Czech Republic (/ˈtʃɛk rɪˈpʌblɪk/ ( listen)
Czech: Česká republika, Czech pronunciation: [ˈtʃɛskaː
ˈrɛpuˌblɪka] ( listen)), also known as Czechia
(/ˈtʃɛkiə/ ( listen); Czech: Česko, pronounced
[ˈtʃɛsko] ( listen)), is a landlocked country in Central
Europe bordered by
Germany to the west,
Austria to the south, Slovakia
to the east and
Poland to the northeast. The
Czech Republic covers
an area of 78,866 square kilometres (30,450 sq mi) with a
mostly temperate continental climate and oceanic climate. It is a
unitary parliamentary republic, has 10.6 million inhabitants and
the capital and largest city is Prague, with 1.3 million
Czech Republic is a member of the
European Union (EU),
NATO, the OECD, the United Nations, the OSCE, and the Council of
It is a developed country with an advanced, high income
export-oriented social market economy based in services, manufacturing
and innovation. The UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted
human development. The
Czech Republic is a welfare state with a
"continental" European social model, a universal health care system
and tuition-free university education. It ranks as the 6th safest or
most peaceful country and is one of the most non-religious countries
in the world, while achieving strong performance in democratic
Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia,
Moravia, and Czech Silesia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th
century as the
Duchy of Bohemia
Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. After
the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from
Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy
was formally recognized as part of the Holy Roman Empire,
Kingdom of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest
territorial extent in the 14th century. Besides
Bohemia itself, the
Bohemia ruled the lands of the Bohemian Crown, he had a vote
in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor, and
Prague was the imperial
seat in periods between the 14th and 17th century. In the
of the 15th century driven by the
Protestant Bohemian Reformation, the
kingdom faced economic embargoes and defeated five consecutive
crusades proclaimed by the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church.
Battle of Mohács
Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia
was gradually integrated into the
Habsburg Monarchy alongside the
Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Protestant
Bohemian Revolt (1618–20) against the Catholic
Habsburgs led to the
Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the
Habsburgs consolidated their rule, eradicated
reimposed Roman Catholicism, and also adopted a policy of gradual
Germanization. With the dissolution of the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire in 1806,
the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the
Austrian Empire and the Czech
language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic
nationalism. In the 19th century, the
Czech lands became the
industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core
of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, which was formed in 1918 following
the collapse of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I.
Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in this part of
the interwar period. However, the Czech part of
Germany in World War II, while the Slovak region became
the Slovak Republic;
Czechoslovakia was liberated in 1945 by the
armies of the
Soviet Union and the United States. The Czech country
lost the majority of its German-speaking inhabitants after they were
expelled following the war. The Communist Party of
the 1946 elections. Following the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia
became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968,
increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform
movement known as the
Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led
Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet
Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and market economy was
reintroduced. On 1 January 1993,
Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved,
with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the
Czech Republic and Slovakia. The
Czech Republic joined
NATO in 1999
and the EU in 2004.
Velvet Revolution and the European Union
4 Government and politics
4.2 Foreign relations
4.4 Administrative divisions
5.3 Transportation infrastructure
5.4 Communications and IT
5.5 Science and philosophy
5.5.2 Science and technology
7.8 Video games
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Main article: Name of the Czech Republic
Samo's Empire 631–658
Duchy of Bohemia
Duchy of Bohemia 880s–1198
Kingdom of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia 1198–1918
Duchies of Silesia
Duchies of Silesia 1335–1742, and as
Austrian Silesia to 1918
Lands of the Bohemian Crown
Lands of the Bohemian Crown 1348–1918
part of the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire 1002–1806
part of the
Austrian Empire 1804–1867
Moravia (protectorate of Nazi
Czech Republic 1993–present
The traditional English name "Bohemia" derives from Latin
"Boiohaemum", which means "home of the Boii". The current English
ethnonym Czech comes from the old Czech ethnonym associated with the
area, which was used in English by Peter Heylyn in the form Czechian
in 1621. The name comes from the Slavic tribe (Czechs, Czech:
Češi, Čechové) and, according to legend, their leader Čech, who
brought them to Bohemia, to settle on Říp Mountain. The etymology of
the word Čech can be traced back to the
Proto-Slavic root *čel-,
meaning "member of the people; kinsman", thus making it cognate to the
Czech word člověk (a person).
The country has been traditionally divided into three lands, namely
Bohemia (Čechy) in the west,
Moravia (Morava) in the east, and Czech
Silesia (Slezsko; the smaller, south-eastern part of historical
Silesia, most of which is located within modern Poland) in the
northeast. Known as the lands of the
Bohemian Crown since the 14th
century, a number of other names for the country have been used,
including Czech/Bohemian lands, Bohemian Crown, Czechia  and the
lands of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas. When the country regained its
independence after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in
1918, the new name of
Czechoslovakia was coined to reflect the union
of the Czech and Slovak nations within the one country.
Czechoslovakia dissolved in 1992, the Czech part lacked a common
English short name. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended
the English name Czechia in 1993, and the Czech government approved
Czechia as the official short name in 2016. (More at: Adoption of
Main article: History of the Czech lands
Venus of Dolní Věstonice
Venus of Dolní Věstonice is the oldest ceramic article in the
world, dated to 29,000–25,000 BCE
Right: Distribution of Celtic peoples, showing expansion of the core
territory in the Czech lands, which were inhabited by the Gallic tribe
The core Hallstatt territory before 500 BCE
Maximum Celtic expansion by the 270s BCE
Areas that remain Celtic-speaking today
Archaeologists have found evidence of prehistoric human settlements in
the area, dating back to the
Paleolithic era. The figurine Venus of
Dolní Věstonice, together with a few others from nearby locations,
found here is the oldest known ceramic article in the world.
In the classical era, from the 3rd century BC Celtic migrations, the
Boii and later in the 1st century, Germanic tribes of
Quadi settled there. Their king
Maroboduus is the first documented
ruler of Bohemia. During the
Migration Period around the 5th century,
many Germanic tribes moved westwards and southwards out of Central
Slavic people from the Black Sea–Carpathian region settled in the
area (a movement that was also stimulated by the onslaught of peoples
Siberia and Eastern Europe: Huns, Avars,
Bulgars and Magyars). In
the sixth century they moved westwards into Bohemia,
Moravia and some
Austria and Germany.
During the 7th century, the Frankish merchant Samo, supporting the
Slavs fighting against nearby settled Avars, became the ruler of the
first known Slav state in Central Europe, the Samo's Empire. The
principality Great Moravia, controlled by Moymir dynasty, arose in the
8th century and reached its zenith in the 9th (during the reign of
Svatopluk I of Moravia) when it held off the influence of the Franks.
Moravia was Christianized, with a crucial role being played by
the Byzantine mission of Cyril and Methodius. They created the
artificial language Old Church Slavonic, the first literary and
liturgic language of the Slavs, and the Glagolitic alphabet.
Main article: Bohemia
Duchy of Bohemia
Duchy of Bohemia and the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire in 11th century
Duchy of Bohemia
Duchy of Bohemia emerged in the late 9th century, when it was
unified by the Přemyslid dynasty. In 10th century Boleslaus I, Duke
Bohemia conquered Moravia,
Silesia and expanded farther to the
Kingdom of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia was, as the only kingdom in the Holy
Roman Empire, a significant regional power during the Middle Ages. It
was part of the Empire from 1002 till 1806, with the exception of the
years 1440–1526.
In 1212, King Přemysl Ottokar I (bearing the title "king" from 1198)
Golden Bull of Sicily
Golden Bull of Sicily (a formal edict) from the emperor,
confirming Ottokar and his descendants' royal status; the
Bohemia was raised to a Kingdom. The bull declared that the King of
Bohemia would be exempt from all future obligations to the Holy Roman
Empire except for participation in imperial councils. German
immigrants settled in the Bohemian periphery in the 13th century.
Germans populated towns and mining districts and, in some cases,
formed German colonies in the interior of Bohemia. In 1235, the
Mongols launched an invasion of Europe. After the
Battle of Legnica
Battle of Legnica in
Poland, the Mongols carried their raids into Moravia, but were
defensively defeated at the fortified town of Olomouc. The Mongols
subsequently invaded and defeated Hungary.
Wenceslaus I, King of
Bohemia (1230–1253) of the Přemyslid dynasty,
King Přemysl Otakar II earned the nickname Iron and Golden King
because of his military power and wealth. He acquired Austria, Styria,
Carinthia and Carniola, thus spreading the Bohemian territory to the
Adriatic Sea. He met his death at the
Battle on the Marchfeld
Battle on the Marchfeld in 1278
in a war with his rival, King Rudolph I of Germany. Ottokar's son
Wenceslaus II acquired the Polish crown in 1300 for himself and the
Hungarian crown for his son. He built a great empire stretching from
Danube river to the Baltic Sea. In 1306, the last king of
Přemyslid line Wenceslaus III was murdered in mysterious
Olomouc while he was resting. After a series of
dynastic wars, the
House of Luxembourg
House of Luxembourg gained the Bohemian throne.
The 14th century, in particular, the reign of the Bohemian king
Charles IV (1316–1378), who in 1346 became
King of the Romans
King of the Romans and in
King of Italy
King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor, is considered the
Golden Age of Czech history. Of particular significance was the
Charles University in
Prague in 1348, Charles Bridge,
Charles Square. Much of
Prague Castle and the cathedral of Saint Vitus
in Gothic style were completed during his reign. He unified
Brandenburg (until 1415),
Lusatia (until 1635), and
1742) under the Bohemian crown. The Black Death, which had raged in
Europe from 1347 to 1352, decimated the
Kingdom of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia in
1380, killing about 10% of the population.
The Crown of
Bohemia within the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire (1600). The Czech
lands were part of the Empire in 1002–1806, and
Prague was the
imperial seat in 1346–1437 and 1583–1611.
Bohemian Reformation started around 1402 by Jan Hus. Although Hus was
named a heretic and burnt in Constance in 1415, his followers (led by
Jan Žižka and Prokop the Great) seceded from the Catholic
Church and in the
Hussite Wars (1419–1434) defeated five crusades
organized against them by the
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund. Petr
Chelčický continued with the
Hussite movement. During the next two
centuries, 90% of the population in Bohemian and Moravian lands were
George of Podebrady
George of Podebrady was even a king. Hus'
thoughts were a major influence on the later Lutheranism. Martin
Luther himself said "we are all Hussites, without having been aware of
it" and considered himself as Hus' direct successor.
Hussites and Catholic crusaders during the
Hussite Wars; Jena Codex, 15th century
Bohemia came increasingly under Habsburg control as the
Habsburgs became first the elected and then in 1627 the hereditary
rulers of Bohemia. The Austrian
Habsburgs of the 16th century, the
founders of the central European Habsburg Monarchy, were buried in
Prague. Between 1583–1611
Prague was the official seat of the Holy
Roman Emperor Rudolf II and his court.
