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GO TO BRNO’S EXHIBITION GROUNDS

The Brno exhibition grounds were once among the most significant functionalist sites in the world. Today, the exhibition space spans almost 190,000 m2.

The exhibition grounds are currently managed by Veletrhy Brno, a company which organises exhibitions, trade fairs, shows, concerts, and other events throughout the year. The largest events include the MSV International Engineering Fair and the Techagro International Fair of Agricultural Technology.

At the end of the 19th century, Brno was one of the leading industrial centres of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Preparations for the exhibition grounds began while Brno was still a part of the empire but were interrupted by World War I. In 1923, a large exhibition was planned to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia, and representatives of local industrial and commercial companies used this event to win support for the idea of the exhibition grounds.

The project gained support, and the city of Brno purchased the lands where the exhibition now stands, which until then had been called Bauerova rampa (Bauer’s Ramp). The city issued a call for architectural designs, which was won by Josef Kalous. The main element of the winning design was a monumental circular platform with two wide promenades leading from it, lined by pavilions that were later completed by other architects based on Kalous’s concept.

Construction started at the end of 1926 and went quite smoothly, and so the whole project was finished in less than 18 months. The exhibition grounds had their opening ceremony on 26 May 1928, and the September exhibition of contemporary culture in Czechoslovakia was attended by over 2.5 million visitors.

During the Nazi occupation, the German army took over the exhibition grounds. By the end of the war, the area was so seriously damaged that there was talk of closing it down indefinitely. In 1947, however, renovations were started. Only a few of the original pavilions have been preserved.

Those buildings preserved from 1928 and several other significant buildings constructed later are now listed buildings. The grounds also hold several sculptures, the most famous of which is the Nový věk (New Age) allegorical group sculpture by Vincenc Makovský, which was transferred here from the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, where it won a Grand Prix.

 

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