About the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is an important tourist destination. From the moment visitors cross its borders, they are able to enjoy diverse natural sites, changing landscapes, a number of historic cities and villages with beautiful architecture, numerous recently renovated old castles and spectacular churches.
When it comes to nature, tourists can visit the impenetrable virgin forest in the Sumava Mountains, the magnificent Giant Mountains (Krkonoše) and the spectacular Ore Mountains. Rock climbers can enjoy the popular Prachovské skály and Bohemian Switzerland (České Švýcarsko), with their sandstone cities and numerous caves. South Bohemia, with hundreds of lakes, and the region of South Moravia, famous for cultivating excellent wines, are also popular.
The country has long been known for its spas and mineral springs. In recent years, the Czech Republic has seen an increase in rural tourism, theme holidays (such as beer, gastronomy and oenology), sport holidays and recreation for families with small children or for the elderly.
The Czech Republic and its capital have many protected historical landmarks, cities and villages. Some of them are on the UNESCO World Heritage List: the historic centre of Prague as well as the historic centres of Český Krumlov, Telč and Kutná, the pilgrimage church of St John Nepomuk in Zelena, Lednice-Valtice cultural landscape, the gardens and castle of Kroměříž, the village of Holašovice in South Bohemia, Litomyšl Castle, the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc, Tugendhat Villa in Brno, the Jewish Quarter, St Procopius Basilica…
Founded: 1st January 1993 (following the division of Czechoslovakia).
According to Article 1 of the Czech Constitution, the Czech Republic is a sovereign, unified, democratic, constitutional state founded on the respect of the rights and freedoms of its citizens. The people are the source of all state power, which is carried out through legislative, executive and judicial bodies. The Declaration of Basic Rights and Freedoms is part of the Czech Constitution. The Parliament, made up of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, has legislative power. The government, appointed by the country’s president, has executive power and answers to the Chamber of Deputies. The Czech Republic’s state symbols include the national flag, the national anthem, the state Seal and the flag of the Czech president.
Population: 10,515,818 (as of 30th June 2010)
Populaton density: 133 people per square km
Nacionalities: 81.1% Czech, 13.2% Moravian, 0.4% Silesian (totalling 94.7%), 0.5% German, 3.1% Slovak, 0.3% Gypsies, 0.6% Polish, 0.2% other.
Total area: 78,866 square km.
The Czech Republic is located in Central Europe. The country’s longest distance from east to west is 493 km, and its longest distance from north to south is 278 km. In terms of size, the Czech Republic is the 21st smallest country in Europe. It is smaller than Hungary, Portugal and Austria but larger than Ireland, Lithuania and Latvia. The Czech Republic is bordered by Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland. Its average elevation above sea level is 430 metres.
Brief historical overview
The first inhabitants of the Czech lands were the Celtic Boi (which is where the name Bohemia comes from). Slavs from the east settled in this region in the 6th century.
Dates of historical interest:
Samo’s Empire; the Great Moravian Empire; the Premyslid Dynasty and the Luxembourg Dynasty (Charles IV); the Hussite period; the Habsburg Monarchy; the Thirty Years War; the Czech National Renaissance; the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; the founding of the Republic of Czechoslovakia under the presidency of T.G. Masaryk; German occupation; 40 years under communist totalitarianism, with a centrally-planned, government-run economy; the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and the collapse of the socialist bloc; privatisation and the transition to a free-market economy; entry into NATO on 12th March 1999; entry into the European Union on 1st May 2004.