The Defenestration of
Prague and subsequent revolt against the
Habsburgs in 1618 marked the start of the Thirty Years' War, which
quickly spread throughout Central Europe. In 1620, the rebellion in
Bohemia was crushed at the Battle of White Mountain, and the ties
Bohemia and the Habsburgs' hereditary lands in
strengthened. The leaders of the
Bohemian Revolt were executed in
1621. The nobility and the middle class Protestants had to either
convert to Catholicism or leave the country.
The following period, from 1620 to the late 18th century, has often
been called colloquially the "Dark Age". The population of the Czech
lands declined by a third through the expulsion of Czech Protestants
as well as due to the war, disease and famine. The Habsburgs
prohibited all Christian confessions other than Roman Catholicism.
The flowering of Baroque culture shows the ambiguity of this
historical period. Ottoman Turks and Tatars invaded
1663. In 1679–1680 the
Czech lands faced a devastating plague
and an uprising of serfs.
The 1618 Defenestration of
Prague marked the beginning of the Bohemian
Revolt against the
Habsburgs and therefore the first phase of the
Thirty Years' War.
The reigns of Maria Theresa of
Austria and her son Joseph II, Holy
Roman Emperor and co-regent from 1765, were characterized by
enlightened absolutism. In 1740, most of
Silesia (except the
southernmost area) was seized by King
Frederick II of Prussia
Frederick II of Prussia in the
Silesian Wars. In 1757 the Prussians invaded
Bohemia and after the
Prague (1757) occupied the city. More than one quarter of
Prague was destroyed and
St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral also suffered heavy
damage. Frederick was defeated soon after at the
Battle of Kolín
Battle of Kolín and
had to leave
Prague and retreat from Bohemia. In 1770 and 1771 Great
Famine killed about one tenth of the Czech population, or 250,000
inhabitants, and radicalised the countryside leading to peasant
Serfdom was abolished (in two steps) between 1781 and
1848. Several large battles of the
Napoleonic Wars – Battle of
Battle of Kulm
Battle of Kulm – took place on the current territory of
the Czech Republic. Joseph Radetzky von Radetz, born to a noble Czech
family, was a field marshal and chief of the general staff of the
Austrian Empire army during these wars.
The end of the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire in 1806 led to degradation of the
political status of the Kingdom of Bohemia.
Bohemia lost its position
of an electorate of the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire as well as its own political
representation in the Imperial Diet. Bohemian lands became part of
Austrian Empire and later of Austria–Hungary. During the 18th
and 19th century the
Czech National Revival
Czech National Revival began its rise, with the
purpose to revive Czech language, culture and national identity. The
Revolution of 1848 in Prague, striving for liberal reforms and
autonomy of the
Bohemian Crown within the Austrian Empire, was
Ceremonial laying of the foundation stone of the National Theatre
during the Czech National Revival, 1868
Austria was defeated by Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War
Battle of Königgrätz
Battle of Königgrätz and Peace of Prague). The Austrian
Empire needed to redefine itself to maintain unity in the face of
nationalism. At first it seemed that some concessions would be made
also to Bohemia, but in the end the Emperor Franz Joseph I effected a
Hungary only. The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867
and the never realized coronation of Franz Joseph as King of Bohemia
led to a huge disappointment of Czech politicians. The Bohemian
Crown lands became part of the so-called
Cisleithania (officially "The
Kingdoms and Lands represented in the Imperial Council").
Bertha von Suttner
Bertha von Suttner was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
in 1905. In the same year, the Czech Social Democratic and progressive
politicians (including Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk) started the fight for
universal suffrage. The first elections under universal male suffrage
were held in 1907. The last King of
Bohemia was Blessed Charles of
Austria who ruled in 1916–1918.
Main article: History of Czechoslovakia
Prague on Wenceslas Square for the Czechoslovak declaration
of independence from the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire, 28 October
An estimated 1.4 million Czech soldiers fought in World War I, of
whom some 150,000 died. Although the majority of Czech soldiers fought
for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, more than 90,000 Czech volunteers
formed the Czechoslovak Legions in France,
Italy and Russia, where
they fought against the
Central Powers and later against Bolshevik
troops. In 1918, during the collapse of the Habsburg Empire at the
end of World War I, the independent republic of Czechoslovakia, which
joined the winning Allied powers, was created, with Tomáš Garrigue
Masaryk in the lead. This new country incorporated the Bohemian Crown
Moravia and Silesia) and parts of the Kingdom of Hungary
Slovakia and the Carpathian Ruthenia) with significant German,
Hungarian, Polish and Ruthenian speaking minorities.
Czechoslovakia concluded a treaty of alliance with
Yugoslavia (the so-called Little Entente) and particularly with
First Czechoslovak Republic
First Czechoslovak Republic comprised only 27% of the population
of the former Austria-Hungary, but nearly 80% of the industry, which
enabled it to successfully compete with Western industrial states.
In 1929 compared to 1913, the gross domestic product increased by 52%
and industrial production by 41%. In 1938
Czechoslovakia held a 10th
place in the world industrial production.
First Czechoslovak Republic
First Czechoslovak Republic was a unitary state, it
provided what were at the time rather extensive rights to its
minorities and remained the only democracy in this part of
the interwar period. The effects of the
Great Depression including
high unemployment and massive propaganda from Nazi Germany, however,
resulted in discontent and strong support among ethnic
Germans for a
break from Czechoslovakia.
First Czechoslovak Republic
First Czechoslovak Republic comprised only 27% of the population
of the former Austria-Hungary, but nearly 80% of the industry.
Adolf Hitler took advantage of this opportunity and using Konrad
Henlein's separatist Sudeten German Party, gained the largely German
Sudetenland (and its substantial Maginot Line-like border
fortifications) through the 1938
Munich Agreement (signed by Nazi
Germany, France, Britain, and Italy).
Czechoslovakia was not invited
to the conference, and
Slovaks call the Munich Agreement
the Munich Betrayal because
France (which had an alliance with
Czechoslovakia) and Britain gave up
Czechoslovakia instead of facing
Hitler, which later proved inevitable.
Despite the mobilization of 1.2 million-strong Czechoslovak army
and the Franco-Czech military alliance,
Poland annexed the Zaolzie
area around Český Těšín;
Hungary gained parts of
Slovakia and the
Subcarpathian Rus as a result of the
First Vienna Award
First Vienna Award in November
1938. The remainders of
Slovakia and the Subcarpathian Rus gained
greater autonomy, with the state renamed to "Czecho-Slovakia". After
Germany threatened to annex part of Slovakia, allowing the
remaining regions to be partitioned by
Hungary and Poland, Slovakia
chose to maintain its national and territorial integrity, seceding
Slovakia in March 1939, and allying itself, as demanded by
Germany, with Hitler's coalition.
Left: Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, first president of Czechoslovakia
Right: Edvard Beneš, president before and after World War II.
The remaining Czech territory was occupied by Germany, which
transformed it into the so-called Protectorate of
Bohemia and Moravia.
The protectorate was proclaimed part of the Third Reich, and the
president and prime minister were subordinated to the Nazi Germany's
Reichsprotektor. Subcarpathian Rus declared independence as the
Carpatho-Ukraine on 15 March 1939 but was invaded by
Hungary the same day and formally annexed the next day. Approximately
345,000 Czechoslovak citizens, including 277,000 Jews, were killed or
executed while hundreds of thousands of others were sent to prisons
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps or used as forced labour. Up to
two-thirds of the citizens were in groups targeted by the Nazis for
deportation or death. One concentration camp was located within
the Czech territory at Terezín, north of Prague. The Nazi Generalplan
Ost called for the extermination, expulsion,
enslavement of most or all
Czechs for the purpose of providing more
living space for the German people.
There was Czech resistance to Nazi occupation, both at home and
abroad, most notably with the assassination of Nazi German leader
Reinhard Heydrich by Czechoslovakian soldiers
Jozef Gabčík and Jan
Kubiš in a
Prague suburb on 27 May 1942. On 9 June 1942 Hitler
ordered bloody reprisals against the
Czechs as a response to the Czech
anti-Nazi resistance. The Edvard Beneš's Czechoslovak
government-in-exile and its army fought against the
Germans and were
acknowledged by the Allies; Czech/Czechoslovak troops fought from the
very beginning of the war in Poland, France, the UK, North Africa, the
Middle East and the
Soviet Union (see I Czechoslovakian Corps). The
German occupation ended on 9 May 1945, with the arrival of the Soviet
and American armies and the
Prague uprising. An estimated 140,000
Soviet soldiers died in liberating
Czechoslovakia from German
Following the German occupation of
Czechoslovakia and formation of the
Moravia within Nazi Germany, exiled Czechs
fought alongside Allies of World War II, such as No. 310 Squadron RAF.
In 1945–1946, almost the entire German-speaking minority in
Czechoslovakia, about 3 million people, were expelled to
Austria (see also Beneš decrees). During this time, thousands of
Germans were held in prisons and detention camps or used as forced
labour. In the summer of 1945, there were several massacres, such as
Postoloprty massacre. Research by a joint German and Czech
commission of historians in 1995 found that the death toll of the
expulsions was at least 15,000 persons and that it could range up to a
maximum of 30,000 dead. The only
Germans not expelled were some
250,000 who had been active in the resistance against the Nazi Germans
or were considered economically important, though many of these
emigrated later. Following a Soviet-organised referendum, the
Subcarpathian Rus never returned under Czechoslovak rule but became
part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, as the Zakarpattia
Oblast in 1946.
Czechoslovakia uneasily tried to play the role of a "bridge" between
the West and East. However, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
rapidly increased in popularity, with a general disillusionment with
the West, because of the pre-war Munich Agreement, and a favourable
popular attitude towards the Soviet Union, because of the Soviets'
role in liberating
Czechoslovakia from German rule. In the 1946
elections, the Communists gained 38% of the votes and became the
largest party in the Czechoslovak parliament. They formed a coalition
government with other parties of the National Front and moved quickly
to consolidate power. A significant change came in 1948 with coup
d'état by the Communist Party. The Communist People's Militias
secured control of key locations in Prague, and a single party
government was formed.
Prague Spring political liberalization of the communist regime was
stopped by the 1968 Soviet-led invasion.
For the next 41 years,
Czechoslovakia was a Communist state within the
Eastern Bloc. This period is characterized by lagging behind the West
in almost every aspect of social and economic development. The
GDP per capita
GDP per capita fell from the level of neighboring Austria
below that of
Portugal in the 1980s. The Communist
government completely nationalized the means of production and
established a command economy. The economy grew rapidly during the
1950s but slowed down in the 1960s and 1970s and stagnated in the
The political climate was highly repressive during the 1950s,
including numerous show trials (the most famous victims: Milada
Horáková and Rudolf Slánský) and hundreds of thousands of
political prisoners, but became more open and tolerant in the late
1960s, culminating in Alexander Dubček's leadership in the 1968
Prague Spring, which tried to create "socialism with a human face" and
perhaps even introduce political pluralism. This was forcibly ended by
invasion by all
Warsaw Pact member countries with the exception of
Albania on 21 August 1968. Student
Jan Palach became a
symbol of resistance to the occupation, when he committed
self-immolation as a political protest.
The invasion was followed by a harsh program of "Normalization" in the
late 1960s and the 1970s. Until 1989, the political establishment
relied on censorship of the opposition. Dissidents published Charter
77 in 1977, and the first of a new wave of protests were seen in 1988.
