The Czech Republic




The Czech Republic


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The Czech Republic




The Czech Republic is situated in Central Europe. It occupies an area of 78 864 sq. km and has about 10.33 million inhabitants. It borders with Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria.





Our state has a varied landscape and there are many spots of great natural beauty. Bohemia is surrounded by a ring of mountains - the Šumava range, the Czech Forest, the Ore Mountains, the Jizera Mountains, the Giant Mountains, and the Eagle Mountains. The Moravian Plain is protected on the West by the Bohemian-Moravian Highland, and on the North by the mountainous ranges of the Jeseníky and the Beskydy.  The highest Czech mountain is Sněžka (1,602 m). Fertile lowlands can be found in the valleys of big rivers - the Vltava, the Elbe (flowing into the North Sea), the Oder (flowing into the Baltic Sea), and the Morava (flowing into the Danube and thence into the Black Sea). Cascades of dams were built on the Vltava River (Lipno, Orlík, Slapy). South Bohemia is rich in ponds. Bohemia and Moravia are quite rich in mineral springs and spas (Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, Františkovy Lázně, Kynžvart, Poděbrady, Luhačovice, Jeseník, etc.) Among the most beautiful natural places are: the Czech Paradise, "rock town" in Prachov Rocks, the Děčín walls, Czech Switzerland, the Boubín virgin forest, Koněprusy caves, Moravian Karst, Macocha abyss etc. The climate is mostly continental.

There are many places associated with our history because the territory was settled by the Slavs in the 5th century. Among the most beautiful historic towns are Prague, Kutná Hora, Tábor, Telč, Olomouc, Třeboň, Kroměříž. Visitors can walk around preserved old castles or ruins such as Karlštejn, Křivoklát, Konopiště, Bezděz, Hluboká, Zvíkov, Loket, Lemberk, Kuks, Lednice, Slavkov, Sychrov.




One of our most significant raw materials is coal. Black coal can be found mainly in the Ostrava Coal Basin, but also in the area of Kladno and elsewhere. The most significant supplies of brown coal   are in the North Bohemia Coal Basin and in Western Bohemia in the Sokolov Basin. There are also small deposits of iron ore, uranium, oil etc. The rich deposits of kaolin and clay are important for the ceramics and glass industries.

The Czech Republic is traditionally an industrial country. The greatest percentage is represented by the engineering industry (machine tools, locomotives, tractors, agricultural machines). Besides this there are the chemical industry, food industry, textile industry, metallurgy and other kinds of industry. Glass, cut glass and china industries have a long tradition, too. Also the agriculture is developed enough to feed the population and be able to export its products too. The main items of our agriculture are wheat, maize, sugar-beet, grapes, hops and fruit. In animal production, cattle-breeding and pig-breeding are the most important. Fish-breeding, especially carp-breeding has a long tradition in South Bohemia ponds.




From the historical point of view our territory has been inhabited by Slavonic tribes since the 5th century A.D. The first Slavonic State was Sámo's Empire which was founded here in 623. With the further development and uniting of Slavonic tribes, the early feudal Great Moravian Empire was formed in the 9th century. After its disintegration, state activities were concentrated in the Czech Lands where in the 9th century power was taken over by the Czech tribe headed by the Přemyslid dynasty


 When the Přemyslid dynasty had died out by the sword in 1306 and,   the Czech throne went  to the Luxemburgs. The Czech Kingdom became also the centre of the Holy Roman Empire mainly during the reign of Charles IV and his son Wenceslas IV.   During the reign of Charles IV (1346 - 1378), Prague grew into one of the largest European cities of that era, and was a significant centre of education, architecture and the arts. In 1348 Charles University - the oldest one in Central, Northern and Eastern Europe - was founded in Prague.

The first part of the 15th century is marked by the Hussite Movement (1419-1437). It is named after Jan Hus (John Huss), professor, dean, and later rector of Charles University. He wanted to reform the Catholic Curch. In 1415 he was tried by the Church council in Constance and burnt at the stake as a heretic. The leading representatives of the Hussite Movement were Jan Žižka and Prokop Holý. 

During the period of the Hapsburg dynasty (1526-1918) the rulers tried to oppress the Czech nation in favour of the Germans and the Roman Catholic Church, but were not successful until the Battle on the White Mountain in 1620, followed by 300 years of  germanization and the liquidation of Czech literature and culture as a whole. Many non-Catholic artists and scientists had to leave the country (e.g. Jan Amos Comenius and Václav Hollar).

