The Czech Republic or Czechia is a small landlocked country in Central Europe, situated south-east of Germany and bordering Austria to the south, Poland to the north and Slovakia to the south-east.
The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,864 square kilometres. It borders Slovakia, Austria, Germany and Poland. The highest mountain is Snezka - 1604m, the longest river is the Vltava - 434km. The population is 10.3 million. Czech's belong to the West Slavic group of peoples, along with the Poles, Slovaks & Luatians. Romanies, or Gypsies, are the most conspicuous minority in Prague. They are thought to descend from Indian migrants in the 15th century.
About Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is not a large country but has a rich and eventful history. From time immemorial Czechs, Germans, Jews and Slovaks, as well as Italian stonemasons and stucco workers, French tradesmen and deserters from Napoleon’s army have all lived and worked here, all influencing one another. For centuries they jointly cultivated their land, creating works that still command our respect and admiration today. It is thanks to their inventiveness and skill that this small country is graced with hundreds of ancient castles, monasteries and stately mansions, and even entire towns that give the impression of being comprehensive artifacts. The Czech Republic contains a vast of amount of architectural treasure and has beautiful forests and mountains to match.
The Czech Republic became an independent state in January 1993 after Czechoslovakia split into its two constituent parts. Before World War II, Czechoslovakia was one of the 10 most industrialised states in the world, and the only central European country to remain a democracy until 1938.
The Czech capital, Prague, is more than 1 000 years old and has a wealth of historic architecture of different styles. Because of this, the city has become a favoured location for many international film makers.
Manufacturing is still a major economic activity, especially the production of automobiles, machine tools, and engineering products. Iron and steel industries are important in Moravia in the east of the country. The chief crops are maize, sugar beet, potatoes, wheat, barley, and rye.
Hills and mountains cover about 95% of the country - ideal for skiing, mountain biking and hill walking. Wild boar and foxes are found in the abundant woodlands.
The Czech Republic produces world-famous beer, including Pilsner. Wine is produced in the southern regions of Moravia and in part of Bohemia. A record 900 natural springs have also ensured that the country produces plenty of mineral water.
Famous Czechs include the Art Nouveau artist Alfons Mucha, composers Antonin Dvorák and Bedrich Smetana, marathon runner Emil Zátopek and the writers Franz Kafka and Milan Kundera.
Czech Republic regions
Although the modern adjective bohemian refers to Bohemia, that usage was based on a broad stereotype and also a poor grasp of geography, so don't expect the Bohemians you meet to be nomadic or anti-conventional artistic/literary bohemians, or to see anything out of Puccini's "La Bohème". And no, Bohemian Rhapsody (its lyrics sprinkled with Italian and Arabic) is not a local anthem!
So the word Bohemia/Bohemian came from the name of the Celtic tribe Boii. The term Bohemian had ended up meaning more or less Czech by the end of the 19th Century with the awakening of Slavic nationalism. However, it was also used to refer to any inhabitant of Bohemia, including the vast number of Germans that used to inhabit the region until the end months of WWII.
Moravia and Czech Silesia
Moravia, along with Bohemia (the other half of the Czech Republic), was among the first regions of continental Europe to undergo the Industrial Revolution; however it did not experience the mass urbanisation of Bohemia. The region is therefore still home to gorgeous vineyards, orchards, fields full of "organic" produce, and filled with scenic mountain vistas and cute little villages. Even the regional capital, Brno, is renowned for its small town charm. There is an extremely extensive rail system, and the region contains historic factories such as Zbrojovka Brno (weapons) and the BaĹĄa factory in Zlín (shoes).
The dialects of Czech spoken in Moravia are slightly different from those spoken in Bohemia, particularly in Prague. Moravians pride themselves on their dialect and learning a few stereotypical regionalisms may go down well (or terribly, depending on just what it is you think you're saying and what you end up saying). The region's strategic location at the Moravian Gate (a pass through the imposing mountain ranges of Central Europe) has led to a confluence of a great amount of history.
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