“Beseda” (Znojmo Civic Society House)
From the 17th century up to the fall of the Austrian Empire in 1918, Znojmo municipal authorities were constantly in the hands of German-speaking citizens, who had always outnumbered the Czech-speaking ones. As the Germanic element had dominated everything in the city, the national awakening of the Czech elites came quite late – in the second half of the 19th century, when the Viennese government acceded to a moderately liberal constitution (1867). The first Czech civic society in Znojmo called “Beseda Znojemská” was founded in 1870 by Jan Vlk and it soon became a very important driving force in emancipation of the Znojmo Czechs. In 1881 the society built their own representative house on Lower Square (now Masarykovo nám.) No 22 in the place of an old inn. The Neo-Renaissance Znojmo Civic Society House, boasting a beautiful stucco theatre hall (on 1st floor), has always contributed to rich cultural life in the city.