Nevertheless the 19th century brought a time of national revival and the period of Enlightenment took place. Czech language became important again and fine pieces of Czech literature were born (Mácha, Němcová, Neruda, Arbes, Jirásek, etc.)

At the end of World War I the Austrian-Hungarian Empire fell and the Czech nation was able to take its fate into its own hands in the newly established Czechoslovak Republic. The independent republic with T. G. Masaryk as the first president was proclaimed in October 1918. Though this was destroyed by the German occupation (1939-1945), it appeared again after World War ll. In 1948 the power was taken over by the communists directed by the Soviet Union. The "Prague Spring" in 1968 was oppressed by the invasion of the Soviet army and the "normalization" lasted about other 20 years till the "velvet revolution" in 1989. The following development led to the splitting of the republic, and in 1993 two new states appeared - the Czech Republic  and the Slovak Republic.







The Czech republic is a democratic state. Its government is divided into three branches the legislative, represented by the Parliament, the executive, represented mainly by the president and the government, and the judicial, represented by courts at various levels.

The Parliament consists of two chambers - the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The 200 Deputies and 81 Senators have the exclusive duty of making laws. The Parliament's main task is to pass laws, ratify international treaties, and decide on sending troops abroad.

The president is elected every five years by the Parliament but no one can serve more than two terms in office in a row. The president represents the state abroad and concludes foreign treaties. He is also the commander-in-chief of the army. In the law-making process he can   veto which means not signing a bill and returning it to the Parliament.

The government is composed of the premier, the vice-premiers, and the ministers. Some of the ministries are: Interior, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Justice, Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, Finance, Transport, Labour and Social Affairs, Education, Culture, and Health.

The judicial power is divided into a system of courts, starting with the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court and going down to the courts at all levels of regional government.

The main law is the Constitution.





  1. What countries does the Czech Republic border with?
  2. Describe the landscape of the Czech Republic.
  3. Name 7 important mountain ranges in our country.
  4. What are our natural resources?          
  5. What kind of industry developed in our country? (5)
  6. Say a few words about agriculture in the CR.
  7. Name the first states on our territory. 
  8. What do you know about the important dynasties in the Czech Republic (Přemyslid dynasty, Luxemburg)?
  9. What do you know about Charles IV and his reign?
  10. What do you know about John Huss and the Hussite movement?          
  11. What do you know about the history of the 20th century?
  12. When and how was the Czech Republic established.       
  13. Name 3 spas, 3 castles, 3 chateaus.     
  14. Describe the legislative power in our country.
  15. Describe the executive power in our country.                                          
  16. What do you know about the Government?
  17. Describe the judicial power in our country.
  18. What is the Constitution?
  19. What places of interest would you recommend to a foreigner?




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The Czech Republic

· 79 000 sq. km, 11 000 inhabitants

· in the middle of Europe

· borders on Germany (longest frontier – in the west), Poland (in the north), Austria (in the south) and Slovakia (in the east)

· capital – Prague



· the Giant Mountains – the highest mountain is Snow Mountain (1 603); partly Czech, partly Polish

· the Eagle Mountains, the Ore Mountains, the Bohemian Forest, the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, the Jeseník Mountains, the Moravian-Silesian Besides, Šumava

· the longest rivers are the rivers Vltava, Elbe, Morava



· the old legend says that Primal Father Czech came with his people to Bohemia, climbed up the hill Říp, observed the country and gave order to his people to settle in this fertile country

· first Slavs came to Bohemia in the 5th century

· in the 9th century they invited the first state formation - the Great Moravian Empire

· in the 10th century A new state had developed = Czech state

· the best and the most important ruler was King Charles IV (14th century) – he developed the economy, founded Prague University and built Prague New Town

· the crisis of medieval Europe culminated here in the Hussite movement - reformation teaching of Master Jan Hus who was burnt to death in 1415

· 1620 – Battle of the White Mountain – the country was Germanised and many non-Catholic artist and scientic had to leave the country (e.g. Jan Amos Comenius)

· the 19th century was Age of Reason – there were period of Enlightenment, Czech language and literature became important

· at the end of the World War I the Austrian-Hungarian Empire fell and in October 1918 the independent Czechoslovak Republic was proclaimed with T.G.Masaryk as the first president

· 1939 – Hitler occupied whole Czechoslovak Republic

· 1945 - Czechoslovak Republic became a satellite of the USSR – the socialistic era

