Otázka: The Czech Republic and its capital Prague
The Czech Republic and Prague
- The Czech Republic is situated in the middle of Europe. We can say that Czech Republic is the country in the heart of Europe.
- Our country is historically divided into 3 parts: Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia.
- There are 4 neighbouring countries: Poland, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany. Poland is in the north, Slovakia is in the east, Austria is in the south and Germany is in the west.
- There are more than 10 million people.
- The major nationalities living here are Czech and Moravian, but there are also minority groups such as the Silesians, Romes, Poles, Germans, Ukrainians and Russians.
- The capital city is Prague, where are more than 1 million people. The other big cities are for example Brno, Plzeň, Olomouc, Ostrava and Liberec.
- The actual president is Miloš Zeman, who was elected in 2013.
- The official language is Czech.
- The local currency is the Czech Crown.
- The Czech Republic has 4 seasons – spring, summer, autumn, winter.
- The longest rivers are Vltava, Elbe and Morava.
- The Czech Republic is an industry country. The most important part of our economy is engineering. Other important branches are chemical industries and tourism.
- The state flag consists of two horizontal stripes (white on the top, red on the bottom) and blue wedge.
- Prague is the capital and the biggest city of the CR, the seat of the president, government and parliament and the political, cultural and economic centre of the country.
- The Czech Republic is rich in minerals. Black and brown coal, lignite and sand for glass making are mined there.
- The Czech landscape is quite varied. Our country´s natural borders are formed by mountain ranges. The highest mountains are the Giant Mountains (Krkonoše) with the highest peak, Sněžka, reaching the height of 1602 m. Among others there are e.g. the Krušné mountains, Jizerské m., Orlické m., Beskydy or Jeseníky.
Parts of the city
- Prague is divided into many boroughs (10 parts) – the historical centre is made up by the Old Town, Josefov, the Lesser Quarter, Hradčany, the New Town and Vyšehrad.
- The most common is travelling by car and by bus. People also use trains. In some cities, you may travel by trams and in Prague, there is a subway. Taxis are popular in cities and towns.
- The infrastructure is not as good as in Germany (roads), but it is at quite a good level.
- The most important airport is the Vácav Havel Airport in Prague. Other international airports are situated in Brno, Ostrava, and Karlovy Vary.
Historical monuments, buildings, museums, galleries, parks,…
- In the CR, there are many interesting places where people can go and have fun.
- We have also some national parks (NP Šumava) and many castles. To the most interesting castles belong Karlštejn, Křivoklát, Hluboká, Lednice and of course Prague castle.
- We have 4 national parks: Krkonoše, Podyjí, Šumava and Bohemian Switzerland.
- The historic city of Prague is the primary tourist attraction. Our spas are also very popular. Among the most famous are Karlovy Vary, Františkovy lázně and Mariánské lázně.
- 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.
- Most of the Czechs prefer travelling to the mountains or camps. They like hiking, cycling or relaxing around lakes. Máchovo lake is a very popular place for camping.
- The CR has something to offer in terms of nature, for instance, Bohemian Paradise, which is full of beautiful rocks and views.
- The most famous historical sights in Prague is the Prague Castle and Charles Bridge.
- The most frequently visited place in Prague is Old Town square. There are famous the Prague astronomical clock and the Old Town Hall.
- The busiest part of Prague is Wenceslas Square. It’s in the centre of the city and it’s the longest square in our state.
- A big group of people is created by students, because in Prague, there are a lot of universities and colleges, for example Charles University, which is the oldest university in Central and Eeastern Europe.
- There are plenty of museums and galleries in Prague. To see art, the best place to visit is the National Gallery, which has the largest collection of art in the Czech Republic. Historical exhibitions can be seen in the National Museum. In Lapidarium, people can see the largest collection of stone sculptures in the Czech Republic. Other museums to visit are for example the Jewish Museum or the National Technical Museum.
- Prague is also important centre for sports. There are many stadiums (Strahov), parks (Letná, Stromovka, Kampa, Petřín) and swimming pools.
Which are the Prague landmarks? Why?
- Prague Castle- the official residence of the President, the largest ancient castle in the world.
- Charles Bridge- one of the oldest bridges in Europe, built in 1357, famous for its old statues, such as Saint John of Nepomuk, Saint Ignatius, or Saint Luitgard.
- Astronomical Clock- more than 600 years old, every hour, a performance of the Twelve Apostles sets in motion.
- Wenceslas Square- named after St. Wenceslas- the patron of Bohemia, his statue can be seen there, and also the National Museum is located there.
Shopping and entertainment
- As for Czech shopping habits, an average Czech family goes shopping every day for necessary food, once a week they do one big purchase for the weekend and from time to time they have to buy shoes, clothes, household utensil, equipment and furniture.
- In Prague there are lot of opportunities for shopping and entertainment.
- The most famous boutiques are in the Paris street – it’s the most expensive street in Prague. A lot of shops are in the Wenceslas Square too.
- In Prague there are lots of cinemas, theatres and galleries too. The most famous theatres are the National Theatre, Vinohrady Theatre and Theatre Na Zábradlí.
- Karel Čapek, Milan Kundera and Jaroslav Hašek are famous Czech writers. But the only Czech writer who was awarded by Nobel Prize in literature is Jaroslav Seifert.
- Bedřich Smetana is one of the most significant composers of the Czech state. But in world is more famous Antonín Dvořák. His New World Symphony was the first song which sounded on the Moon.
- Jan Hus was an important religious leader of the 14th and 15th centuries. He was burned on 6 July 1415 because of a heresy. This date became an important day of the Czech history.
- Miloš Forman – a great world director, or Mr. Karel Gott – a famous singer known not only in the Czech Republic but also in Germany.
- Typical Czech meal is „Knedlo zelo vepřo“ – dumplings, sauerkraut, and pork meat. Tourists also like eating the „Smažák“ – fried cheese with french fries and Tartar sauce. The national beverage is definitely beer.
- Historyof the Czech Republic is very long. (I will just mention some big events.)
- The first mention about Czech state was in Middle Ages. In the 13th century, we had a kingdom. The most famous king was Charles IV. He established (zavedl) a University at Prague in 1348.
- After 1620 Battle of the White mountain, the Czech Lands became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after 1867.
- After the First World War, Czechoslovakia was established. Tomáš G. Masaryk became the first president.
- After Hitler’s occupation in 1938, Czechoslovakia was split into The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the Slovak state.
- The Second World War ended in 1945.Then the Communist Party won the elections in 1946 in Czechoslovakia. Many people had to leave our country.
- November 1989 or we can say Velvet revolution, changed our history. Velvet revolution ended communism and Soviet power.
- The CR joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union 2004.
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