Between 1948 and 1989 about 250,000
Slovaks were sent to
prison for political reasons, and over 400,000 emigrated.
Velvet Revolution and the European Union
Velvet Revolution and Dissolution of Czechoslovakia
Václav Havel, first President of the Czech Republic
In November 1989,
Czechoslovakia returned to a liberal democracy
through the peaceful "Velvet Revolution" (led by
Václav Havel and his
Civic Forum). However, Slovak national aspirations strengthened (see
Hyphen War) and on 1 January 1993, the country peacefully split into
Czech Republic and Slovakia. Both countries went
through economic reforms and privatisations, with the intention of
creating a market economy. This process was largely successful; in
Czech Republic was recognised by the
World Bank as a
"developed country", and in 2009 the Human Development Index
ranked it as a nation of "Very High Human Development".
From 1991, the Czech Republic, originally as part of Czechoslovakia
and since 1993 in its own right, has been a member of the Visegrád
Group and from 1995, the OECD. The
Czech Republic joined
NATO on 12
March 1999 and the
European Union on 1 May 2004. On 21 December 2007
Czech Republic joined the Schengen Area. Until 2017, either the
Social Democrats (under Miloš Zeman, Vladimír Špidla, Stanislav
Jiří Paroubek and Bohuslav Sobotka), or liberal-conservatives
(under Václav Klaus,
Mirek Topolánek and Petr Nečas) led the
government of the Czech Republic.
Main article: Geography of the Czech Republic
Czech Republic lies mostly between latitudes 48° and 51° N (a
small area lies north of 51°), and longitudes 12° and 19° E.
The Czech landscape is exceedingly varied. Bohemia, to the west,
consists of a basin drained by the
Elbe (Czech: Labe) and the Vltava
rivers, surrounded by mostly low mountains, such as the Krkonoše
range of the Sudetes. The highest point in the country,
1,603 m (5,259 ft), is located here. Moravia, the eastern
part of the country, is also quite hilly. It is drained mainly by the
Morava River, but it also contains the source of the
Water from the landlocked
Czech Republic flows to three different
seas: the North Sea,
Baltic Sea and Black Sea. The
Czech Republic also
leases the Moldauhafen, a 30,000-square-metre (7.4-acre) lot in the
middle of the
Hamburg Docks, which was awarded to
Article 363 of the Treaty of Versailles, to allow the landlocked
country a place where goods transported down river could be
transferred to seagoing ships. The territory reverts to
Czech Republic belongs to the Central
European province of the Circumboreal Region, within the Boreal
Kingdom. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the territory of
Czech Republic can be subdivided into four ecoregions: the Western
European broadleaf forests, Central European mixed forests, Pannonian
mixed forests, and Carpathian montane conifer forests.
There are four national parks in the Czech Republic. The oldest is
Krkonoše National Park (Biosphere Reserve), and the others are
Šumava National Park
Šumava National Park (Biosphere Reserve), Podyjí National Park,
The three historical lands of the
Czech Republic (formerly the core
countries of the Bohemian Crown) correspond almost perfectly with the
river basins of the
Elbe (Czech: Labe) and the
Vltava basin for
Bohemia, the Morava one for Moravia, and the
Oder river basin for
Czech Silesia (in terms of the Czech territory).
Temperate deciduous forest
Temperate deciduous forest in Křivoklátsko Protected Landscape Area
Rolling hills of
Králický Sněžník in northern Czech Republic
Bohemian Forest foothills and
Kašperk castle, southern Bohemia
Berounka river valley in western Bohemia
Beskids mountains in eastern Moravia
Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification types of the Czech Republic
Humid continental climate
Czech Republic has a temperate continental climate, with warm
summers and cold, cloudy and snowy winters. The temperature difference
between summer and winter is relatively high, due to the landlocked
Within the Czech Republic, temperatures vary greatly, depending on the
elevation. In general, at higher altitudes, the temperatures decrease
and precipitation increases. The wettest area in the
Czech Republic is
found around Bílý Potok in
Jizera Mountains and the driest region is
Louny District to the northwest of Prague. Another important
factor is the distribution of the mountains; therefore, the climate is
At the highest peak of
Sněžka (1,603 m or 5,259 ft), the
average temperature is only −0.4 °C (31 °F), whereas in
the lowlands of the South Moravian Region, the average temperature is
as high as 10 °C (50 °F). The country's capital, Prague,
has a similar average temperature, although this is influenced by
The coldest month is usually January, followed by February and
December. During these months, there is usually snow in the mountains
and sometimes in the major cities and lowlands. During March, April
and May, the temperature usually increases rapidly, especially during
April, when the temperature and weather tends to vary widely during
the day. Spring is also characterized by high water levels in the
rivers, due to melting snow with occasional flooding.
The warmest month of the year is July, followed by August and June. On
average, summer temperatures are about 20 °C (36 °F) –
30 °C (54 °F) higher than during winter. Summer is also
characterized by rain and storms.
Autumn generally begins in September, which is still relatively warm
and dry. During October, temperatures usually fall below 15 °C
(59 °F) or 10 °C (50 °F) and deciduous trees begin
to shed their leaves. By the end of November, temperatures usually
range around the freezing point.
The coldest temperature ever measured was in Litvínovice near České
Budějovice in 1929, at −42.2 °C (−44.0 °F) and the
hottest measured, was at 40.4 °C (104.7 °F) in
Dobřichovice in 2012.
Most rain falls during the summer. Sporadic rainfall is relatively
constant throughout the year (in Prague, the average number of days
per month experiencing at least 0.1 mm of rain varies from 12 in
September and October to 16 in November) but concentrated heavy
rainfall (days with more than 10 mm per day) are more frequent in
the months of May to August (average around two such days per
See also: Protected areas of the Czech Republic
Czech Republic ranks as the 27th most environmentally conscious
country in the world in Environmental Performance Index. The Czech
Republic has four National Parks (Šumava National Park, Krkonoše
National Park, České Švýcarsko National Park, Podyjí National
Park) and 25 Protected Landscape Areas.
Map of Protected areas of the Czech Republic: National Parks (grey)
and Protected Landscape Areas (green).
European eagle-owl, a protected predator
Fire salamander, a common amphibian in humid forests
Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), a protected animal
Summer cep occurs in deciduous oak forests.
Government and politics
Government of the Czech Republic
Government of the Czech Republic and Politics of the
Czech Republic is a pluralist multi-party parliamentary
representative democracy, with the President as head of state and
Prime Minister as head of government. The Parliament (Parlament
České republiky) is bicameral, with the Chamber of Deputies (Czech:
Poslanecká sněmovna) (200 members) and the Senate (Czech: Senát)
The president is a formal head of state with limited and specific
powers, most importantly to return bills to the parliament, appoint
members to the board of the Czech National Bank, nominate
constitutional court judges for the Senate's approval and dissolve the
Chamber of Deputies under certain special and unusual circumstances.
The president and vice president of the Supreme Court are appointed by
the President of the Republic. He also appoints the prime minister, as
well the other members of the cabinet on a proposal by the prime
minister. From 1993 until 2012, the President of the Czech Republic
was selected by a joint session of the parliament for a five-year
term, with no more than two consecutive terms (2x Václav Havel, 2x
Václav Klaus). Since 2013 the presidential election is direct.
Miloš Zeman was the first directly elected Czech President.
The Government of the Czech Republic's exercise of executive power
derives from the Constitution. The members of the government are the
Prime Minister, Deputy ministers and other ministers. The Government
is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies.
The Prime Minister is the head of government and wields considerable
powers, such as the right to set the agenda for most foreign and
domestic policy and choose government ministers. The current Prime
Minister of the
Czech Republic is Andrej Babiš, serving since 6
December 2017 as 12th Prime Minister.
Wallenstein Palace, seat of the Senate
Straka Academy, seat of the Government
Thun Palace, seat of the Chamber of Deputies
The members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected for a four-year
term by proportional representation, with a 5% election threshold.
There are 14 voting districts, identical to the country's
administrative regions. The Chamber of Deputies, the successor to the
Czech National Council, has the powers and responsibilities of the now
defunct federal parliament of the former Czechoslovakia.
The members of the Senate are elected in single-seat constituencies by
two-round runoff voting for a six-year term, with one-third elected
every even year in the autumn. The first election was in 1996, for
differing terms. This arrangement is modeled on the U.S. Senate, but
each constituency is roughly the same size and the voting system used
is a two-round runoff. The Senate is unpopular among the public and
suffers from low election turnout.
Main office holders
8 March 2013
6 December 2017
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies
22 November 2017
President of the Senate
24 November 2010
Main articles: Law of the Czech Republic, Judiciary of the Czech
Republic, and Law enforcement in the Czech Republic
Seat of the
Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic in Brno
Czech Republic is a unitary state with a civil law system based on
the continental type, rooted in Germanic legal culture. The basis of
the legal system is the
Constitution of the Czech Republic
Constitution of the Czech Republic adopted in
1993. The Penal Code is effective from 2010. A new
Civil code became
effective in 2014. The court system includes district, county and
supreme courts and is divided into civil, criminal, and administrative
branches. The Czech judiciary has a triumvirate of supreme courts. The
Constitutional Court consists of 15 constitutional judges and oversees
violations of the Constitution by either the legislature or by the
government. The Supreme Court is formed of 67 judges and is the court
of highest appeal for almost all legal cases heard in the Czech
Republic. The Supreme Administrative Court decides on issues of
procedural and administrative propriety. It also has jurisdiction over
many political matters, such as the formation and closure of political
parties, jurisdictional boundaries between government entities, and
the eligibility of persons to stand for public office. The Supreme
Court and the Supreme Administrative Court are both based in Brno, as
is the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office.
Main article: Foreign relations of the Czech Republic
See also: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
Visa-free entry countries for Czech citizens in green, EU in blue (see
citizenship of the European Union)
Czech Republic ranks as the 6th safest or most peaceful country.
It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, NATO,
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Council of
Europe and is an observer to the Organization of American States.
The embassies of most countries with diplomatic relations with the
Czech Republic are located in Prague, while consulates are located
across the country.
According to the 2018 Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index,
Czech citizens have visa-free access to 173 countries, which ranks
them 7th along with
Malta and New Zealand. and World Tourism
Organization ranks Czech passport 24th, which makes them one of the
least restricted by visas to travel abroad. The US Visa Waiver
Program applies to Czech nationals.
The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs have primary roles
in setting foreign policy, although the President has considerable
influence and also represents the country abroad. Membership in the
European Union and
NATO is central to the Czech Republic's foreign
Office for Foreign Relations and Information
Office for Foreign Relations and Information (ÚZSI)
serves as the foreign intelligence agency responsible for espionage
and foreign policy briefings, as well as protection of Czech
Republic's embassies abroad.
