Diliana Neikova, from Bulgaria, has been studying fifth year of architecture at University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia. She came to Brno in September 2009 to study at Faculty of Architecture of Brno University of Technology via the Erasmus student exchange program.
What do you like and what don’t you like about Brno?
Well, as a future architect, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by Brno’s human scale (knowing it is the second biggest city in Czech Republic). I would definitely never have expected it to be so calm and with such lovely natural surroundings close by. And of course the system of transport is really impressive, but I guess this is a thing everybody praises.
Although what I really dislike for example is the filth in some places – like at the main railway station and even on náměstí Svobody. I know that it depends on the people living and visiting the city but this is a bad first impression.
Do you know some “best practices” or experience from living in other cities that could be of use in Brno, too?
I would recommend more careful restoration of the buildings so that they would not lose their charm. Also becoming more pedestrian and cycling friendly. One short example – I’m always afraid of crossing from tram stop Česká towards Česká street and náměstí Svobody and I can only imagine what it would be like if I had a little child crossing with me.
What do you think is Brno’s advantage compared with other cities?
It’s calm. You can see everything without the stressful crowds and you can visit so many interesting places close to Brno with public transport – no car needed. It’s also a great place to observe different styles in architecture and their development.
How can Brno become more open and attractive for foreigners?
What I dislike is that when you try to talk to local people in English they pretty often ignore you or treat you in a not very nice way – after all not everybody speaks Czech, but for example I really try and when somebody treats me like that I am really disappointed. The opening times of pubs and shops can also be considered difficult, because if you come to visit on weekends you can usually only go to malls and they definitely don’t have the traditional spirit of Brno – they are exactly the same everywhere. I also think that Brno needs more advertising, because when you look for travel destinations in the Czech Republic you always see Praha.
What’s your favorite place in Brno, somewhere that’s really unique?
I really like the garden under Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral – Denisovy sady.
Written by: Petr Marčišák
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