a technique of wall decor, produced by applying layers of plaster tinted in contrasting colours to a moistened surface, and then scratching so as to reveal parts of the underlying layer.
1st January 2018
Brno, Czechia 🇨🇿
The last three days the monkeys had spend with Couchsurfers from all over the world at the Brno WinterCamp. On New year's Eve they partied together with DJs and live music and welcomed the year 2018.
After many excursions, parties and a crazy New Yerar's Eve, it was time for recovery. The monkeys visited the Maximus Spa in the outskirts of Brno which are beautifully located at the local water reservoir.
2nd January 2018
Brno, Czechia 🇨🇿
After the end of Brno Couchsurfing WinterCamp, the monkeys decided to stay for some more days in Brno. Recovered from their hangover they went for another photo tour through the city's old town:
Before undergoing some Baroque alterations, Brno's 13th century New Town Hall had been a Dominican monastery and later the seat of the Moravian provincial assembly.
Brno is a city full with architectural contrasts. Like on Dominikánské Náměsti, historical gems like St. Michael often stand beside questionable modern buildings.
In the late afternoon the monkeys returned to Špilberk Castle to enjoy another sunset over Brno.
Zenlý Trh is probably the most beautiful square in Brno. Especially in the evening hours the place feels very enchanting.
Moravské Náměsti (Moravian Square) is located on the Northern edge of Brno's old town. Here stands Kostel Svatého Tomaše (St. Thomas Church) which dates back to 1356 and the famous Statue of the Knight, dedicated to Jošt Moravský.
When the monkeys got under the horse of the Jošt Moravský statue, they were a bit surprised about what they were seeing.
What appeared to be the cock of the horse was nothing else than an optical illusion created by the sculptor: in fact Bimbino and Bambina were looking at the head of the horse from in between its front legs.
3rd January 2018
Brno, Czechia 🇨🇿
Brno is not only famous for its old town and castle but also for its modern architecture. Villa Tugendhat is the most outstanding example of functionalism in the city. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohee in the 1920s, the mansion was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.
The good thing about spending more than the usual couple of days in a city is the fact that you can visit places tourists rarely see.
One of these places in Brno is the Stadion Za Lužánkami. Constructed between 1949 and 1953, in the 1960s and 1970s it was the biggest stadium in Czechoslovakia. In 2001 it was closed as 1. FC Brno was forced to move to another stadium, as it did not meet the criteria of the FIFA anymore.
Abandoned for more than a decade, the stadium fell into disrepair, with trees and bushes growing within it and homeless people living in the stands.
To play a last game in the iconic stadium, former FC Zbrojovka Brno captain, Petr Švancara, took it upon himself to try and restore the stadium. This effort expanded into a volunteer campaign, that resulted in a last game on 2015 with more than 35.000 spectators.
Close by Brno's cathedral stands a modern sculpture of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius. For Bambina it was the perfect spot to pose for a photo.
The Bishop's Court is a complex of several buildings below the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul in Brno. Its architectural core is the originally Gothic provost‘s residence of Brno Chapter, of which only the Gothic tower and a chapel with frescos remain. The Renaissance arcades were built by the Italian architect Antonio Gabri. The Moravian Museum is located there since 1818.
Stará Radnice (Old Town Hall) is one of the oldest and best known buildings in Brno. Some of oldest parts like the 63 metres tall clock tower date back to the year 1240. The building served as the administrative seat of the city until 1935. Today Stará Radnice houses a gallery, an information centre, and a permanent exhibition on its history.
4th January 2018
Brno, Czechia 🇨🇿
Since Czechia has joined the European Union back in 2003, it has received plenty of funds for the renovation of its cities. Curious how this money has been spent, the monkeys decided to visit Lesná, a district of panel houses from the socialist times. To their surprise, everything there looked very need and colourful. Most houses had been renovated and freshly painted.
After visiting Lesná, Bimbino and Bambina went for a coffee. Their choice fell upon Kavárna ERA, a cozy café in yet another functionalist building.
When they entered they couldn't believe that this house was already 90 years old. What they saw reminded them of their visions of the future.
Paternoster lifts have become a rare thing in the modern world. They consist of a chain of open compartments (each usually designed for two persons) that move slowly in a loop up and down inside a building without stopping. Passengers can step on or off at any floor they like.
When the monkeys heard that such a wonder of engineering was still operating in Brno's post office, they couldn't help themselves but see it with their own eyes.
Brno is not only home to some Functionalism-style villas, but also to many modernist buildings in the old down. What looks like a fuck-up of the old town's harmony on first sight has very special charms on second sight. Especially well renovated functionalst buildings like Obchodní Dům Centrum from the 1930s have given Brno an outstanding reputation among lovers of modern architecture.
And then it was finally time to leave Brno. Vienna was calling!
One unforgettable week in the Moravian capital had come to an end.
What a wonderful start into the year 2018 it had been.
It is no exaggeration to say that the monkeys have fallen a little bit in love with Brno. A real well hidden gem worth of exploring.