Czech Republic has strong ties with Slovakia,
Poland and Hungary
as a member of the Visegrad Group, as well as with Germany,
Israel, the United States and the
European Union and its
Czech officials have supported dissenters in Belarus, Moldova, Myanmar
Czech Army soldiers during an exercise
Main article: Army of the Czech Republic
The Czech armed forces consist of the Czech Land Forces, the Czech Air
Force and of specialized support units. The armed forces are managed
by the Ministry of Defence. The
President of the Czech Republic
President of the Czech Republic is
Commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In 2004 the army transformed
itself into a fully professional organization and compulsory military
service was abolished. The country has been a member of
NATO since 12
March 1999. Defense spending is approximately 1.04% of the GDP
(2015). The armed forces are charged with protecting the Czech
Republic and its allies, promoting global security interests, and
contributing to NATO.
Currently, as a member of NATO, the Czech military are participating
in KFOR and ISAF (renamed to Resolute Support) operations and have
soldiers in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia,
Israel and Mali. The
Czech Air Force
Czech Air Force also served in the Baltic states
and Iceland. Main equipment includes: multi-role fighters JAS 39
Gripen, combat aircraft Aero L-159 Alca, modernized attack helicopters
Mi-35, armored vehicles Pandur II, OT-64, OT-90, BVP-2 and Czech
Regions of the Czech Republic
Regions of the Czech Republic and List of districts of the
Since 2000, the
Czech Republic has been divided into thirteen regions
(Czech: kraje, singular kraj) and the capital city of Prague. Every
region has its own elected regional assembly (krajské zastupitelstvo)
and hejtman (a regional governor). In Prague, the assembly and
presidential powers are executed by the city council and the mayor.
The older seventy-six districts (okresy, singular okres) including
three "statutory cities" (without Prague, which had special status)
lost most of their importance in 1999 in an administrative reform;
they remain as territorial divisions and seats of various branches of
Map of the
Czech Republic with traditional regions and current
Map with districts
Hlavní město Praha
Central Bohemian Region
South Bohemian Region
Karlovy Vary Region
Ústí nad Labem
Ústí nad Labem Region
Ústí nad Labem
Hradec Králové Region
South Moravian Region
a Capital city.
b Office location.
Main article: Economy of the Czech Republic
Czech Republic is part of the
European Single Market
European Single Market and the
Schengen Area, but uses its own currency, the Czech koruna, instead of
Škoda Auto is one of the largest car manufacturers in Central Europe.
Škoda Superb is pictured.
Czech Republic has a developed, high-income
export-oriented social market economy based in services, manufacturing
and innovation, that maintains a welfare state and the "continental"
type of the European social model. The
Czech Republic is
participating in the
European Single Market
European Single Market as a member of the
European Union, and is therefore a part of the economy of the European
Union, but uses its own currency, the Czech koruna, instead of the
euro. It has a per capita GDP rate that is 88% of the EU average
and is a member of the OECD.
Monetary policy is conducted by the Czech
National Bank, whose independence is guaranteed by the Constitution.
As of 2017, the Czech
GDP per capita
GDP per capita at purchasing power parity is
$35,223 (similar to Israel,
Italy or Slovenia), $19,818 at nominal
value and the GDP growth was 4.5% in 2017, giving the Czech
economy one of the highest growth rates in the European Union. As
of January 2018, the unemployment rate in the
Czech Republic was the
lowest in the EU at 2.4%, and the poverty rate is the second
lowest of OECD members only behind Denmark.
Czech Republic ranks
24th in both the
Index of Economic Freedom (ranked behind Norway)
Global Innovation Index (ranked behind Australia), 31st in
the Global Competitiveness Report 30th in the ease of doing
business index and 25th in the
Global Enabling Trade Report
Global Enabling Trade Report (ranked
Czech Republic has a highly diverse economy that ranks 7th in the
2016 Economic Complexity Index. The industry sector accounts for
37.5% of the economy, while services for 60% and agriculture for
2.5%. The largest trading partner for both export and import is
Germany and the EU in general. The country has been a member of the
Schengen Area since 1 May 2004, having abolished border controls,
completely opening its borders with all of its neighbours (Germany,
Poland and Slovakia) on 21 December 2007. The Czech
Republic became a member of the
World Trade Organisation
World Trade Organisation on 1 January
In 2015 largest companies of the
Czech Republic by revenue were: one
of the largest car automobile manufacturers in Central
Auto, utility company ČEZ Group, conglomerate Agrofert, energy
trading company RWE Supply & Trading CZ and electronics
manufacturer Foxconn CZ. Other Czech transportation companies
Škoda Transportation (tramways, trolleybuses, metro), Tatra
(heavy trucks, the third oldest car maker in the world),
SOR Libchavy (buses),
Aero Vodochody (army
Let Kunovice (civil aircraft),
Zetor (tractors) and Jawa
Main article: Energy in the Czech Republic
Dukovany Nuclear Power Station
Production of Czech electricity exceeds consumption by about 10 TWh
per year, which are exported.
Nuclear power presently provides about
30 percent of the total power needs, its share is projected to
increase to 40 percent. In 2005, 65.4 percent of electricity was
produced by steam and combustion power plants (mostly coal); 30
percent by nuclear plants; and 4.6 percent from renewable sources,
including hydropower. The largest Czech power resource is Temelín
Nuclear Power Station, another nuclear power plant is in Dukovany.
Czech Republic is reducing its dependence on highly polluting
low-grade brown coal as a source of energy. Natural gas is procured
from Russian Gazprom, roughly three-fourths of domestic consumption
and from Norwegian companies, which make up most of the remaining
one-fourth. Russian gas is imported via
Ukraine (Druzhba pipeline),
Norwegian gas is transported through Germany. Gas consumption (approx.
100 TWh in 2003–2005) is almost double electricity consumption.
Moravia has small oil and gas deposits.
Main article: Transport in the Czech Republic
Škoda 7Ev electric multiple unit. The Czech railway network is
largely electrified and is among the densest in Europe.
Václav Havel Airport in
Prague is the main international airport in
the country. In 2010, it handled 11.6 million passengers, which
makes it the second busiest airport in Central Europe. In total,
Czech Republic has 46 airports with paved runways, six of which
provide international air services in Brno, Karlovy Vary, Mošnov
(near Ostrava), Pardubice,
Prague and Kunovice (near Uherské
České dráhy (the Czech Railways) is the main railway operator in
the Czech Republic, with about 180 million passengers carried
yearly. With 9,505 km (5,906.13 mi) of tracks, the Czech
Republic has one of the densest railway networks in Europe. Of
that number, 2,926 km (1,818.13 mi) is electrified,
7,617 km (4,732.98 mi) are single-line tracks and
1,866 km (1,159.48 mi) are double and multiple-line
tracks. Maximum speed is limited to 160 km/h. In 2006 seven
Italian tilting trainsets
ČD Class 680
ČD Class 680 entered service.
Russia, via pipelines through
Ukraine and to a lesser extent, Norway,
via pipelines through Germany, supply the
Czech Republic with liquid
and natural gas.
The road network in the
Czech Republic is 55,653 km
(34,581.17 mi) long. There are 1,247 km of
motorways. The speed limit is 50 km/h within towns,
90 km/h outside of towns and 130 km/h on
Communications and IT
Avast headquarters in Prague
Main article: Internet in the Czech Republic
Czech Republic ranks in the top 10 countries worldwide with the
fastest average internet speed. By the beginning of 2008, there
were over 800 mostly local WISPs, with about 350,000
subscribers in 2007. Plans based on either GPRS, EDGE, UMTS or
CDMA2000 are being offered by all three mobile phone operators
Telefónica O2, Vodafone) and internet provider U:fon.
Český Telecom slowed down broadband penetration. At
the beginning of 2004, local-loop unbundling began and alternative
operators started to offer
ADSL and also SDSL. This and later
Český Telecom helped drive down prices.
On 1 July 2006,
Český Telecom was acquired by globalized company
Telefónica group and adopted the new name Telefónica
O2 Czech Republic. As of June 2014, VDSL and ADSL2+ are offered in
many variants, with download speeds of up to 40 Mbit/s and upload
speeds of up to 2 Mbit/s. Cable internet is gaining popularity with
its higher download speeds ranging from 2 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s.
Two major antivirus companies, Avast and AVG, were founded in the
Czech Republic. In 2016, Avast led by
Pavel Baudiš bought rival AVG
for US$1.3 billion, together at the time, these companies had a
user base of about 400 million people and 40% of the consumer market
outside of China. Avast is the leading provider of antivirus
software, with a 20.5% market share.
Science and philosophy
Czech lands have a long and rich scientific tradition. The
research based on cooperation between universities, Academy of
Sciences and specialised research centers brings new inventions and
impulses in this area. Important inventions include the modern contact
lens, the separation of modern blood types, and the production of
Semtex plastic explosive.
Jan Hus (1369 – 1415) is a key figure of the Bohemian Reformation
and inspired the pre-
Cyril and Methodius
Cyril and Methodius laid the foundations of education and the Czech
theological thinking in the 9th century. Original theological and
philosophical stream –
Hussitism – originated in the Middle Ages.
It was represented by Jan Hus, Jerome of
Prague or Petr Chelčický.
At the end of the Middle Ages,
Jan Amos Comenius
Jan Amos Comenius substantially
contributed to the development of modern pedagogy. Jewish philosophy
Czech lands was represented mainly by Judah Loew ben Bezalel
(known for the legend of the
Golem of Prague).
Bernard Bolzano was the
personality of German-speaking philosophy in the Czech lands. Bohuslav
Balbín was a key Czech philosopher and historian of the Baroque era.
He also started the struggle for rescuing the Czech language. This
culminated in the
Czech national revival
Czech national revival in the first half of the 19th
century. Linguistics (Josef Dobrovský, Pavel Jozef Šafařík, Josef
Jungmann), etnography (Karel Jaromír Erben, František Ladislav
Čelakovský) and history (František Palacký) played a big role in
revival. Palacký was the eminent personality. He wrote the first
synthetic history of the Czech nation. He was also the first Czech
modern politician and geopolitician (see also Austro-Slavism). He is
often called "The Father of the Nation". In the second half of the
19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century there was a huge
development of social sciences (personalities speaks Czech but also
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk laid the foundations of Czech
Konstantin Jireček founded Byzantology (see also Jireček
Alois Musil was a prominent orientalist, Emil Holub
Lubor Niederle was a founder of modern Czech archeology.
Sigmund Freud established psychoanalysis.
Edmund Husserl defined a new
philosophical doctrine – phenomenology.
Joseph Schumpeter brought
genuine economic ideas of "creative destruction" of capitalism. Hans
Kelsen was significant legal theorist.
Karl Kautsky influenced the
history of Marxism. On the contrary, economist Eugen Böhm von Bawerk
led a campaign against Marxism.
Max Wertheimer was one of the three
founders of Gestalt psychology. Musicologists
Eduard Hanslick and
Guido Adler influenced debates on the development of classical music
in Vienna. Art historian
Max Dvořák is pushed in
Aleš Hrdlička in the United States. New Czechoslovak
republic (1918–1938) wanted to develop sciences. Significant
linguistic school was established in
Circle (Vilém Mathesius, Jan Mukařovský, René Wellek), moreover
Bedřich Hrozný deciphered the ancient Hittite language and
Julius Pokorny deepened knowledge about Celtic languages.