· 1989 – the people throw out the communists, science then the republic is freedom and democratic

· 1992/1993 – Czech and Slovak republic was divided into independent countries 



· electrical energy from coal and uranium

· most important part of our economy is engineering (machines, motorcars, locomotives, tractors, trams, …)

· metallurgical and chemical industries are important, too

· textile and glass industries have a long tradition

· tourism



· wheat, maize, sugar-beet, grapes, hops and fruit

· cattle and pig breeding

· Fish breeding (especially carp-breeding) has a long tradition



· the major nationalities living here are Czech and Moravian

· minority groups - the Silesians, the Gypsies, The Poles, the Germans, the Ukrainians and the Russians



· Ostrava - coal mining, city was known as a steel heart of the socialist republic, miners from all country;

                   today a lot of mines are closed and miners are unemployed

- Ostrava’s way of life and local dialect have been influenced by the mixture of nationalities – Czechs,

Slovaks, Poles, Germans and Gypsies

                - two universities – Ostrava’s University and Technical University Báňská

                - four theatres: Moravia–Silesia National Theatre – four division: drama, opera, musical comedy, ballet

                                      - Theatre of Marionettes- does shows around Europe

                                      - Chamber Theatre Arenas 

                                      - Petr Bezruč Theatre – produce unique plays for young audiences

- the centre of Ostrava – banks, restaurants, stores, shops, …

· Mariánské Lázně – the youngest spa, founded in 19th century

                    - clean air, the peace of the environment, the calming silence of the woods

                    - Marienbad’s rich mineral springs – they cure the ailments of the kidneys, urinary tracts, metabolic

  disorders, motor disorders, diseases of nervous system, respiratory system, …

                    - cultural life – the Chopin Music Festival, the International Cultural Festival, performances of  

  folklore groups and brass music, colonnade concerts, chamber orchestras

                    - Bečov nad Teplou – castle, founded in the 13th century

- Premonstratensian monastery Teplá – was founded in 11th century

                                               - still belongs to the Premonstratensians

                                                                   - monastery’s library contains almost 1 000 000 books

                    - Castle Kynžvart - was built for Prince Metternich in 18/19 century

  • in Vienna classicism and empire style

· Český Krumlov

Český Krumlov as a unique urban complex was first included in 1992 on the UNESCO list of worldwide cultural heritage. The town has 15 000 inhabitants. It is one of the most heavily visited towns in CZ. The visitors like Queen Margareta II. Of Denmark or Prince Charles had visited it. Český Krumlov has a long history. It was the seat of the noble Vítek family in the 13th century etc. There are over 300 historical buildings there. In 1989 it was opened up to abroad interest. The Český Krumlov castle and Chateau is the second largest in the CZ. Very famous is the Revolving auditorium from 17th century (otáčecí jeviště). The European Information centre has been set up here. It has direct contact with the highest European organs as the UN, NATO… Every year in December the town goes back many centuries to pay homage (vzdát poctu) to its history. They dress mediaeval costumes. In August International Festival of Classical music takes place in Český Krumlov.


Central and Northern Moravia

· the history of this region is documented by a number of memorable castles, strongholds and historical areas

· the traditional way of life in this region is different than in the other parts of the country - there is a rich treasure of the unique folk architecture, folk customs and traditions



· the mountain range of Jeseníky is a well-known recreational area

· popular health resorts, water spas, natural bathing pools and lakes (Karlova Studánka, Lázně Lipová, …)


Opava region

· in the centre of this region is an ancient town Opava with many historical buildings

· many ruins of the ancient castles and strongholds with the gardens and parks around it (Šilheřovice, Raduň, Kravaře, …)


Central Moravia

· Hana – the region of fertile lowland

· Olomouc – the metropolis of Central Moravia, the royal seat of the Premyslide dukes, Archbishop’s Palace

· rich and powerful towns were rising in this area (Kroměříž, Přerov, Prostějov, …)

Moravská brána  (Moravian Gate)

· hilly landscape

· the well-known European river Odra has it spring in the Oderské vrchy.

