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The CZECH REPUBLIC (/ˈtʃɛk rᵻˈpʌblɪk/ (_ listen ) CHEK-rə-PUB-lik_ ; Czech : _Česká republika_, Czech pronunciation: (_ listen )), also known as CZECHIA (/ˈtʃɛkiə/ ( listen ), CHEK-ee-ə_ ; Czech : _Česko_, pronounced ), is a nation state in Central Europe
Europe
bordered by Germany
Germany
to the west, Austria
Austria
to the south, Slovakia
Slovakia
to the east and Poland
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 10.5 million inhabitants and the capital and largest city is Prague
Prague
, with over 1.2 million residents. The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia
Bohemia
, Moravia
Moravia
, and Czech Silesia
Czech Silesia
.

The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia
Bohemia
under the Great Moravian Empire . After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia
Moravia
to Bohemia
Bohemia
under the Přemyslid dynasty
Přemyslid dynasty
. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as part of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia
in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Besides Bohemia
Bohemia
itself, the king of Bohemia
Bohemia
ruled the lands of the Bohemian Crown , he had a vote in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor , and Prague
Prague
was the imperial seat in periods between the 14th and 17th century. In the Hussite wars
Hussite wars
of the 15th century driven by the Protestant Bohemian Reformation
Bohemian Reformation
, the kingdom faced economic embargoes and defeated five consecutive crusades proclaimed by the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church
Catholic Church
.

Following the Battle of Mohács
Battle of Mohács
in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
alongside the Archduchy of Austria
Austria
and the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
. The Protestant Bohemian Revolt
Bohemian Revolt
(1618–20) against the Catholic Habsburgs
Habsburgs
led to the Thirty Years\' War . After the Battle of the White Mountain , the Habsburgs
Habsburgs
consolidated their rule, eradicated Protestantism
Protestantism
and reimposed Roman Catholicism, and also adopted a policy of gradual Germanization
Germanization
. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the Austrian Empire
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
Czechoslovakia
, which was formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Austro-Hungarian Empire
after World War I.

Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
remained the only democracy in this part of Europe
Europe
in the interwar period. However, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
was occupied by Germany
Germany
in World War II, and was liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union
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 Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
won 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
Prague
Spring , which ended in a Soviet-led invasion .

The first separate Czech republic was created on 1 January 1969, under the name Czech Socialist Republic within federalization of Czechoslovakia, however the federalization was implemented only incompletely. Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution , when the communist regime collapsed and a democracy and federalization was deepened. On 6 March 1990, the Czech Socialist Republic was renamed to the Czech Republic. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
peacefully dissolved , with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic .

The Czech Republic joined NATO
NATO
in 1999 and the European Union
European Union
(EU) in 2004; it is a member of the United Nations, the OECD , the OSCE , and the Council of Europe
Europe
. It is a developed country with an advanced , high income economy and high living standards . The UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development . The Czech Republic also ranks as the 6th most peaceful country , while achieving strong performance in democratic governance . It has the lowest unemployment rate of EU members.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History

* 2.1 Prehistory * 2.2 Bohemia
Bohemia
* 2.3 Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
* 2.4 Velvet Revolution
Velvet Revolution
and the European Union
European Union

* 3 Geography
Geography

* 3.1 Climate * 3.2 Environment

* 4 Government and politics

* 4.1 Law * 4.2 Foreign relations * 4.3 Military * 4.4 Administrative divisions

* 5 Economy

* 5.1 Industry * 5.2 Energy * 5.3 Transportation infrastructure * 5.4 Communications and IT

* 5.5 Science and philosophy

* 5.5.1 Humanities * 5.5.2 Science and technology

* 5.6 Tourism

* 6 Demographics

* 6.1 Urbanisation * 6.2 Religion * 6.3 Education

* 7 Culture

* 7.1 Art * 7.2 Architecture * 7.3 Literature * 7.4 Music * 7.5 Theatre * 7.6 Film * 7.7 Media * 7.8 Video games * 7.9 Cuisine * 7.10 Sports