Herbert Feigl was a member of the
Vienna Circle. Ladislav
Klíma has developed a special version of Nietzschean philosophy. In
the second half of the 20th century can be mentioned philosopher
Ernest Gellner who is considered one of the leading theoreticians on
the issue of nationalism. Also Czech historian
Miroslav Hroch analyzed
Vilém Flusser developed the philosophy of
technology and image. Marxist
Karel Kosík was a major philosopher in
the background of the
Prague Spring 1968.
Jan Patočka and Václav
Havel were the main ideologists of the Charter 77.
Egon Bondy was a
major philosophical spokesman of the Czech underground in the 1970s
and 1980s. Czech Egyptology has scored some successes, its main
representative is Miroslav Verner. Czech psychologist Stanislav Grof
developed a method of "Holotropic Breathwork". Experimental
Pavel Pavel made several attempts, they had to answer
the question how ancient civilizations transported heavy weights.
Science and technology
Nobel Prize laureate
Jaroslav Heyrovský in the lab
Josef Čapek (left) and
Karel Čapek (right), invented and
introduced the word robot
Gregor Mendel, founder of genetics
Jan Evangelista Purkyně
Famous scientists who were born on the territory of the current Czech
Friedrich von Berchtold
Friedrich von Berchtold (1781–1876), botanist, an avid worker for
Czech national revival.
Wenceslas Bojer (1795–1856), naturalist and botanist.
Ignaz von Born (1742–1791), mineralogist and metallurgist, one of
founders of the Royal Bohemian Society of Sciences.
Stanislav Brebera (1925–2012), inventor of the plastic explosive
Semtex in 1966.
Josef Čapek (1887–1945) and
Karel Čapek (1890–1938), brothers
who originated the word robot, for drama R.U.R.
Eduard Čech (1893–1960), mathematician with significant
contributions in topology.
Václav Prokop Diviš
Václav Prokop Diviš (1698–1765), inventor of the first grounded
Karel Domin (1882–1953), botanist, specialist in Australian taxonomy
František Josef Gerstner
František Josef Gerstner (1756–1832), physicist and engineer, built
the first iron works and the first steam engine in Czech lands.
Carl Cori – Nobel Prize laureates in Physiology or
Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) logician and mathematician, who became
famous for his two incompleteness theorems.
Peter Grünberg (* 1939) Nobel Prize laureate in Physics 2007.
Jaroslav Heyrovský (1890–1967), inventor of polarography,
electroanalytical chemistry and recipient of the Nobel Prize.
Josef Hlavka (15 February 1831 – 11 March 1908), was a Czech
architect, builder, philanthropist and founder of the oldest Czech
foundation for sciences and arts.
Antonín Holý (1936–2012), scientist and chemist, in 2009 was
involved in creation of the most effective drug in the treatment of
Jakub Husník (1837–1916), improved the process of photolithography.
Jan Janský (1873–1921), serologist and neurologist, discovered the
ABO blood groups.
Georg Joseph Kamel (1661–1706), Czech Jesuit, pharmacist and
naturalist known for producing first comprehensive accounts of the
Philippine flora; genus of flowering plants Camellia is named in his
Karel Klíč (1841–1926), painter and photographer, inventor of the
František Křižík (1847–1941), electrical engineer, inventor of
the arc lamp.
Julius Vincenz von Krombholz
Julius Vincenz von Krombholz (1782–1843), biologist, founder of the
great tradition of Czech mycology.* Johann Josef Loschmidt
(1821–1895), chemist, performed ground-breaking work in crystal
Ernst Mach (1838–1916) physicist and critic of Newton's theories of
space and time, foreshadowing Einstein's theory of relativity.
Jan Marek Marci
Jan Marek Marci (1595–1667), mathematician, physicist and imperial
physician, one of the founders of spectroscopy.
Christian Mayer (1719–1783), astronomer, pioneer in the study of
Gregor Mendel (1822–1884), often called the "father of genetics", is
famed for his research concerning the inheritance of genetic
Johann Palisa (1848–1925), astronomer who discovered 122 asteroids
Ferdinand Porsche (1875–1951), automotive designer.
Carl Borivoj Presl
Carl Borivoj Presl (1794–1852) and Jan Svatopluk Presl
(1791–1849), brothers, both prominent botanists.
Jan Evangelista Purkyně
Jan Evangelista Purkyně (1787–1869), anatomist and physiologist
responsible for the discovery of Purkinje cells,
Purkinje fibres and
sweat glands, as well as
Purkinje images and the Purkinje shift.
Jakub Kryštof Rad
Jakub Kryštof Rad (1799–1871), inventor of sugar cubes.
Vladimír Remek was the first person outside of the
Soviet Union and
United States to go into space (in March 1978).
Josef Ressel (1793–1857), inventor of the screw propeller and modern
Carl von Rokitansky
Carl von Rokitansky (1804–1878),
Joseph Škoda (1805–1881) and
Ferdinand Ritter von Hebra
Ferdinand Ritter von Hebra (1816–1880), Czech doctors and founders
of the Modern Medical School of Vienna.
Heinrich Wilhelm Schott (1794–1865), botanist well known for his
extensive work on aroids.
Alois Senefelder (1771–1834), inventor of lithographic printing.
Zdenko Hans Skraup
Zdenko Hans Skraup (1850–1910), chemist who discovered the Skraup
reaction, the first quinoline synthesis.
Kaspar Maria von Sternberg
Kaspar Maria von Sternberg (1761–1838), mineralogist, founder of the
Bohemian National Museum in Prague.
Ferdinand Stoliczka (1838–1874), palaeontologist who died of high
altitude sickness during an expedition across the Himalayas.
Karl von Terzaghi
Karl von Terzaghi (1883–1963), geologist known as the "father of
Hans Tropsch (1889–1935), chemist responsible for the development of
the Fischer-Tropsch process.
Otto Wichterle (1913–1998) and
Drahoslav Lím (1925–2003), Czech
chemists responsible for the invention of the modern contact lens and
silon (synthetic fiber).
Johannes Widmann (1460–1498), mathematician, inventor of the + and
A number of other scientists are also connected in some way with the
Czech lands. The following taught at the University of Prague:
Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe, physicists Christian
Doppler, Nikola Tesla, and Albert Einstein, and geologist Joachim
Main article: Tourism in the Czech Republic
The Historic Centre of
Prague is a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site since
Czech economy gets a substantial income from tourism.
the fifth most visited city in
Europe after London, Paris, Istanbul
and Rome. In 2001, the total earnings from tourism reached
118 billion CZK, making up 5.5% of GNP and 9% of overall export
earnings. The industry employs more than 110,000 people – over 1% of
the population. The country's reputation has suffered with
guidebooks and tourists reporting overcharging by taxi drivers and
pickpocketing problems mainly in Prague, though the situation has
improved recently. Since 2005, Prague's mayor, Pavel Bém,
has worked to improve this reputation by cracking down on petty
crime and, aside from these problems,
Prague is a safe city.
Czech Republic as a whole generally has a low crime
rate. For tourists, the
Czech Republic is considered a safe
destination to visit. The low crime rate makes most cities and towns
very safe to walk around.
One of the most visited tourist attractions in the Czech Republic
Nether district Vítkovice
Nether district Vítkovice in Ostrava, a post-industrial city
on the northeast of the country. The territory was formerly the site
of steel production, but now it hosts a technical museum with many
interactive expositions for tourists.
Czech Republic boasts 12
UNESCO World Heritage Sites. All of them
are in the cultural category. As of 2018, further 18 sites are on the
Medieval castles such as
Karlštejn are frequent tourist attractions.
There are several centres of tourist activity. The spa towns, such as
Mariánské Lázně and
Františkovy Lázně and
Jáchymov, are particularly popular relaxing holiday
destinations. Architectural heritage is another
object of interest to visitors – it includes many castles and
châteaux from different historical epoques, namely
Český Krumlov and the Lednice–Valtice area.
There are 12 cathedrals and 15 churches elevated to the rank of
basilica by the Pope, calm monasteries, many modern and ancient
churches – for example
Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk
Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk is
one of those inscribed on the World Heritage List. Away from the
towns, areas such as Český ráj, Šumava and the
attract visitors seeking outdoor pursuits.
The country is also known for its various museums. Puppetry and
marionette exhibitions are very popular, with a number of puppet
festivals throughout the country. Aquapalace Praha in Čestlice
near Prague, is the biggest water park in central Europe.
Czech Republic has a number of beer festivals, including: Czech
Beer Festival (the biggest
Czech beer festival, it is usually 17 days
long and held every year in May in Prague),
Pilsner Fest (every year
in August in Plzeň), The Olomoucký pivní festival (in Olomouc) or
festival Slavnosti piva v Českých Budějovicích (in České
Main article: Demographics of the Czech Republic
Folk music band from southern
Bohemia wearing local folk costumes
According to preliminary results of the 2011 census, the majority of
the inhabitants of the
Czech Republic are
Czechs (63.7%), followed by
Germans (0.2%) and
Silesians (0.1%). As the 'nationality' was an optional item, a
substantial number of people left this field blank (26.0%).
According to some estimates, there are about 250,000
Romani people in
the Czech Republic.
There were 464,700 (4.3% of population) foreigners residing in the
country in 2015, according to the Czech Statistical Office, with the
largest groups being Ukrainian (23%), Slovak (22%), Vietnamese (12%),
Russian (8%), German (5%), Polish (4%), Bulgarian (2%), Romanian (2%),
American (1%), British (1%) and from other countries (20%).
The Jewish population of
Bohemia and Moravia, 118,000 according to the
1930 census, was virtually annihilated by the Nazi
Germans during the
Holocaust. There were approximately 4,000 Jews in the Czech
Republic in 2005. The former Czech prime minister, Jan Fischer,
is of Jewish ethnicity and faith.
The total fertility rate (TFR) in 2015 was estimated at 1.44 children
born/woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2.1, and one of the
lowest in the world. In 2016, 48.6% of births were to unmarried
women. The life expectancy in 2013 was estimated at 77.56 years
(74.29 years male, 81.01 years female). Immigration increased the
population by almost 1% in 2007. About 77,000 people immigrate to the
Czech Republic annually. Vietnamese immigrants began settling in
Czech Republic during the Communist period, when they were invited
as guest workers by the Czechoslovak government. In 2009, there
were about 70,000 Vietnamese in the Czech Republic. Most decide
to stay in the country permanently.
At the turn of the 20th century,
Chicago was the city with the third
largest Czech population, after
Prague and Vienna. According
to the 2010 US census, there are 1,533,826 Americans of full or
partial Czech descent.
Prague, the Capital City
Ústí nad Labem
Ústí nad Labem
Ústí nad Labem
Ústí nad Labem
Ústí nad Labem
Religion in the Czech Republic
Religion in the Czech Republic and Religion in the
Religion in the Czech Republic
Religion in the Czech Republic (2011)
Believers, not members of other religions
Other Christian churches
Believers, members of other religions
Other religions / Unknown
Roman Catholicism is the major religion at 10% of the population;
Saint Wenceslas Cathedral
Saint Wenceslas Cathedral in
Czech Republic has one of the least religious populations in the
world with 75% to 79% of people not declaring any religion
or faith in polls and the percentage of convinced atheists being third
highest only behind
China and Japan. The
Czech people have been
historically characterised as "tolerant and even indifferent towards
Christianization in the 9th and 10th centuries introduced Roman
Catholicism. After the Bohemian Reformation, most
followers of Jan Hus,
Petr Chelčický and other regional Protestant
Utraquists were major
Hussite groups. During
Utraquists sided with the Catholic Church. Following
the joint Utraquist—Catholic victory, Utraquism was accepted as a
distinct form of Christianity to be practiced in
Bohemia by the
Catholic Church while all remaining
Hussite groups were prohibited.
