Špilberk’s importance and role changed fundamentally over the course of the centuries. This leading royal castle and seat of the Moravian margraves, gradually transformed into a monumental Baroque fortress, the toughest prison of the Austrian monarchy and later a military barracks. Nowadays it is home to Brno City Museum and one of the most important cultural centres in the city.
This monumental fortress, which rises up over a steep slope directly over the historical centre of the city, is a popular place for walks and relaxation among the locals. Here, you will meet young couples, senior citizens walking their dogs and athletes keeping in shape.
Špilberk was founded in the middle of the 13th century by the Czech king Přemysl Otakar II. He conceived its construction on a very grand scale, both as firm support for his power and also as a dignified seat for the rulers of Moravia. However, it made its mark on history mostly as a prison for the toughest and most dangerous of criminals. It was not only “regular” murderers, thieves or arsonists who did their time here, but also so-called state prisoners. This concerned people from the upper classes such as Italian nationalists or people fighting against Habsburg absolutism.
You can visit several installations. For example the baroque pharmacy, installation of the 18th century furniture coming from the Elizabethans Convent in Brno.As the convent had to struggle against the shortage of financial means, it was forced to offer the pharmacy for sale. Representatives of the Brno Municipal Council organised a collection in 1908 (mainly business people who were members of the Municipal Council at that period participated in the collection) and they bought the pharmacy with the proceeds and handed it over to the custody of the Brno City Museum. With only minor exceptions, it represents a unique collection of original well preserved furniture and equipment, now once more on show to the public. The pharmacy is installed in the premises of Špilberk Castle and is accessible from the castle small courtyard.