Explore places related to Gregor Johann Mendel, the Brno abbot who is known as ‘the father of genetics’, and his study of the laws of biological inheritance.
Gregor Johann Mendel is one of the most significant men in all of history, not only that of Brno. In 1866, he published the famous paper ‘Experiments on Plant Hybridisation’, which laid the groundwork for modern genetics. This renowned scientist spent a major part of his life in Brno. He was born on 20 July 1822, in the Moravian-Silesian town of Hynčice, not far from what is now Nový Jičín. After finishing his studies at the grammar school in Opava, he continued at the University of Olomouc (which is now Palacký University Olomouc). He later joined the seminary, and in 1843 joined the Augustinian Abbey of St Thomas in Staré Brno (Old Brno) where he was given the name Gregor.
When he was 28 years old and working as a substitute secondary school teacher in Znojmo, he applied to the University of Vienna to take biology and physics tests to become a certified teacher but failed them. Between 1851 and 1853, he studied mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, and palaeontology at the University of Vienna. Returning to Brno, from 1856 he studied the cross-breeding of peas. Based on his experiments, he formulated three rules, later known as Mendel’s laws of inheritance. In 1867, he became the abbot of the Abbey of St Thomas and was soon appointed to additional positions, which meant that he had to put aside his research. He spent the last ten years of his life in an exhausting dispute with the Austrian government over taxes on abbey properties.
Although Mendel was among the most significant citizens of Brno during his life, his contribution to biology was fully appreciated only after his death.
This tour will take you to places related to Gregor Johann Mendel, including the abbey where he lived and carried out his experiments, museums mapping his life and work, buildings where he gave lectures, and even his grave.
Parts of tour
Mendelianum: find out what it’s like to be a scientist
Bishop’s Courtyard (Biskupský dvůr)
Members of the Augustinian Order were devoted to science
Church of St Michael (Kostel sv. Michala) and Mendel
Mendel studied theology in the seminary
German Technical University (now a Masaryk University building), (Budova Technického učení)
Mendel gave most of his lectures at this university
Augustinian Abbey in Brno and Mendel
The monastery was an academic centre in Mendel’s days
St Anne’s University Hospital Brno (Nemocnice u sv. Anny v Brně)
Augustinians were heavily involved in charitable activities
City Courtyard, now Barceló Brno Palace Hotel (Městský dvůr)
The courtyard where Mendel once lectured is now a hotel
Moravian Assembly, now the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic (Zemský sněm)
In 1881, Mendel became manager of the Moravian Mortgage Bank
Grammar school (now a vocational school)
The first lecture on genetics could have been given here
The university was founded 35 years after Mendel’s death
Pavilion in Lužánky
It’s no surprise that Mendel had a passion for gardening
Central Cemetery (Ústřední hřbitov) and Mendel
Mendel died after a brief illness in 1884 at the age of 61
Mendel Museum MU (Mendelovo muzeum MU)
Museum located right where the father of genetics lived and worked
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