After the Reformation, some Bohemians went with the teachings of
Martin Luther, especially Sudeten Germans. In the wake of the
Hussites took a renewed increasingly
anti-Catholic stance, while some of the defeated
(notably Taborites) were revived. After the
Habsburgs regained control
of Bohemia, the whole population was forcibly converted to Roman
Catholicism—even the Utraquist Hussites. Going forward,
become more wary and pessimistic of religion as such. A long history
of resistance to the
Catholic Church followed. It suffered a schism
with the neo-
Hussite Church in 1920, lost the
bulk of its adherents during the Communist era and continues to lose
in the modern, ongoing secularization.
Protestantism never recovered
after the Counter-
Reformation was introduced by the Austrian Habsburgs
According to the 2011 census, 34% of the population stated they had no
religion, 10.3% was Roman Catholic, 0.8% was
Protestant (0.5% Czech
Brethren and 0.4% Hussite), and 9% followed other forms of
religion both denominational or not (of which 863 people answered they
are Pagan). 45% of the population did not answer the question about
religion. From 1991 to 2001 and further to 2011 the adherence to
Roman Catholicism decreased from 39% to 27% and then to 10%;
Protestantism similarly declined from 3.7% to 2% and then to
Main article: Education in the Czech Republic
Orbis Pictus, a revolutionary children's textbook with
illustrations published in 1658 by educator John Amos Comenius.
Education in the Czech Republic
Education in the Czech Republic is compulsory for 9 years and citizens
have access to a tuition-free university education, while the average
number of years of education is 13.1. Additionally, the Czech
Republic has a relatively equal educational system in comparison with
other countries in Europe. Founded in 1348, Charles University
was the first university in Central Europe. Other major universities
in the country are Masaryk University, Czech Technical University,
Palacký University, Academy of Performing Arts and University of
The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the
OECD, currently ranks the Czech education system as the 15th most
successful in the world, higher than the OECD average.
Main article: Healthcare in the Czech Republic
Healthcare in the Czech Republic
Healthcare in the Czech Republic is similar in quality to other
developed nations. The Czech universal health care system is based on
a compulsory insurance model, with fee-for-service care funded by
mandatory employment-related insurance plans. According to the
Euro health consumer index, a comparison of healthcare in Europe,
the Czech healthcare is 13th, ranked behind
Sweden and two positions
ahead of the United Kingdom.
Main article: Culture of the Czech Republic
Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter (1896) by
Art Nouveau artist
Bohemian glass pitcher, circa 1880
Venus of Dolní Věstonice
Venus of Dolní Věstonice is the treasure of prehistoric art.
Prague was the most famous Czech painter in the Gothic
era. For example, he decorated the castle Karlstejn. In the Baroque
era, the famous painters were Wenceslaus Hollar, Jan Kupecký, Karel
Anton Raphael Mengs
Anton Raphael Mengs or Petr Brandl, sculptors Matthias Braun
and Ferdinand Brokoff. In the first half of the 19th century, Josef
Mánes joined the romantic movement. In the second half of the 19th
century had the main say the so-called "National Theatre generation":
Josef Václav Myslbek
Josef Václav Myslbek and painters Mikoláš Aleš, Václav
Vojtěch Hynais or Julius Mařák. At the end of the century
came a wave of Art Nouveau. Alfons Mucha becomes the main
representative. He is today the most famous Czech painter. Mainly
Art Nouveau posters and his cycle of 20 large canvases named
the Slav Epic, which depicts the history of
Czechs and other Slavs. As
of 2012[update], the Slav Epic can be seen in the Veletržní Palace
of the National Gallery in Prague, which manages the largest
collection of art in the Czech Republic.
Max Švabinský was another
important Art nouveau painter. The 20th century brought avant-garde
revolution. In the
Czech lands mainly expressionist and cubist: Josef
Čapek, Emil Filla, Bohumil Kubišta, Jan Zrzavý.
particularly in the work of Toyen,
Josef Šíma and Karel Teige. In
the world, however, he pushed mainly František Kupka, a pioneer of
abstract painting. As illustrators and cartoonists in the first half
of the 20th century gained fame Josef Lada,
Zdeněk Burian or Emil
Orlík. Art photography has become a new field (František Drtikol,
Josef Sudek, later
Jan Saudek or Josef Koudelka).
Czech Republic is known worldwide for its individually made, mouth
blown and decorated Bohemian glass.
Main articles: Czech Gothic architecture, Czech Renaissance
architecture, and Czech Baroque architecture
Traditional rural log house in
Open-air museum Vysočina
The earliest preserved stone buildings in
back to the time of the
Christianization in the 9th and 10th century.
Since the Middle Ages, the
Czech lands have been using the same
architectural styles as most of Western and Central Europe. The oldest
still standing churches were built in the Romanesque style (St.
George's Basilica, St. Procopius Basilica in Třebíč). During the
13th century it was replaced by the Gothic style (Charles Bridge,
Bethlehem Chapel, Old New Synagogue, Sedlec Ossuary, Old Town Hall
Prague astronomical clock, Church of Our Lady before Týn). In
the 14th century Emperor Charles IV invited to his court in Prague
talented architects from
France and Germany,
Matthias of Arras
Matthias of Arras and
Peter Parler (Karlštejn, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. Barbara's Church in
Kutná Hora). During the Middle Ages, many fortified castles were
built by the king and aristocracy, as well as many monasteries
(Strahov Monastery, Špilberk, Křivoklát Castle, Vyšší Brod
Monastery). During the
Hussite wars, many of them were damaged or
Royal Summer Palace in
Prague considered the purest Renaissance
architecture outside Italy
The Renaissance style penetrated the
Bohemian Crown in the late 15th
century when the older Gothic style started to be slowly mixed with
Renaissance elements (architects Matěj Rejsek,
Benedikt Rejt and
their Powder Tower). An outstanding example of the pure Renaissance
Bohemia is the Royal Summer Palace, which was situated
in a newly established garden of
Prague Castle. Evidence of the
general reception of the Renaissance in Bohemia, involving a massive
influx of Italian architects, can be found in spacious châteaux with
elegant arcade courtyards and geometrically arranged gardens
(Litomyšl Castle, Hluboká Castle). Emphasis was placed on
comfort, and buildings that were built for entertainment purposes also
St. Nicholas' Church in Prague, an exemplar of the Bohemian Baroque
In the 17th century, the Baroque style spread throughout the Crown of
Bohemia. Very outstanding are the architectural projects of the Czech
nobleman and imperial generalissimo
Albrecht von Wallenstein
Albrecht von Wallenstein from the
1620s (Wallenstein Palace). His architects Andrea Spezza and Giovanni
Pieroni reflected the most recent Italian production and were very
innovative at the same time.
Czech Baroque architecture
Czech Baroque architecture is considered
to be a unique part of the European cultural heritage thanks to its
extensiveness and extraordinariness (Kroměříž Castle, Holy Trinity
Column in Olomouc, St. Nicholas Church at Malá Strana, Karlova Koruna
Chateau). In the first third of the 18th century the Bohemian lands
were one of the leading artistic centers of the Baroque style. In
Bohemia there was completed the development of the Radical Baroque
style created in
Francesco Borromini and
Guarino Guarini in a
very original way. Leading architects of the Bohemian Baroque
were Jean-Baptiste Mathey, František Maxmilián Kaňka, Christoph
Dientzenhofer, and his son Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer.
In the 18th century
Bohemia produced an architectural peculiarity –
the Baroque Gothic style, a synthesis of the Gothic and Baroque
styles. This was not a simple return to Gothic details, but rather an
original Baroque transformation. The main representative and
originator of this style was Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel, who used this
style in renovating medieval monastic buildings or in Pilgrimage
Church of Saint John of Nepomuk.
During the 19th century, the revival architectural styles were very
popular in the Bohemian monarchy. Many churches were restored to their
presumed medieval appearance and there were constructed many new
buildings in the Neo-Romanesque, Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance styles
(National Theatre, Lednice–Valtice Cultural Landscape, Cathedral of
St. Peter and Paul in Brno). At the turn of the 19th and 20th
centuries the new art style appeared in the
Czech lands – Art
Nouveau. The best-known representatives of Czech Art Nouveau
architecture were Osvald Polívka, who designed the
Municipal House in
Prague, Josef Fanta, the architect of the
Prague Main Railway Station,
Josef Hoffmann and Jan Kotěra.
Villa Tugendhat in Brno
Bohemia contributed an unusual style to the world's architectural
heritage when Czech architects attempted to transpose the
painting and sculpture into architecture (House of the Black Madonna).
During the first years of the independent
Czechoslovakia (after 1918),
a specifically Czech architectural style, called Rondo-Cubism, came
into existence. Together with the pre-war Czech Cubist architecture it
is unparalleled elsewhere in the world. The first Czechoslovak
president T. G. Masaryk invited the prominent Slovene architect Jože
Plečnik to Prague, where he modernized the Castle and built some
other buildings (Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord).
Between World Wars I and II, Functionalism, with its sober,
progressive forms, took over as the main architectural style in the
newly established Czechoslovak Republic. In the city of Brno, one of
the most impressive functionalist works has been preserved – Villa
Tugendhat, designed by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
The most significant Czech architects of this era were Adolf Loos,
Pavel Janák and Josef Gočár.
After World War II and the Communist coup in 1948, art in
Czechoslovakia became strongly Soviet influenced. Hotel International
Prague is a brilliant example of the so-called Socialist realism,
the Stalinistic art style of the 1950s. The Czechoslovak avant-garde
artistic movement known as the Brussels style (named after the
Brussels World's Fair Expo 58) became popular in the time of political
Czechoslovakia in the 1960s.
Brutalism dominated in
the 70s and 80s (Kotva Department Store).
Even today, the
Czech Republic is not shying away from the most modern
trends of international architecture. This fact is attested to by a
number of projects by world-renowned architects (
Frank Gehry and his
Dancing House, Jean Nouvel, Ricardo Bofill, and John Pawson). There
are also contemporary Czech architects whose works can be found all
over the world (Vlado Milunić, Eva Jiřičná, Jan Kaplický).
Main article: Czech literature
Jaroslav Seifert won the Nobel Prize in Literature
In a strict sense,
Czech literature is the literature written in the
Czech language. A more liberal definition incorporates all literary
works written in the
Czech lands regardless of language. The
literature from the area of today's
Czech Republic was mostly written
in Czech, but also in
Latin and German or even Old Church Slavonic.
Thus Franz Kafka, who—while bilingual in Czech and
German—wrote his works (The Trial, The Castle) in German,
during the era of Austrian rule, can represent the Czech, German or
Austrian literature depending on the point of view.
