Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stará Radnice

This past Sunday I decided to check out Stará radnice (Old Town Hall) in the City Center. The captions have been updated on Flickr.Stará radnice is basically a house with a tower that was acquired as the town hall some time before 1343. The main building housed town council meetings and court sessions.

In the passage is where you will find the two best-known Brno attractions - the dragon and the wheel. The dragon is said to have devoured cattle and terrorized people. The town council offered a reward for killing it but no attempt was successful. Finally, a knight wrapped up a bag of quicklime in a calf's skin and it swollowed the bait. When it got thirsty, it drank water which triggered the lime until the dragon burst. The seam on its belly is still visible. Historians maintain that the stuffed dragon/crocodile was donated to the town in 1608.

The Brno wheel is said to be the result of a boastful bet made by a carpenter who, in a single day in 1636, made the wheel and rolled it from Lednice to Brno (about 50 km). Another story has it that the wheel was made by a wheelwright's apprentice who was unjustly imprisoned. Since he could not sleep he managed to make a wheel using the wood of his prison bunk. He then handed the wheel over in the morning as proof of his innocence. Not quite sure which version I prefer?

The best thing about Old Town Hall is the tower. For 40 Kč (~$2.20) you can climb up 7 flights of stairs to the top and look out over the entire city. The view was amazing!! Especially of Petrov (the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul) and Špilberk Castle. Each of these will be a future trip.

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