Brno, the capital of South Moravia, is the second largest city in the Czech Republic with more than 400 000 inhabitants. The first written mention of the town comes from as far back as 1091. Brno has always been an important trade crossing as well as a hub for the textile and engineering industries. The Brno Exhibition Grounds, which came into being with the opening of an exhibition of contemporary culture in 1928, has also contributed to the development of commerce to a considerable extent.
Among the prominent buildings in the town that combine to make up its silhouette is the castle - the Špilberk citadel from the 13th century - the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Old Town Hall with its tower, the Tugendhat Villa, and so on.
Of the well-known personalities to have brought fame to Brno in the past are composer Leoš Janáèek, natural scientist Gregor Mandel, the architect Fuchs, the inventor of the water turbine Ing. Kaplan, and from the world of sport, the Pospíšil brothers, Jana Novotná, and many more. Brno is also the home of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic, the headquarters of the Ombudsman of the Czech Republic, and the seat of a number of universities and colleges.