7. 3. 2008

An Englishman of Veveri II

The city itself has a functional, ordinary image. By this I mean that Brno has only a fraction of the grand, beautiful buildings that most European cities proudly show off. The planners of the future of Brno do need to build on its character.

I am aware that big changes in the future of Brno are planned. I hope they make Brno a more interesting city, so visitors and local people are drawn to the city centre to keep the city alive and growing. In the future, Europe will become a continent of people who will move from city to city more freely. If Brno wants it’s skilled and educated people to remain, it must offer a city fit for modern life.

The only big surprise which left me disappointed with Brno was the complete lack of New Year Eve celebrations, either publicly organised or privately run. On 31st December 1/3 of all pubs and clubs in the city were closed. The local people had fled the city, leaving only board teenagers to throw fireworks at each other. No Brno. You have got this very wrong. In the 21st century every much loved, forward looking city in the world draws its people to its celebrations. I have had more fun at New Year Eve in a small village of only 50 people and one pub. Brno must look after its people or it will lose them. On New Year Eve it HAS lost them.

One thing I do love about Brno is its easy access to the surrounding countryside. The excellent public transport in the city is extended to the surrounding area. The hills and mountains are all within easy reach. I was introduced to mushroom picking in the autumn, and skiing in the winter. Neither happens in England. The mushrooms tasted great, but my skiing needs a lot more practice.

Since I arrived in Brno I have found that I adapted to my life very easily, made many friends, and at this point I do not miss England at all. I am enjoying Brno and look forward to continuing my life here. Maybe after a year I will feel different. I will have to wait and see.

John Camus

2 komentáře:

Don Sparling řekl(a)...

There are cities that are flashy, public cities, and cities that are more discreet, private cities. The former strike visitors at first sight - their charms are obvious; the latter grow on them - outsiders have to discover their idiosyncracies. Paris is a prime example of the public city, London of the private. And - no surprise - Brno is, and will probably always remain, a "private" city. But for those with time, and eyes to see, there is much to admire here.

You lament the lack of grand, beautiful buildings in Brno. Have you ever actually stood in Komenskeho namesti and looked about you? As a space, this is one of the greatest triumphs of nineteenth century town planning to be found anywhere. The spaciousness, the harmony between the various buildings, despite their mixed styles and materials, the relationship of the square to St Thomas's Church, the long view down to the obelisk in Denisovy sady, the green backdrop of Spilberk - this is urban civility of a rare order. Besedni dum alone is a small miracle, its serene neo-classicism one of the greatest architectural embodiments of the great Romantic dream of the Mediterranean south and the world of Antiquity. If it were situated in Vienna, people would make pilgrimages to view it.

So what the planners of Brno really have to do is link up with the very sophisticated - but non-ostentatious - tradition that is already here.

Don Sparling řekl(a)...

Me again.

Just a kind of footnote to your comment about New Year's Eve. I think this is a cultural thing - at the end of the year every good Czech leaves the city for his/her chalupa or chata of for some hotel in the mountains where he can go skiing. These places are where New Year's Eve is properly celebrated, not in the city.

If you want a city celebration, go for the big international fireworks displays in May and June. Or for something at the other end of the scale - very local - the "hody" celebrations in those parts of Brno that were originally villages, and still retain this typical rural tradition, with folk costumes and folk music and folk dances - and lots of beer and wine (also products of the folk).