Brno is the second most populous and biggest city in the Czech Republic, the largest Moravian city, and the historical capital of the Margraviate of Moravia. Brno is the administrative headquarters of the South Moravian Region, where it is divided into districts (Brno-City District). The city is located at the junction of the Svitava and Svratka rivers and has a population of around 400,000 people; its bigger metropolitan area has a population of more than 800,000 people, while its larger urban zone had a population of approximately 730,000 in 2004.
Brno is the seat of the Czech Republic’s judicial authority, housing the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, and the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office. The city is also a major administrative center. It is home to many governmental agencies, including the Ombudsman and the Office for the Protection of Competition. Brno is also a significant center of higher education, with 33 faculties affiliated with 13 institutions of higher learning and over 89,000 students.
Brno Show Centre is one of Europe’s major exhibition centers (23rd in the world). The facility debuted in 1928, beginning a history of huge exhibits and trade fairs in Brno. Brno conducts motorcycle and other races on the Masaryk Circuit, a history that dates back to 1930 and includes the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix, one of the most famous events. Another cultural legacy is the international fireworks competition, Ignis Brunensis, which draws tens of thousands of people each day.
The city’s most popular attractions are the Pilberk castle and stronghold and the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul atop Petrov hill, two medieval structures that dominate the skyline and are often pictured as its traditional icons. Veve Castle beside the Brno Dam Lake is another major intact castle near the city. This castle, like many other locations in Brno, is the setting for a variety of legends. Another Brno architectural landmark is the functionalist Villa Tugendhat, which is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The Moravian Karst is one of the closest natural wonders.