* 8 See also * 9 References * 10 Further reading * 11 External links

ETYMOLOGY

Main article: Name of the Czech Republic Historical affiliations

* Samo\'s Empire 631–658 * Great Moravia
Moravia
830s–907 * _ Duchy of Bohemia
Duchy of Bohemia
880s–1198 * Kingdom and Crown of Bohemia
Bohemia
1198–1918

* part of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
_ 1002–1806 * _ part of the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
_ 1804–1867 * _ part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Austro-Hungarian Empire
_ 1867–1918

* _ Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
1918–1939 * Protectorate of Bohemia
Bohemia
and Moravia
Moravia
(protectorate of Nazi Germany
Germany
)_ 1939–1945 * Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
1945–1992 * Czech Republic 1993–present

The traditional English name "Bohemia" derives from Latin "Boiohaemum", which means "home of the Boii
Boii
". The current name comes from the endonym _Čech_, spelled "Cžech" until the orthographic reform in 1842. 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
Bohemia
(_Čechy_) in the west, Moravia
Moravia
(_Morava_) in the southeast, and Czech Silesia
Czech Silesia
(_Slezsko_; the smaller, south-eastern part of historical Silesia
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_, 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.

Following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
at the end of 1992, the Czech part of the former nation found itself without a common single-word geographical name in English. The name _Czechia_ /ˈtʃɛkiə/ was recommended by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs (minister Josef Zieleniec ). In a memorandum to all Czech embassies and diplomatic missions in 1993, the full name "Czech Republic" was recommended for use only in official documents and titles of official institutions. The geographical name still has not reached general recognition, but its usage is increasing. Czech president Miloš Zeman uses the name _Czechia_ in his official speeches. Czechia was approved by the Czech government on 2 May 2016 as the Czech Republic's official short name and was published in the United Nations
United Nations
UNTERM and UNGEGN country name databases on 5 July 2016. _Czechia_ appears on some U.S. government web pages alongside _Czech Republic_, and _Czechia_ is included in the ISO 3166 country codes list. In languages such as German (_Tschechien_), Danish (_Tjekkiet_), Norwegian (_Tsjekkia_) and Swedish (_Tjeckien_), the short name has been in common use for many years. In January 2017 _Czechia_ replaced _Czech Republic_ on Google Maps, but other map providers such as Bing Maps
Bing Maps
continue to use _Czech Republic_.

Many groups within the country do not support the name "Czechia", perceiving the term to have been abruptly adopted by bodies like the United Nations
United Nations
without consultation with the general population.

HISTORY

Main article: History of the Czech lands

PREHISTORY

_ Left: 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 by the 270s BC

Archaeologists have found evidence of prehistoric human settlements in the area, dating back to the Paleolithic
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
Boii
and later in the 1st century, Germanic tribes of Marcomanni
Marcomanni
and Quadi
Quadi
settled there. Their king Maroboduus is the first documented ruler of Bohemia. During the Migration Period
Migration Period
around the 5th century, many Germanic tribes moved westwards and southwards out of Central Europe.

Slavic people
Slavic people
from the Black Sea
Black Sea
–Carpathian region settled in the area (a movement that was also stimulated by the onslaught of peoples from Siberia
Siberia
and Eastern Europe: Huns
Huns
, Avars , Bulgars
Bulgars
and Magyars ). In the sixth century they moved westwards into Bohemia, Moravia
Moravia
and some of present-day Austria
Austria
and Germany.

During the 7th century, the Frankish merchant Samo
Samo
, supporting the Slavs
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
Moravia
, controlled by Moymir dynasty , arose in the 8th century and reached its zenith in the 9th when it held off the influence of the Franks. Great Moravia
Moravia
was Christianized, the crucial role played Byzantine mission of Cyril and Methodius
Cyril and Methodius
. They created the artificial language Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
, the first literary and liturgic language of the Slavs
Slavs
, and the Glagolitic alphabet
Glagolitic alphabet
.

