The Czech Republic

    

  • It is situated in central Europe. It is an inland country and it has borders with Poland to the north, Germany to the west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east.
  • It has about 10,5 million inhabitants
  • There are also different national minorities – Slovaks, Poles, Germans or Hungarians.
  • It is divided into 14 regions and the capital city of Prague.
  • It is composed of three historic regions: Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia.
  • CZ was established on the 1st of January 1993.
  • The Czech Republic is a member of NATO and the European Union.

History

  • In the 4th century BC Celtic tribes settled in the area of Moravia.
  • In the 7th century Frankish merchant Samo became the ruler.
  • In 833 Great Moravia was created.
  • Than in 9th century Czech state was unified by the Přemyslid dynasty (until 1306).
  • In 14th century during reign of Charles IV (Luxembourg) the Kingdom expanded – Holy Roman Empire.
  • In 15th century there were Hussite Wars (political-religious conflicts, Jan Hus (1371-1415) – was burnt to death.
  • In 16th century Habsburg reign – Thirty Years War (1618-1648).
  • After TYW there were strong Germanisation (Czech language was driven away from state, schools, business) – This was stopped by Czech National Revival (cultural movement taking place in the 18th and 19th century which wants revive the Czech language, culture and national identity.
  • Czechoslovakia was established in 1918 after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
  • On the 1st of January 1993 is divided into two separate states- the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

1939-45: Nazi occupation of our country, WWII.

1948: Communistic putsch in Czechoslovakia.

1960-90: period of duration ČSSR – Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.

1968: Russian occupation, Prague spring.

17 of November 1989: Velvet revolution – students revolt against Communistic regime (party).

 

National symbols

  1. The Czech flag was first adopted in 1918 as the flag of the newly established Czechoslovakia. It consists of a horizontal white band above a red band (traditional colours of Bohemia and Moravia) and a blue triangle. The blue triangle originally represented Slovakia, but it was kept as a part of the Czech flag even after the split of Czechoslovakia.
  2. The coat of arms – depicts the two – tailed Bohemian lion, and the Moravian (red and silver) and Silesian (black) eagles.

 

Political system

The Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy.

  • The Parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Deputies (200members) and the Senate (81 members) – senate is a relatively new institution, re-introduced in 1996.
  • The executive branch is represented by the government and the president. After parliamentary election the president appoints the prime minister, usually from a winning party, to form a government. The MPs are elected for a four-yearterm and senators for six years.
  • The president is elected directly by the people for a five-year-long term.

 



Geography

  • The Czech landscape is varied.
  • Borders are formed by mountain ranges.
  • The highest peak is Sněžka reaching the height of 1602 m in the Krkonoše Mountains.
  • Mountains:  the Krušné Mountains, Jizerské m., Orlické m., Beskydy or Jeseníky.
  • Navigable rivers: the Elbe, Morava and Oder. They flow into three different seas: the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Black Sea. The largest tributary to the Elbe is the Vltava.
  • South Bohemia is known for there are ponds – (freshwater fish are farmed there, especially carp. The largest pond is called Rožmberk).
  • The lowlands are important for agriculture and farming. The most extensive Czech lowland is Polabská nížina.

 

Tourism

  • The historic centre of Prague is the primary tourist attraction.
  • There are famous Spas: Karlovy Vary, Františkovy lázně and Mariánské lázně.
  • Other tourist sites are our castles and chateaux, such as:
  • Karlštejn – one of the most famous Czech castles was founded by Charles IV. In the 14th.
  • Konopiště or Český Krumlov.
  • You can also visit sandy rocks in Český ráj or stalactite caves in Moravský kras (Moravian Karst) – its greatest abyss, called Macocha, is 138 m deep.

Major cities

  • Brno, Ostrava, Plzeň, Olomouc, Zlín, HK.

 

UNESCO

  1. Litomyšl Castle – One of the most important examples of Renaissance architecture, opera festival Smetana’s Litomyšl take place here (born town of B. Smetana).
  2. Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc – One of the tallest Baroque memorial columns in the Czech Republic with copper statues.
  3. Třebíč – The historical centre with Romanesque – Gothic basilica.
  4. The Historical Centre of Telč – The town’s square with Renaissance and Baroque houses.
  5. Kutná hora – a medieval mining town which became rich because of silver deposits. There is a historical centre and the Church of St. Barbara.
  6. Lednice – Valtice Cultural Landscape –

 

Czech personalities

 

  • Sport:  Jaromír Jágr, Dominik Hašek, Martina Navrátilová (won Wimbledon nine times) Emil Zátopek and Jarmila Kratochvílová, Dana Zátopková and Jan Železný (javelin-throwers), Tomáš Dvořák (decathlete), Roman Šebrle (the first decathlete ever to break 9000 points).
  • Art: Karel Čapek – writer, novelist, journalist, he coined word Robot (R.U.R.), Antonín Dvořák  – composer (Slavonic Dancers– Slovanské tance, From the New World – Novosvětská, Bartered bride – Prodaná nevěsta), Bedřich Smetana – composer  (Vltava, The Bartered Bride), Miloš Forman – director (Amadeus, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.)

 

  1. Politics: Václav Havel, T. G. Masaryk, Milada Horáková.

 

Slovíčka:

Two tailed lion – lev dvouocasý

Princess – kníže

Principality – knížectví

Czech Estates – stavy

National Revival – Národní Obrození

Municipal house – Obecní dům

The Lesser Quarter – Malá Strana

Mortar – malta

Legend has it – legenda praví

Abbot – opat

Powder – Prašná Brána

Astronomical clocks – Orloj

Mill – mlýn

Relics – relikvie

Prophesied – věštit

Wenceslas square

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