· historical towns, castles, sights with folk architecture (Frenštát pod Radhoštěm, Štramberk, Studénka, …)



· Moravian-Silesian (Moravskoslezské) Beskydy is the largest Moravian mountain range in this region

· tourist and sport centre, towns in the mountain valleys and foothills (Hukvaldy, Hrčava, Hnojník, …)

· the symbol of Beskydy – a stone pagan god of Radegast


Valašsko region (Wallachia)

· named after Valachs who settled on this region

· specific character in folk architecture and folklore (Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, Vsetín, Valašské Meziříčí, …)

Chřiby, Hostýnské a Vizovické vrchy

· countless wine cellars, distinctive ethnographic festivals

· ancient royal towns with castles (Buchlov, Vizovice, Zlín, Luhačovice …)


Šumava – the Bohemian Forest

· mountains, deep forests, unique moors with the springs of the river Vltava

· ancient buildings, old towns with historical centres, castles and strongholds

Chebsko (Cheb region)

· valley reservoirs with camps around it, beaches and swimming areas

· popular spas (Mariánské Lázně, Františkovy lázně)

· Cheb – old city fortification, museum, gallery, municipal monuments reserve

Tachovsko (Tachov region)

· deep forest along the border

· castle Přidma dominated the region

· Tachov – ancient town, museum, gallery, municipal monuments zone

Domažlicko (Domažlice region)

· area of folk traditions, traditional architecture and customs

· Domažlice – Chodenland-Museum, Chodsko region museum, glassworks museum, municipal monuments reserve

· Klatovsko (Klatovy region)

· the Šumava Regional Preserve and National Park begins there

· mountain plateaus, mountain valleys, lakes

· Klatovy – catacombs, glassworks museum, municipal monuments zone

Prachaticko (Prachatice region)

· National Park

· the extensive plateaus, moors, mountain streams and torrents, the Boubín primeval forest - untouched by civilisation

· Prachatice – ancient town, glassworks museum, municipal monuments reserve

Českokrumlovsko (Český Krumlov region)

· the Šumava National Park

· the Lipenská reservoir

· Český Krumlov - municipal monuments reserve (UNESCO), International Cultural Centre of Egon Schiele, natural theatre with revolving auditorium, historical festivals, museum, gallery


Šumava National Park

· area about 690 sq. km.

· peaceful areas with unique flora and fauna

· known as „the Green Roof of Europe“ or  „the Green Lungs of Europe“


North eastern Bohemia

In the northeast the Czech basin is framed by the belt of mountains at the border which has formed a natural boundary between Bohemia and Poland. The mountains in this region offer to cyclists hundreds of kilometres of mountain paths.

The territory of Jizerské Mountains contains a total of 25 nature preserves. The highest mountain is Smrk (1124 m). They are the most visited mountains in CZ. This region is one of the most beautiful regions for cycling in Bohemia. The plateau area is interwoven with a web of mountain roads along which you can ride as you wish without any great effort. The well-known dominating features of the land include the Ještěd peak with its hotel and rotating hyperboloid - shaped television-broadcasting tower. Liberec is famous for its big Zoo and botanical garden and timber – framed houses. Jablonec n. N. is famous for jewellery and glass

The Krkonoše Mountains are the highest mountain range in CZ. The highest peak is Sněžka. The Krkonoše natural park was established here in 1963. In zone 1 of the park hiking and sporting activity is restricted and bicycle riding is permitted at all. They are divided by the river Labe into two parts. There are lots of paths, which are very suitable for mountain biking. From the highest peaks visitors can enjoy the magnificent panoramic views. Visitors are also attracted by picturesque countryside and characteristic settlements of the Semilsko region. The eastern section of Krkonoše Mountains is dominated by Sněžka mountain. The cycling trails begin in the foothills and rise high up the hill sides and lead along the surrounding ridges. A lot of fairytales associated with Krkonoše. The guardian of Krkonoše is also very famous. He is called Krakonoš and he is said to repay good with good and to justly punish the evil.

The Český Ráj is a region of sandstone rock formations and labyrinths. The romantic ruins of castles and magnificent chateaus complete the colourful mosaic of the region. Dominating feature of the land are the ruins of the gothic Trosky castle. The entire region was declared to be a protected scenic preserve in the year 1954. There are a total of three instructive trails in this region. The rivers Jizera and Kamenice have cut deep walleyes in the rock. Among the rock formations there is also a group of several ponds and the picturesque valley of Plakátek extends out before the Kost castle.

The Orlické Mountain range boasts a harmonious and as well balanced landscape as well. In the year 1969 it was declared to be a protected territorial preserve. The highest peak is Velká Deštná (1150 m). The cycling trails lead through all of the most interesting areas. Special attention is deserved by the mountain trail named after famous writer A. Jirásek. And another item of interest is Bunkrovka cycling trail. A trail that winds around unique fortifications dating back to the time of the WW II.


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