Influential Czech authors who wrote in
Latin include Cosmas of Prague
(† 1125), Martin of
Opava († 1278),
Peter of Zittau († 1339),
John Hus († 1415),
Bohuslav Hasištejnský z Lobkovic
Bohuslav Hasištejnský z Lobkovic (1461–1510),
Jan Dubravius (1486–1553),
Tadeáš Hájek (1525–1600), Johannes
Vodnianus Campanus (1572–1622),
John Amos Comenius
John Amos Comenius (1592–1670),
Bohuslav Balbín (1621–1688).
In the second half of the 13th century, the royal court in Prague
became one of the centers of the German
Minnesang and courtly
literature (Reinmar von Zweter, Heinrich von Freiberg, Ulrich von
Etzenbach, Wenceslaus II of Bohemia). The most famous Czech medieval
German-language work is the Ploughman of
Bohemia (Der Ackermann aus
Böhmen), written around 1401 by Johannes von Tepl. The heyday of
Czech German-language literature can be seen in the first half of the
20th century, which is represented by the well-known names of Franz
Kafka, Max Brod, Franz Werfel, Rainer Maria Rilke, Karl Kraus, Egon
Erwin Kisch, and others.
Bible translations played an important role in the development of
Czech literature and the standard Czech language. The oldest Czech
translation of the
Psalms originated in the late 13th century and the
first complete Czech translation of the Bible was finished around
1360. The first complete printed Czech Bible was published in 1488
Prague Bible). The first complete Czech Bible translation from the
original languages was published between 1579 and 1593 and is known as
the Bible of Kralice. The
Codex Gigas from the 12th century is the
largest extant medieval manuscript in the world.
Czech-language literature can be divided into several periods: the
Middle Ages (Chronicle of Dalimil); the
Hussite period (Tomáš
Štítný ze Štítného, Jan Hus, Petr Chelčický); the Renaissance
humanism (Henry the Younger of Poděbrady, Luke of Prague, Wenceslaus
Hajek, Jan Blahoslav, Daniel Adam z Veleslavína); the Baroque period
(John Amos Comenius, Adam Václav Michna z Otradovic, Bedřich Bridel,
Jan František Beckovský); the Enlightenment and Czech reawakening in
the first half of the 19th century (Václav Matěj Kramerius, Karel
Hynek Mácha, Karel Jaromír Erben, Karel Havlíček Borovský,
Božena Němcová, Ján Kollár, Josef Kajetán Tyl), modern
literature in second half of the 19th century (Jan Neruda, Alois
Jirásek, Viktor Dyk, Jaroslav Vrchlický, Julius Zeyer, Svatopluk
Čech); the avant-garde of the interwar period (Karel Čapek, Jaroslav
Hašek, Vítězslav Nezval, Jaroslav Seifert, Jiří Wolker, Vladimír
Holan); the years under Communism and the
Prague Spring (Josef
Škvorecký, Bohumil Hrabal, Milan Kundera, Arnošt Lustig, Václav
Havel, Pavel Kohout, Ivan Klíma); and the literature of the
Czech Republic (Ivan Martin Jirous, Michal Viewegh,
Jáchym Topol, Patrik Ouředník, Kateřina Tučková).
Noted journalists include Julius Fučík, Milena Jesenská, and
Jaroslav Seifert was the only Czech writer awarded the Nobel Prize in
Literature. The famous antiwar comedy novel
The Good Soldier Švejk
The Good Soldier Švejk by
Jaroslav Hašek is the most translated Czech book in history. It was
Karel Steklý in two color films The Good Soldier Schweik
in 1956 and 1957. Widely translated Czech books are also Milan
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Karel Čapek's War
with the Newts.
The international literary award the
Franz Kafka Prize is awarded in
the Czech Republic.
Czech Republic has the densest network of libraries in
Europe. At its center stands the National Library of the Czech
Republic, based in the baroque complex Klementinum.
Czech literature and culture played a major role on at least two
Czechs lived under oppression and political activity
was suppressed. On both of these occasions, in the early 19th century
and then again in the 1960s, the
Czechs used their cultural and
literary effort to strive for political freedom, establishing a
confident, politically aware nation.
Bedřich Smetana on the painting of František Dvořák
Music of the Czech Lands and Moravian traditional music
The musical tradition of the
Czech lands arose from first church
hymns, whose first evidence is suggested at the break of 10th and 11th
century. The first significant pieces of Czech music include two
chorales, which in their time performed the function of anthems:
"Hospodine pomiluj ny" (Lord, Have Mercy on Us) from around 1050,
unmistakably the oldest and most faithfully preserved popular
spiritual song to have survived to the present, and the hymn "Svatý
Václave" (Saint Wenceslas) or "
Saint Wenceslas Chorale" from around
1250. Its roots can be found in the 12th century and it still
belongs to the most popular religious songs to this day. In 1918, in
the beginning of the Czechoslovak state, the song was discussed as one
of the possible choices for the national anthem. The authorship of the
anthem "Lord, Have Mercy on Us" is ascribed by some historians to
Saint Adalbert of
Prague (sv.Vojtěch), bishop of Prague, living
between 956 and 997.
The wealth of musical culture in the
Czech Republic lies in the
long-term high-culture classical music tradition during all historical
periods, especially in the Baroque, Classicism, Romantic, modern
classical music and in the traditional folk music of Bohemia, Moravia
and Silesia. Since the early era of artificial music, Czech musicians
and composers have often been influenced the folk music of the region
and dances (e.g. the polka, which originated in Bohemia). Among the
most notable Czech composers are Adam Michna, Jan Dismas Zelenka, Jan
Václav Antonín Stamic, Jiří Antonín Benda, Jan Křtitel Vaňhal,
Josef Mysliveček, Heinrich Biber, Antonín Rejcha, František Xaver
František Brixi and
Jan Ladislav Dussek
Jan Ladislav Dussek in baroque era,
Bedřich Smetana and
Antonín Dvořák in romanticism, Gustav Mahler,
Josef Suk, Leoš Janáček, Bohuslav Martinů, Vítězslav Novák,
Zdeněk Fibich, Alois Hába, Viktor Ullmann, Ervín Schulhoff, Pavel
Josef Bohuslav Foerster
Josef Bohuslav Foerster in modern classical music, Miloslav
Petr Eben in contemporary classical music. Not
forgetting the famous musicians, interpreters, conductors, e.g.
František Benda, Rafael Kubelík, Jan Kubelík, David Popper, Alice
Herz-Sommer, Rudolf Serkin, Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, Otakar Ševčík,
Václav Neumann, Václav Talich, Karel Ančerl, Jiří Bělohlávek,
Wojciech Żywny, Emma Destinnová, Magdalena Kožená, Rudolf
Firkušný, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,
Panocha Quartet or
non-classical musicians: Julius Fučík (brass band), Karel Svoboda
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Erich Wolfgang Korngold (film music), Ralph Benatzky, Rudolf Friml
Oskar Nedbal (operetta),
Jan Hammer and
Karel Gott (pop), Jaroslav
Miroslav Vitouš (jazz),
Karel Kryl (folk).
Czech music can be considered to have been beneficial in both the
European and worldwide context, several times co-determined or even
determined a newly arriving era in musical art, above all of
Classical era, as well as by original attitudes in Baroque, Romantic
and modern classical music. The most famous Czech musical works are
The Bartered Bride
The Bartered Bride and Má vlast, Dvořák’s New World
Slavonic Dances or Janáček’s Sinfonietta and
operas, above all Jenůfa.
The most famous music festival in the country is
International Music Festival of classical music, a permanent showcase
for outstanding performing artists, symphony orchestras and chamber
music ensembles of the world.
The National Theatre (left) and the
Estates Theatre (right)
Main article: Theatre of the Czech Republic
The roots of Czech theatre can be found in the Middle Ages, especially
in cultural life of gothic period. In the 19th century, the theatre
played an important role in the national awakening movement and later,
in the 20th century it became a part of the modern European theatre
art. Original Czech cultural phenomenon came into being at the end of
the 1950s. This project called
Laterna magika (The Magic Lantern) was
the brainchild of renowned film and theater director Alfred Radok,
resulting in productions that combined theater, dance and film in a
poetic manner, considered the first multimedia art project in
The most famous Czech drama is Karel Čapek's play R.U.R., which
introduced the word "robot".
Main article: Cinema of the Czech Republic
Miloš Forman, one of the main creators the Czechoslovak New Wave
The tradition of Czech cinematography started in the second half of
the 1890s. Peaks of the production in the era of silent movies include
the historical drama The Builder of the Temple and the social and
erotic (very controversial and innovative at that time) drama Erotikon
directed by Gustav Machatý. The early Czech sound film era was
very productive, above all in mainstream genres, especially the
Martin Frič or Karel Lamač. However, dramatic movies
were more internationally successful. Among the most successful being
the romantic drama Ecstasy by
Gustav Machatý and the romantic The
River by Josef Rovenský.
American poster of Karel Zeman's 1958 film A Deadly Invention
After the repressive period of Nazi occupation and early communist
official dramaturgy of socialist realism in movies at the turn of the
1940s and 1950s with a few exceptions such as
Krakatit by Otakar
Vávra or Men without wings by
František Čáp (awarded by Palme d'Or
Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival in 1946), a new era of the Czech film
began with outstanding animated films by important filmmakers such as
Karel Zeman, a pioneer with special effects (culminating in successful
films such as artistically exceptional Vynález zkázy ("A Deadly
Invention"), performed in anglophone countries under the name "The
Fabulous World of Jules Verne" from 1958, which combined acted drama
with animation, and Jiří Trnka, the founder of the modern puppet
film. This began a strong tradition of animated films (Zdeněk
Miler's Mole etc.). Another Czech cultural phenomenon came into being
at the end of the 1950s. This project called
Laterna magika ("The
Magic Lantern"), resulting in productions that combined theater, dance
and film in a poetic manner, considered the first multimedia art
project in international context (mentioned also in Theatre section
In the 1960s, so called Czech New Wave (also Czechoslovak New Wave)
received international acclaim. It is linked with names of Miloš
Forman, Věra Chytilová, Jiří Menzel, Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos,
Evald Schorm, Vojtěch Jasný, Ivan Passer, Jan Schmidt, Juraj Herz,
Juraj Jakubisko, Jan Němec, Jaroslav Papoušek, etc. The hallmark of
the films of this movement were long, often improvised dialogues,
black and absurd humor and the occupation of non-actors. Directors are
trying to preserve natural atmosphere without refinement and
artificial arrangement of scenes. The unique personality of the 1960s
and the beginning of the 1970s with original manuscript, deep
psychological impact and extraordinarily high quality art is the
director František Vláčil. His films Marketa Lazarová, Údolí
včel ("The Valley of The Bees") or
Adelheid belong to the artistic
peaks of Czech cinema production. The film "Marketa Lazarová" was
voted the all-time best Czech movie in a prestigious 1998 poll of
Czech film critics and publicists. Another internationally well-known
Jan Švankmajer (in the beginning of the career conjoined
with above mentioned project "Laterna Magika"), a filmmaker and artist
whose work spans several media. He is a self-labeled surrealist known
for his animations and features, which have greatly influenced many
Karlovy Vary Film Festival is the largest film festival in the
Kadár & Klos's
The Shop on Main Street
The Shop on Main Street (1965), Menzel's Closely
Watched Trains (1967) and Jan Svěrák's
Kolya (1996) won the Academy
Award for Best Foreign Language Film while six others earned a
Loves of a Blonde
Loves of a Blonde (1966),
The Fireman's Ball
The Fireman's Ball (1968), My
Sweet Little Village (1986),
The Elementary School
The Elementary School (1991), Divided We
Fall (2000) and
Czech Lion is the highest Czech award for film achievement.
