Sunday, August 21, 2022

Old City Prison Tour

Yesterday we went on a guided tour of the old city prison.  We were the only people who showed up so we ended up with a private tour.  The tour was entirely in Czech but I managed.

The prison is on Cejl street which is the part of Brno that locals call the Bronx.  

In 1770, there was a royal decree issued to establish a prison for all of Moravia.  

The prison opened in 1778.  However, it also housed 147 orphans form the Brno Jesuit college.  The orphanage portion of the building only lasted until 1784 when Emperor Joseph II closed it and the complex became just a prison.

During WWII, the four wings of the prison were used by the Nazis when when Brno was under the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.  After 1948, the communists used the prison for numerous political prisoners and many people were executed here. 

Among those who served time here include Petr Bezruč, who was a well known poet and short story writer, and Zdeněk Rotrekl, Catholic poet and writer, who was persecuted for his beliefs and imprisoned for an alleged conspiracy against the state.

The prison continued to operate until 1956.  The Moravian Regional Archive used the buildings until 2006.

The city wants to revive the complex and space can be rented for exhibitions, workshops, concerts and theatre performances. 

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