Credit: Zdeněk Porcal

Summer Program Opens Brno’s Otherwise Inaccessible Holy Sites To The Public

As every year, the ‘Brno and its temples’ (‘Brno a jeho chrámy’) project, which will take place this summer from 15 June to 15 September, draws attention to Brno’s holy places, both well-known and hidden, and brings them closer to visitors with extended opening hours or guided tours. As part of the program, seven churches that are normally closed to the public will then open their doors until 15 September. 

2024 marks the 16th edition of the project, organised by TIC BRNO in cooperation with the Brno Bishopric, the Christian parishes of Brno, the Brno Jewish community, and the Brno branch of the Jewish Museum in Prague.

“The project ‘Brno and its temples’ is already a tradition in our range,” explained Jana Janulíková, director of TIC BRNO. “Sacred tourism is an integral part of our tourism products, and it is thanks to this project that we can open the doors of several churches. This year’s events will include, for example, the church of St. Augustine [on Náměstí Míru, Kravi hora] and the church of St. Cyril and Methodius [in Židenice], visiting of which will take you outside the centre.” 

“We also invite visitors to educational walks and lectures,” she said. “A new feature is a guided tour of the repairs and changes to the church of St. Jakub, which is undergoing a demanding reconstruction. The guide will focus not only on the history of this impressive church but also on its present and future.” 

During the inauguration of the project on 15 June, a special ball with the image of an anchor, a symbol of hope, will drop from the clock on Náměstí Svobody at 11 am, forming a unique souvenir for one member of the public.

The “Red Church” after sunset. Credit: Zdeněk Porcal

The Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on Mendlovo náměstí will be open from Tuesday to Saturday (from 2 pm to 5pm), the Church of St. Thomas on Moravské náměstí will extend its usually reduced opening hours from 1.30pm to 5.30pm, the church of Jan Amos Comenius – commonly known as the ‘Red Church’’ – will be open from 2pm to 6pm, and the same for the church of St. Michael on Dominikánské náměstí. 

From Monday to Friday, the church of St. Mary Magdalene, also in the centre – on Františkánská – will be open from 9.30am to 4.30pm. 

As noted by Janulíková, two churches outside the centre will also be involved for the first time: the church of St. Augustine on náměstí Míru, which will open on Saturdays from 2pm to 5pm, and the church of St. Cyril and Methodius on Gajdošová in Židenice, open on Sundays from 2pm to 6pm, also including an exhibition of historical photos from the life of the parish.

In each of the churches, there are free worksheets for children that introduce them to church buildings in a playful way, as well as the brochure ‘Brno and its temples’, which examines other sacred monuments in Brno. All materials can also be downloaded from the project’s website, and the brochure is available in English here.

“I’m glad that people can visit Brno’s churches throughout the day during the summer months, to come, stop, rest and think about life in silence, pray, or just cool off on a hot summer day,” said Bishop of Brno Pavel Konzbul.

The accompanying program will offer seven walks and two lectures. Other guided tours include the Jewish cemetery in Židenice, the functionalist Agudas Achim synagogue, and the Holy Family Church on Grohova Street. 

A lecture in St. Peter’s and Paul’s cathedral. Credit: Františka Foto

The peculiar history of the ‘Red Church’ and Bethlehem church, connected with the activities of the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brothers in Brno, are other locations worth visiting, while a walk to Obřany-Maloměřice will allow visitors to take a look at the church of St. Wenceslas, passing industrial buildings and smaller sacred monuments. 

A lecture on defunct sacred buildings in Brno will take place on 18 July at the Church Youth Center on Veveří, while the second and final lecture, entitled ‘The Life and Death of Priest Josef Toufar’, will close this year’s project on 11 September, led by the writer Miloš Doležal, winner of the Magnesia Litera prize for the book of the year 2022.

The project takes place under the auspices of Markéta Vaňková, mayor of Brno, and Pavel Konzbul, bishop of Brno. 

Most of the program is free, but due to capacity reasons, it’s best to reserve a place in advance. Reservation is possible at TIC BRNO info centres or online on the website, which also contains the full program and more information on all events.

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