Introduction to the country

The Czech Republic

What language, what currency, what weather... all the questions you might have about the Czech Republic are answered in this article. Welcome to the Czech Republic!

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Overview of the Czech Republic...

Area: it covers a territory of 78 866 km²  (30,450 sq mi), which classifies it as an average-sized country in Europe, comparable to countries such as Austria or Ireland, it is approximately the size of South Carolina in the USA or a third of Victoria in Australia.

Bordering countries: Germany to the West, Poland to the North, Slovakia to the East and Austria to the South.

Population: 10 304 302 according to the latest census report

Language: Czech.

Currency: the Czech crown.

Flag: tri-colored, blue, white and red. It was officially adopted in 1920, shortly after the declaration of independence of the Czechoslovak Republic.
A blue triangle was added at the hoist to the two traditional colors of the Bohemian kingdom. The blue color had gradually been associated to the 19th century characterized by the "Pan-Slavic" movement.
In 1993, upon dissolution of the country, the Czech Republic kept the flag.

National anthem: Kde Domov můj? ("Where is my home?"), was adopted in 1993 after the separation from Slovakia. It was composed in 1831 by František Škroup and Josef Kajetán Tyl, for a musical show that was very popular at the time.

Time difference: The Czech Republic lies in the CET time zone (UCT+1), and uses the CEST in the summer (UCT+2).
Time difference between Prague and:
London/Dublin = +1 (when it is 10am in London it is 11am in Prague)
Washington DC = + 6
San Francisco = +9
Sydney = -8 in the summer, - 9 in the winter
Mumbai = - 3,5 in the summer, - 4,5 in the winter

Major cities: The capital Prague is the largest Czech city, from the area and the population viewpoint (10% of the population of the country).
Other big cities are: Plzeň to the West, Brno to the South/East, Ostrava and Olomouc to the East.

Regions: The Czech Republic is divided into 14 administrative regions ("kraj" in Czech), one of which being formed by the capital Prague. The largest region, the Central Bohemian Region, surrounds it from all sides.

Climate: The Czech Republic, situated quite far from the sea, has a temperate continental climate characterized by long and often harsh winters and rainfall in the summer. The presence of mountains in many parts of the country causes perceptible differences between the regions.

Reliefs and landscape: The Elbe River (Labe in Czech) and the Vltava (or Moldau in German) run through the Bohemian basin in the center of the country. This hilly region is surrounded by mountain ranges which have marked the historic borders of the kingdom for a very long time: the Ore Mountains (Krušné Hory in Czech) to the North/West, the Jeseniky and the Giant Mountains (Krknose) to the North - with the highest peak in the country, the Sněžka translated "Snow mountain" (1602 m) - and the Šumava range to the South. To the East, Moravia is composed of valleys, basins and low plateaus, and is crossed by the Morava River that runs from North to South where it flows into the Danube. The recent Slovak border follows the White Carpathians axis.

The UNESCO Biosphere reserves:

- the national park and the protected region in Šumava, often called "The green roof of Europe".
- The Krknoše (or Giant Mountains) national park
- the Křivoklát region
- the Třeboň basin
- the White Carpathians
- the Lower Morava.

Architectural legacy: The Czech Republic has a very rich architectural legacy to show, which includes numerous historic towns displaying a well-preserved center. The country's rather small territory is home to one of the highest concentration of monuments listed as UNESCO sites in Europe. 

Monuments and historic centers that are part of the UNESCO world heritage list:

In Prague and to the East of Prague:
- Prague's historic center
- the historic center of Kutná Hora
- the pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk on Zelená Hora (Green mountain) at Žďár nad Sázavou
- the Litomyšl Renaissance castle

In Southern Bohemia:
- the historic center of Telč
- the historic center of Český Krumlov
- the Holašovice village and its unique complex of farms and buildings in a style known as "South Bohemian folk Baroque" (selské baroko)

In Moravia:
- the Tugendhat villa of Mies Van de Rohe in Brno
- the cultural landscape and castles in Lednice-Valtice
- the archiepiscopal castle and the gardens in Kroměříž
- the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc
- the Jewish Quarter and the St Procopius' Basilica in Třebíč.

Enjoy our day trips to discover Bohemia's most striking sites.

Political system:
Regime: Parliamentary pluralist democracy, where the parliament occupies a central position
Constitution: adopted in December 1992 by the Czech National Council in power at the time.
- Chamber of deputies: 200 deputies elected for 4 year terms by proportional representation
- Senate: 81 senators elected for 6 year terms, with one-third elected every other year
- President of the Republic: Head of State and Highest Commander of the Armed Forces, elected for 5 year terms by the Parliament (Senate and Chamber of Deputies). Officially at the head of the State, his power is nevertheless restricted.
The president appoints the Prime Minister, members of the Supreme Court and of the Constitutional Court and he has the power of veto over legislation bills.
Government: the government is put together by the prime Minister and it is answerable to the Chamber of Deputies.
The Czech Republic is a member of the European Union since 2004.
It joined the Collective Security System of the NATO in 1999.

Public holidays in the Czech Republic:
- 1st of January - New Year's Day, Restoration Day of the Independent Czech State
- Easter Monday
- 1st of May - Labor Day
- 8th of May - Liberation Day (1945)
- 5th of July - Saints Cyril and Methodius Day
- 6th of July - Jan Hus Day (date of death 1415)
- 28th of September - Czech Statehood Day
- 28th of October - Independent Czechoslovak State Day
- 17th of November -     Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day
- 24th of December - Christmas Eve
- 25th of December - Christmas Day
- 26th of December - Christmas Day

...For more information about

Czech cuisine

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