Facts in brief:
Brno is situated at the junction of the Svratka and Svitava Rivers in the eastern hilly country of the Bohemian highlands in the Czech Republic. It is the second largest city in the nation. The locality shows traces of Neolithic and Cro-Magnon inhabitants, and of Celtic and Slavic settlements in historic times. The town began developing with German colonization in the 13th century, and became an incorporated city in 1243. The margraves of Moravia took the city in the 14th century and held it successfully until the 18th century, despite several sieges. French troops occupied it in 1805 before Napoleon's victory over united Austrian and Russian forces southeast of Brno at Slavkoy. The city then fell under the rule of the Austrian Hapsburg emperors, and the famous Spilberk Castle became a notorious prison. The monk and geneticist Gregor Mendel lived and worked at the monastery at Brno. The Gothic church of that monastery survives, as do many other old buildings in the old town.
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