Czech Republic (Czech: Česká republika) also known as Czechia is a nation state in Central Europe. It is known as a safe country, 6th most peaceful country in the world with the lowest unemployment rate in the EU and a raising economy. Today’s Czech Republic includes historical territory of Moravia, Bohemia and Czech Silesia. Four countries border on Czech Republic, namely, Poland to the north, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Germany to the west.
Czech Republic covers around 78,866 km2 (30,450 mi2) and has a population of 10.55 million (15th in Europe), most of whom are Czechs (64%), with the most common religious denomination being Roman Catholicism. With a population of 1,267,449, Prague is the capital and the largest city of Czech Republic. The highest peak with 1,603 meters (5,259 ft) is Sněžka, located on the border with Poland. Czech Republic is also a member of the United nations, NATO (since 1999) and European Union (since 2004).
The first Czech state was formed around year 870 as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. In 11th century, the Duchy was officially recognized as part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 14th century the Kingdom of Bohemia reached its greatest territorial extent with Prague being the imperial seat. After the Battle of Mohács in 16th century, the Kingdom of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy (with the Kingdom of Hungary and the Archduchy of Austria). The Bohemian Kingdom becomes with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in year 1806 part of the Austrian Empire.
In the 19th century the Czech lands became an industrial powerhouse for the Austrian monarchy and were consequently the core of the first Czechoslovak Republic, which was founded in 1918 after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after the end of World War I. In World War 2 the Czech territory was occupied by the Nazi Germany and after the war in 1945 liberated by Soviet Union and the United States. After the win of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1948, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under the influence of the Soviet Union. The country stayed under the communist regime until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Flag and Coat of arms of Czech Republic
How to get to Czech Republic
By car – By car, you may enter Czech Republic from all four neighbour countries at border crossing. Czech Republic has completed around 690 kilometres (428.90 miles) of motorways that connect Prague with Brno, Ostrava and all neighbour countries. When driving on motorways, be careful, because Czechs use vignettes. You can choose between 10 day, 1 month and 1 year vignette.
Speed limits: Motorways 130 km/h, dual carriageway 110 km/h, outside a built up areas 90 km/h and in built up areas 50 km/h. More traffic regulations.
By bus or train – As with a car, you can enter Czech Republic by bus or train from all four the neighboring countries. Buses and trains drive daily to Czech cities from many European destinations, so you can check timetables to find your train or bus. For timetables, routes and other information, you should visit Czech Transport.
By plane – Czech Republic has 46 Airports with paved runways and 75 with unpaved runways. Currently, the most important airports in Czech Republic are Václav Havel Airport Prague, Brno-Tuřany Airport, Karlovy Vary Airport, Ostrava Leoš Janáček Airport, Pardubice Airport and Kunovice Airport. The biggest airport is Václav Havel Airport Prague that connects Prague with around 130 European destinations and rest of the World. Also many low-cost airlines like Ryanair, Wizzair, EasyJet, Norwegian, Jet2 and many other airline companies fly to Czech Republic from over 150 domestic, intercontinental and European destinations.
By ship or boat – Vltava is the only navigable river in Czech Republic and it is mainly used for tourism purposes.
Top 10 things to see in Czech Republic
1. Prague Castle
Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle complex (70,000 m² or 750,000 ft2) in the world, located in Prague, Czech Republic. It dates back to the 9th century when te construction of the Virgin Mary Church started. Through history, the castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are still kept within a hidden room inside the castle. Today the castle is used as a top tourist attraction and the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic.
2. Charles Bridge
The Charles Bridge (Czech: Karlův most) is an historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Its total length is 515.8 metres (1,692 ft) and width 9.5 metres (31 ft). The bridge was built in almost 50 years at the beginning of the 15th century. Until 1841 it was the only bridge that crossed the river Vltava and the most important connection between city’s Old Town and the Prague Castle.
Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic by area (230.19 km2 – 88.88 sq mi) and population (377,028 inhabitants), the largest Moravian city, and the historical capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia. The two most popular attractions in Brno are the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on Petrov hill and the Špilberk castle and fortress. This two medieval buildings dominate the cityscape and are often depicted as the traditional symbols of Brno.
4. Kutná Hora
Kutná Hora is a small city with a population of only 20,335 inhabitants, located in the Central Bohemian Region, which is a part of the Czech Republic. Two most popular attractions in Kutná Hora are the Historical Town Centre with the Church of St. Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec which are also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. The Clementinum
The Clementinum is a historic complex of buildings in Prague. Until recently, the complex hosted the National university and technical libraries. The Clementinum is currently used as the National Library of the Czech Republic. In 2005, the National Library of the Czech Republic was awarded the UNESCO Jikji award (Memory of the World).
6. Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock
Old Town Square or Czech: Staroměstské náměstí is a historic square located in the Old Town quarter of Prague. In the center of the square, you can find the Old Town Hall with the Astronomical clock. This clock has a special mechanisms and dials that display astronomical information, such as the zodiacal constellations, relative positions of the sun, moon and sometimes major planets.
7. Český Krumlov
Český Krumlov also known as Czech Crumlaw, is a small city with around 14,056 inhabitants in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic where also the Český Krumlov Castle is located. Old Český Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was given this status along with the historic Prague castle district.
8. Sedlec Ossuary
The Sedlec Ossuary is a Roman Catholic chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec which is located in central Czech Republic. It is one of twelve UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic. The ossuary chapel contains the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have in many cases been artistically arranged to form decorations and accessories. With 200,000 visitors annually, this site is one of the most visited in the Czech Republic.
9. Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary is a spa town situated in Bohemia, western Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Teplá and Ohře. Karlovy Vary is named after Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, who founded the city in 1370. It is historically famous for its hot springs therefore It’s the most visited spa town in the Czech Republic.
10. Moravian Karst
The Moravian Karst is a landscape and protected nature reserve to the north of Brno in the eastern part of the Czech Republic. It encompasses a number of notable geological features, including almost 1100 caverns, gorges and covers an area of almost 92 km². Currently, five of the cave systems (Punkva Caves, Balcarka Cave, Kateřinská Cave, Výpustek Cave and Sloupsko-šošůvské Caves) are open for public exploration.