28. 4. 2008

The Spirit of Brno

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.

Some people lament the lack of grand, beautiful buildings in Brno. But have they ever stood in Komenskeho namesti and looked about them? As a space, this is one of the greatest triumphs of nineteenth century town planning to be found anywhere. The spaciousness, the harmony that reigns between the various buildings, despite their mixed styles and differing 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 most accomplished architectural embodiments of the obsessive Romantic dream of the Mediterranean south and the world of Antiquity. If it were situated in Vienna, people would make pilgrimages to view it.

The challenge facing Brno's planners today is not that of inventing some unique new identity for the city, but rather of responding creatively to the very sophisticated - but non-ostentatious - tradition that already marks it, and gives it its distinctive tone.

5 komentářů:

Anonymní řekl(a)...

Pravda, už dávno jsem přišla na to, že v Brně je třeba zvednout hlavu a člověk objeví neskutečné krásy:)

Arturo Quintero řekl(a)...

Brno is a beautiful European city, I always miss this city when I go aborad for a longer period despite all fancy places I have been in my job. What I still find amazing is that it seems that the farther you come from, the more you appreciate it. Americans, Japanese, Argentinians at the top on their comments. I love my native city, Mexico city, but Brno is home for me.

Ratnesh Mathur řekl(a)...

As I write this blog comment from my home in Delhi, India, our adopted home of Brno - does indeed appear to be on another planet. The architecture, the weather, the public transportation system, the language - even the color of the people. But scratch the surface & the difference disappears ...

Any city's appearance will always be in sync with its environment & its country's economic conditions. To me, the spirit of the city, is the collective spirit of its people/inhabitants.

I like Brno because of its people. Undoubtedly very different from my own people - the Delhites - yet, as endearing for some of these very differences. Reserved & "private" people but class-less people. Families with both blue-collared & white-collared members, are still common in Brno. Its a universities town & has played home to a string of famous scientists & artists & yet there is no intellectual arrogance in its people. 70 years after Indian independence some of the people qualities which Gandhi espoused, are more visible here than in an Indian metropolis.

I hope & pray that the spirit of Brno people today continues to shine, as global economics widens the jaws of wealth in Brno citizens. And the tolerance for cultural diversity continues, as the inevitable global demographics brings in more migrants from far-away lands.

- Ratnesh Mathur

Vlastimil Veselý řekl(a)...

Best regards to Delhi, Ratnesh, and thanks for not forgetting about Brnopolis. Wish you pleasant days of relax and hope to see you again in Brno soon.

I wonder if there is any web 2.0 based service supporting a real community in India, like the social innovation camp ideas. Or something similar to Brnopolis?

Anonymní řekl(a)...

Hello, everyone, this is Natali Ondriskova, originally from Greece. I also have nothing but positive comments to offer about Brno city, as it offers high quality of life. Cleanliness, enough greenery around, low criminality, good transportation, material wealth but without having lost traditional values, jobs and cultural opportunities... Apart from that, prices are still reasonable in Brno, people are easy-going and you don't get the feeling that everybody wants to rip you off. It is a blessing to live here and I hope that there will be more international people to add their vibes to the city and bring cultural values rather than the all-consuming giant of materialism!