written by Danielle Corcione
I spent this weekend in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, with my classmates and professor. Interestingly enough, while Prague is historically a Bohemian city, Brno is Moravian. Before the area became known as the Czech Republic, and even before it was combined with Slovak lands as Czechoslovakia, the region was divided into three: Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia.
There was no better way to gain an intercultural understanding than traveling to another area within the country. Since I am taking an anthropology course, this was especially important to my academic experience abroad. Instead of a guided tour of typical tourist attractions of the city, Brno residents showed us places where locals frequent. It was refreshing to explore a new place without feeling like a generic tourist. Stops of the tour included different cafés that specialized in Turkish coffee, soup, and fair trade food. Needless to say, I was impressed.
On Saturday afternoon, we walked over to Brno’s Romany district for the third annual Ghettofest, a street festival to celebrate Romany music, theater, film, dance, and discussions. This year, one of the objectives of the festival was to attract and engage people outside of Brno to the city. Our class listened to an entire set of a singer/songwriter, followed by a performance of traditional Romany dance.