Therefore, take a stroll through Brno and look at the familiar city with fresh eyes. We offer you something like a "Brno Napoleon Tour". It won't be a long journey; you'll stay in the city center the whole time...
On 19 November, 1805, French troops entered Brno and began fortification works, with Napoleon himself arriving one day later. From here, he regularly set out to study the landscape of the future battle where he intended to lure the allied forces. He always returned to Brno after dark (issuing an order for two lit candles in every window to greet him).
Napoleon and his staff stayed at the Governor's Palace (Místodržitelský palác), a former Augustinian monastery (now the Moravian Gallery). From 21 November, 1805, until the departure of the troops to the battlefield, daily military parades took place here. (Napoleon returned to the Governor's Palace with his staff once more after the victorious Battle of Znaim in 1809.)
In the Dietrichstein Palace on "Zelňák," Russian Marshal Kutuzov stayed (2-5 October). He was the supreme commander of the allied armies in the Battle of Austerlitz (see the memorial plaque on the Moravian Museum building). After the arrival of the French, Marshal Lannes moved into the palace, and slaughterhouses were set up on Zelný trh (Cabbage Market) in front of the palace during the French army's stay. Every day, meat was prepared for the entire army (approximately 23 cows per day from the property of the poor local farmers), and the square had an incredible stench. Nearby, at the Reduta Theater, the French established a prison for Russian officers after the Battle of Austerlitz, and later, a military hospital. Can you imagine how this affected the interiors of the beautiful building? Due to this, theatrical performances ceased for many years.
Just a few minutes' walk away, you'll find the park beneath Brno's Petrov Hill, known today as Denis Gardens (Denisovy sady). As a commemoration of the end of the war's hardships, an obelisk was ceremoniously erected here in 1818. It takes the form of a four-sided pyramid, with a quartet of gilded lions guarding each corner. Brno residents certainly had plenty of reasons to celebrate the end of Napoleon's stay in South Moravia. Firstly, after the French occupation of Brno, the military authorities claimed magnificent noble palaces for themselves and soldiers occupied bourgeois houses and monasteries. Moreover, many inhabitants of ground-floor apartments had to give up their homes to the horses! Besides, the unfortunate townsfolk also had the "honour" (= duty) of providing for their sustenance. In addition to this, Brno had to supply the French with shoes, the aforementioned tons of meat, tens of thousands of loaves of bread, and so on. On the top of all the locals' suffering, the thousands of wounded and captured soldiers after the battle were a source of a deadly typhus epidemic.
The aim of our journey following Napoleon footsteps in Brno is the monument to the French general Valhubert in Tyrš's Park in the Veveří district (formerly the city cemetery, which is now evidenced only by the central cemetery cross from 1847). He was mortally wounded during the Battle of Austerlitz and died in Brno three days later. Napoleon himself attended his funeral at the Church of St. James.