Karel Roden and
Libuše Šafránková (known from
Christmas classic Three Nuts for Cinderella, especially popular in
Norway) among the best known Czech actors.
Barrandov Studios in
Prague are the largest film studios in
country and one of the largest in
Europe with many many popular film
locations in the country. Filmmakers have come to
Prague to shoot
scenery no longer found in Berlin, Paris and Vienna. The city of
Karlovy Vary was used as a location for the 2006 James Bond film
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is one of the oldest in the
world and has become Central and Eastern Europe's leading film event.
It is also one of few film festivals have been given competitive
status by the FIAPF. Other film festivals held in the country include
Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, One World
Zlín Film Festival and Fresh Film Festival.
Czech Republic is a democratic republic, journalists and
media enjoy a great degree of freedom. There are restrictions only
against writing in support of Nazism, racism or violating Czech law.
The country was ranked as the 23rd most free press in the World
Freedom Index by
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders in 2017.> American
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has its headquarters in Prague.
The most watched main news program is TV Nova. The most trusted
news webpage in the
Czech Republic is ct24.cz, which owns Czech
Television – the only national public television service – and its
24-hour news channel ČT24. Other public services are Czech Radio
Czech News Agency
Czech News Agency (ČTK). Privately owned television services
such as TV Nova,
TV Prima and
TV Barrandov are also very popular, with
TV Nova being the most popular channel in the Czech Republic.
Newspapers are quite popular in the Czech Republic. The best-selling
daily national newspapers are
Blesk (average 1.15M daily readers),
Mladá fronta DNES
Mladá fronta DNES (average 752,000 daily readers),
260,00 daily readers) and Deník (average 72,000 daily readers).
Main article: Video gaming in the Czech Republic
Czech Republic is home to several globally successful video game
developers, including Illusion Softworks (2K Czech), Bohemia
Interactive, Keen Software House,
Amanita Design and Madfinger Games.
The Czech video game development scene has a long history, and a
number of Czech games were produced for the ZX Spectrum,
PMD 85 and
Atari systems in the 1980s. In the early 2000s, a number of Czech
games achieved international acclaim, including Hidden &
Dangerous, Operation Flashpoint, Vietcong and Mafia. Today, the most
globally successful Czech games include ARMA, DayZ, Space Engineers,
Euro Truck Simulator, American Truck Simulator, Silent
Hill: Downpour, 18 Wheels of Steel, Bus Driver,
Czech Game of the Year Awards are held annually to
recognize accomplishments in video game development.
Main article: Czech cuisine
Czech cuisine is marked by a strong emphasis on meat dishes. Pork is
quite common; beef and chicken are also popular. Goose, duck, rabbit
and wild game are served. Fish is rare, with the occasional exception
of fresh trout and carp, which is served at Christmas.
Czech beer has a long and important history. The first brewery is
known to have existed in 993 and the
Czech Republic has the highest
beer consumption per capita in the world. The famous "pilsner style
beer" (pils) originated in the western Bohemian city of Plzeň, where
the world's first-ever blond lager
Pilsner Urquell is still being
produced, making it the inspiration for more than two-thirds of the
beer produced in the world today. Further south the town of České
Budějovice, known as Budweis in German, lent its name to its beer,
eventually known as Budweiser Budvar. Apart from these and other major
Czech Republic also boasts a growing number of top quality
small breweries and mini-breweries seeking to continue the age-old
tradition of quality and taste, whose output matches the best in the
Tourism is slowly growing around the Southern Moravian region too,
which has been producing wine since the Middle Ages; about 94% of
vineyards in the
Czech Republic are Moravian. Aside from slivovitz,
Czech beer and wine, the
Czechs also produce two unique liquors,
Fernet Stock and Becherovka.
Kofola is a non-alcoholic domestic cola
soft drink which competes with Coca-
Pepsi in popularity.
Some popular Czech dishes include:
Vepřo knedlo zelo: roast pork with bread dumplings and stewed cabbage
Svíčková na smetaně: roast sirloin of beef with steamed dumplings
and cream of vegetable sauce
Rajská (omáčka): beef in tomato sauce, traditionally served with
Koprová: beef in dill sauce, traditionally served with dumplings
Pečená kachna: roast duck with bread or potato dumplings and braised
Guláš: a variety of beef and pork goulash stews, served with
dumplings or bread
Smažený sýr: fried cheese, typically served with potatoes or french
fries and tartar sauce
Bramboráky: potato pancakes, traditionally served with sour cabbage
There is also a large variety of local sausages, wurst, pâtés, and
smoked and cured meats. Czech desserts include a wide variety of
whipped cream, chocolate, and fruit pastries and tarts, crêpes, creme
desserts and cheese, poppy-seed-filled and other types of traditional
cakes such as buchty, koláče and štrúdl.
A mug of
Pilsner Urquell, the first pilsner type of pale lager beer,
brewed since 1842
Svíčková: marinated sirloin steak with root vegetable and cream
gravy, dumplings, and cranberries
Vepřo-knedlo-zelo: roast pork, sauerkraut and dumplings
Sweet roll (koláč) with poppy seed or a fruit preserve (povidla)
Easter bread baked during the celebrations of Easter
Main article: Sport in the Czech Republic
Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in the
Czech Republic and
the Czech national team is one of the world's most successful teams
Sports play a part in the life of many Czechs, who are generally loyal
supporters of their favorite teams or individuals. The two leading
sports in the
Czech Republic are ice hockey and football. Tennis is
also a very popular sport in the Czech Republic. The many other sports
with professional leagues and structures include basketball,
volleyball, team handball, track and field athletics and floorball.
The country has won 14 gold medals in summer (plus 49 as
Czechoslovakia) and five gold medals (plus two as Czechoslovakia) in
winter Olympic history. Famous Olympians are Věra Čáslavská, Emil
Zátopek, Jan Železný, Barbora Špotáková, Martina Sáblíková,
Štěpánka Hilgertová or Kateřina Neumannová.
Sports legends are also runner
Jarmila Kratochvílová or chess-player
Czech hockey school has good reputation. The Czech ice hockey team won
the gold medal at the
1998 Winter Olympics
1998 Winter Olympics and has won twelve gold
medals at the World Championships (including 6 as Czechoslovakia),
including three straight from 1999 to 2001. Former
Jaromír Jágr and
Dominik Hašek are among the best known Czech
hockey players of all time.
Czechoslovakia national football team was a consistent performer
on the international scene, with eight appearances in the FIFA World
Cup Finals, finishing in second place in 1934 and 1962. The team also
won the European Football Championship in 1976, came in third in 1980
and won the Olympic gold in 1980. After dissolution of Czechoslovakia,
Czech national football team
Czech national football team finished in second (1996) and third
(2004) place at the European Football Championship. The most famous
Czech footballers were Oldřich Nejedlý, Antonín Puč, František
Plánička, Josef Bican,
Josef Masopust (Ballon d'or 1962), Ladislav
Novák, Svatopluk Pluskal, Antonín Panenka, Ivo Viktor, Pavel Nedvěd
(Ballon d'or 2003), Karel Poborský, Vladimír Šmicer, Jan Koller,
Milan Baroš, Marek Jankulovski,
Tomáš Rosický and Petr Čech.
Czech Republic also has great influence in tennis, with such
players as Karolína Plíšková, Tomáš Berdych, Jan Kodeš,
Jaroslav Drobný, Hana Mandlíková, Wimbledon Women's Singles winners
Petra Kvitová and Jana Novotná, 8-time Grand Slam singles champion
Ivan Lendl, and 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova.
Czech Republic men's national volleyball team
Czech Republic men's national volleyball team winner silver medal
1964 Summer Olympics
1964 Summer Olympics and two gold medalist in FIVB Volleyball World
Championship 1956, 1966.
Czech Republic women's national basketball
team win EuroBasket 2005 Women.
Czechoslovakia national basketball
team win EuroBasket 1946.
Sport is a source of strong waves of patriotism, usually rising
several days or weeks before an event. The events considered the most
important by Czech fans are: the Ice Hockey World Championships,
Ice hockey tournament, UEFA European Football Championship,
UEFA Champions League,
FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup and qualification matches for
such events. In general, any international match of the Czech ice
hockey or football national team draws attention, especially when
played against a traditional rival.
One of the most popular Czech sports is hiking, mainly in the Czech
mountains. The word for "tourist" in the Czech language, turista, also
means "trekker" or "hiker". For hikers, thanks to the more than
120-year-old tradition, there is a
Czech Hiking Markers System
Czech Hiking Markers System of
trail blazing, that has been adopted by countries worldwide. There is
a network of around 40,000 km of marked short- and long-distance
trails crossing the whole country and all the Czech
The most significant sports venues are
Eden Arena (e.g. 2013 UEFA
Super Cup, 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship; home venue of SK
Slavia Prague), O2 Arena (2015 European Athletics Indoor
Championships, 2015 IIHF World Championship; home venue of HC Sparta
Generali Arena (home venue of AC Sparta Prague), Masaryk
Czech Republic motorcycle Grand Prix), Strahov Stadium
(mass games of
Sokol and Spartakiades in communist era), Tipsport
Arena (1964 World Men's Handball Championship, EuroBasket 1981, 1990
World Men's Handball Championship; home venue of ex-KHL's HC Lev
Stadion Evžena Rošického
Stadion Evžena Rošického (1978 European Athletics
List of Czech Republic-related topics
Outline of the Czech Republic
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^ Územní plán velkého územního celku ČESKOBUDĚJOVICKÉ
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náboženské víry (náboženského vyznání) v letech 1991 - 2011":
believers 20,8%; non-believers 34,5%; no declared religion 44,7%
^ Richard Felix Staar, Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, Issue 269,
^ The Czechoslovak
Hussite Church contains mixed Protestant, Catholic,
Eastern Orthodox and national elements. Classifying it as either one
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^ "Společnost Franze Kafky – Cena Franze Kafky".
^ Patterson, Dave (21 July 2016). "The
Czech Republic Has The Densest
Library Network In The World".
^ The chronicles of Beneš Krabice of Veitmil – the hymn "Svatý
Václave" mentioned there as old and well-known in the end of the 13th
^ Dějiny české hudby v obrazech (History of Czech music in
pictures); in Czech
^ "Czech Music".
^ "Gustav Machatý's Erotikon (1929) & Ekstase (1933): Cinema's
Earliest Explorations of Women's Sensuality". Open Culture.
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pp. 358–365. ISBN 963-04-9196-6.
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Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810833387
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