Explore Brno


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.

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