Czech Republic – New Beginnings in a Historic Land
Czechoslovakia was formed after World War I from parts of the defeated Austria-Hungary Empire. During World War II, it was taken over by Germany and in 1945 the army of the Soviet Union freed the country.
On January 1, 1993 Czechoslovakia split peacefully into two independent countries. The eastern section became Slovakia. The western provinces, Bohemia and Moravia, became the Czech Republic. Playwright Vaclav Havel became the first president of the independent country.
The country is known for its picture-book towns, its polka dance, and the architecture of its capital city. Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic is bordered by Slovakia, Austria, Germany, and Poland. In the southwest is the large Bohemian Forest. The country’s main river is the Elbe. Most lakes in are manmade. The largest artificial lake is Lake Rozmberk, which covers 500 hectares. Snezka Mountain is the highest point. Its height is 1602 m.
One of the Czech Republic’s most famous topographical features is the Moravian Karst, a highland area in southern Moravia where the erosion of limestone hills over time has created a dramatic landscape of caves and canyons.
The official language is Czech, a Slavic language closely related to Slovak and Polish.
The most important crops are sugar beets, wheat, barley, potatoes, and corn. Many factories manufacture iron, steel, aluminum, fertilizers, and cement. Cotton, wool, and synthetic fibers are also produced. The Czechs make beautiful glass and porcelain objects. Some people make pretty lace and others make delightful wood carvings.
Novelist Franz Kafka, composer Antonin Dvorak, and poster artist Alphonse Mucha are among the many Czechs who have contributed to the arts.
Prague is nicknamed the City of 100 Spires because of its many church steeples. It lies on the banks of the Vltava River. The city center has many historic buildings, bridges, and museums. Prague Castle was first built in the 9th century and it is now the home of the president. At the center of the Old Town is the Old Town Square, where the 600- year-old Tyn Church is found. Powder Tower is the old city gate.
Charles University was started in 1348 and is the oldest university in central Europe.
Czech beer has a long and interesting history. The first brewery was built in 1118. At the moment, the most productive and modern factories in the world are in the Czech Republic!
The Czech Republic became a member of NATO in 1999. Also, the country has been part of the European Union since May 2004.
Jaroslav Heyrovsky became the first Czech Nobel laureate. This happened in 1959 for high achievements in the study of polarography and electroanalytical chemistry.
Sugar cubes were invented in the Czech Republic in 1843.