Sunday, August 15, 2010

Brno Day 2010 Festival

The three-day festival called Den Brna took place this weekend. My hubby noticed that something was going on when walking home Friday evening, and we decided to check it out on Saturday, not knowing it was a famous festival.

The festival was to celebrate the 365th anniversary of the successful defense of the city of Brno against the Swedish invasion back in 1645.  There is an interesting story associated with the retreat of Swedes at that time.  Once you are in Brno, you will notice a strange thing. Everyday at 11 o'clock in the morning, you hear the church bell ding-donging 12 times. In fact, this 11 o'clock bell was originated in the event of the Swedes' attack in 1645.

The story is that the Swedes decided to give themselves one last chance to break Brno after months of failed attempts and said that they would retreat at 12 o'clock noon if they hadn't yet conquered Brno at that point. Brno officials overheard this information and ordered the church bell to be rang 12 times at 11 o'clock. Thanka to the Swedes' "stick to the plan" spirit. Brno was saved. Ever since then, it has been Brno's tradition to ring the church bell 12 times at 11 o'clock as if it was 12 o'clock.  Neat!

The festival went on all day on Saturday. There was a street fair in front of the Old Town Hall selling folk crafts and local foods including two of our favorites pastries; Tredlnik and Fragály, which we enjoyed. We also tried a grilled smoked Slovak cheese, which was rather expensive for the size (20 CZK), but tasted soooo good. The small street was filled with people, and later with people with tradiational costumes preparing to make a march around the block near Zelný trh. We had to go shopping after that, so we left the area for a while, but returned for an evening concert held at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral. They performed incredible music by Janáček, Dvořák, and others. The special ambience in that church amplified by the gorgeous sound of the pipe organ send shivers up and down my spine.

After the concert, people in military costumes with guns and cannons were waiting for the crowds to emerge from the cathedral. The drums rolled, soldiers pumped gunpowder into the barrels of their guns, and they started to fire the guns. The gunfire was startlingly loud, but was a good ending to the celebration, which was followed later by fireworks.

Here is a part of Janáček's piece, which I had to compress a lot to upload, but here it is.


  1. Sakiko, I so enjoy following your adventures on your blog. It is amazing that I can see pictures of the fair, hear the guns and the music. This is an amazing world we live in.

  2. Thank you Nancy. You are also amazing to notice the amazing-ness of era we live in. A lot of people just take it for granted :)