Every town and city has legends that have been told for many years, Brno is no exception; this city has many tales that help tell the city’s dynamic history.
All legends have many descriptions and stories, so I am just trying to summarize the versions that seem to be the most popular. I encourage you to correct/tell your version. 🙂
Old Town Hall of Brno and The Legends
Legend of the Brno Dragon
There are several versions of this legend. The most popular goes something like this; that a Dragon made Brno his home, and threatened the citizens and all of its livestock. Merchants stopped coming to the city to sell, and women stopped going to the market. The plan to kill the dragon was thought up long before somebody with the courage to actually do it came along or before a master plan was thought up.
Luckily, one day a butcher who was traveling through Brno volunteered. So the courageous butcher created a trap to get rid of the Dragon. The trap was a sac made of fur (ox or sheep), and filled with lime. The dragon became very thirsty after eating this fur and lime, and after drinking so much water at the river his stomach expanded with the lime inside, and it burst! Then, the citizens celebrated by having the dragon preserved and now we can see it hanging from the Old Town Hall – and you might notice, this dragon looks a lot like a crocodile. 🙂
Legend of the Brno Wheel
The wheel that hangs in the Old Town Hall has come to be from a deal made between Georg Birk, a craftsman from Lednice, and his friends for 14 Tolar. He bet that within 12 hours (6am-6pm) he could chop down a tree, make a wheel, and roll it to Brno (45KM).
Legend has it that Georg Birk regretted this bet, but really hated to lose. So he accomplished his goal, won the 14 tolars, and the wheel has remained in Brno ever since. Some say the whole achievement was considered impossible by normal human means, therefore Birk was later believed to have called on the devil for assistance, and he died in poverty as a result.
Today this legend is still celebrated in Brno. Every year, in October, teams race from Lednice to Brno with a wooden wheel.
Legend of the Deformed Phial
One version says Master Antonin Pilgrim was hired to build a phial/portal to Old Town Hall. When he didn’t get paid for his hard work, he created one phial deformed by bending the middle small steeple, so that it would be a reminder of corrupt morals of councillors. However, another version simply says he was too drunk to get the job done right 🙂
More Legends & tales
The ringing of midday at 11 o’clock
The legend comes from 1645 during the 30 years war. Swedish Siege of Brno. It was said Swedish General Torstenson decided if Brno did not fall by midday, he would order his troops to retreat. However, this plan was overheard, and the clever Brno citizens used this information to their advantage. Although the Swedes were already through the fortress walls, the bell on Petrov rang one hour early at 11:00 a.m., and this way Brno was saved.
Located at the end of Křenová street, on the bank of the River Svitava, It appears to be in the Gothic style but the scholars still do not know when, by whom, and why it was built.
Legend has it that the builder of the column was the Czech King Vratislav II, and the column was to commemorate the spot where Zderad of Švábenice was murdered in the summer of 1091. Apparently, King Vratislav II had taken to the field in Moravia against his rebellious brother Konrad, and laid siege to the City of Brno.
Searching for a place to pitch the war tents, the King’s right hand man, Zderad, stepped out and said: “I think, my King, thy son Břetislav ought to be encamped here, at the water’s edge, so that he may bathe often.” When Břetislav heard of this, he was enraged. He decided that the knight, Zderad had to pay for this. He invited Zderad for a meeting the following morning. Not suspecting anything, Zderad arrived. But the King’s son was not waiting alone, he had brought along his army. At his command, they caught and killed Zderad. It was realized too late what had happened and Zderad, the King`s beloved Minister, was dead.
When King Vratislav learned of this, he grieved heavily. He buried his friend in the family vault and built a beautiful monument where the atrocity had happened.
The city of Brno has many tales and legends, some that surround the casemates in the Špilberk, and its prisoners such as infamous Baron Trenck and more. It’s a legendary city with magical tales, and fun stories that surround its long history. You can sometimes find guided tours where you can learn about the mysteries and stories behind monuments, artifacts, and buildings around the city.
I hope the Brno legends will serve as conversation pieces in the future. 🙂
Are there any popular legends of Brno or the Czech Republic that you know? What kind of legends and tales do you have in your home city? 🙂
“Legends are best left as legends and attempts to make them real are rarely successful” – Michael Moorock