BOHEMIA

Main article: Bohemia
Bohemia
Wenceslaus I , King of Bohemia (1230–1253) of the Přemyslid dynasty
Přemyslid dynasty
, Gelnhausen Codex

The Duchy of Bohemia
Duchy of Bohemia
emerged in the late 9th century, when it was unified by the Přemyslid dynasty
Přemyslid dynasty
. In 10th century Boleslaus I, Duke of Bohemia
Bohemia
conquered Moravia, Silesia
Silesia
and expanded farther to the east. 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) extracted the Golden Bull of Sicily (a formal edict) from the emperor, confirming Ottokar and his descendants' royal status; the Duchy of Bohemia
Bohemia
was raised to a Kingdom . The bull declared that the King of Bohemia
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
Europe
. After the 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.

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 in 1278 in a war with his rival, King Rudolph I of Germany
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 the Danube river to the Baltic Sea . In 1306, the last king of Přemyslid line Wenceslaus III was murdered in mysterious circumstances in Olomouc while he was resting. After a series of dynastic wars, the House of Luxembourg gained the Bohemian throne. The Crown of Bohemia
Bohemia
within the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
(1600). The Czech lands were part of the Empire in 1002–1806, and Prague
Prague
was the imperial seat in 1346–1437 and 1583–1611.

The 14th century, in particular, the reign of the Bohemian king Charles IV (1316–1378), who in 1346 became King of the Romans and in 1354 both King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
, is considered the Golden Age of Czech history. Of particular significance was the founding of Charles University in Prague
Prague
in 1348, Charles Bridge , Charles Square . Much of Prague
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 Silesia
Silesia
(until 1742) under the Bohemian crown. The Black Death , which had raged in Europe
Europe
from 1347 to 1352, decimated the Kingdom of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia
in 1380, killing about 10% of the population. Battle between Protestant Hussites and Catholic crusaders during the Hussite Wars ; Jena Codex, 15th century

By the end of the 14th century started the process of the so-called Bohemian (Czech) Reformation
Reformation
. The religious and social reformer Jan Hus formed a reform movement later named after him. Although Hus was named a heretic and burnt in Constance in 1415, his followers (led by warlords 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
Hussite
Reformation
Reformation
movement . During the next two centuries, 90% of the inhabitants became adherents of the Hussite
Hussite
movement. Hussite
Hussite
George of Podebrady was even a king. Hus's thoughts were a major influence on the later emerging Lutheranism . Luther himself said "we are all Hussites, without having been aware of it" and considered himself as Hus' direct successor.

After 1526 Bohemia
Bohemia
came increasingly under Habsburg control as the Habsburgs
Habsburgs
became first the elected and then in 1627 the hereditary rulers of Bohemia. The Austrian Habsburgs
Habsburgs
of the 16th century, the founders of the central European Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
, were buried in Prague. Between 1583–1611 Prague
Prague
was the official seat of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II and his court. The 1618 Defenestration of Prague
Prague
sparked the Thirty Years\' War .

The Defenestration of Prague
Prague
and subsequent revolt against the Habsburgs
Habsburgs
in 1618 marked the start of the Thirty Years\' War , which quickly spread throughout Central Europe. In 1620, the rebellion in Bohemia
Bohemia
was crushed at the Battle of White Mountain , and the ties between Bohemia
Bohemia
and the Habsburgs' hereditary lands in Austria
Austria
were strengthened. The leaders of the Bohemian Revolt
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 Catholicism . The flowering of Baroque culture shows the ambiguity of this historical period. Ottoman Turks and Tatars invaded Moravia
Moravia
in 1663. In 1679–1680 the Czech lands faced a devastating plague and an uprising of serfs.

The reigns of Maria Theresa of Austria
Austria
and her son Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor and co-regent from 1765, were characterized by enlightened absolutism . In 1740, most of Silesia
Silesia
(except the southernmost area) was seized by King Frederick II of Prussia in the Silesian Wars . In 1757 the Prussians invaded Bohemia
Bohemia
and after the Battle of Prague
Prague
(1757) occupied the city. More than one quarter of Prague
Prague
was destroyed and St. Vitus Cathedral also suffered heavy damage. Frederick was defeated soon after at the Battle of Kolín and had to leave Prague
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 uprisings. Serfdom was abolished (in two steps) between 1781 and 1848. Several large battles of the Napoleonic Wars – Battle of Austerlitz , 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
Austrian Empire
army during these wars. Ceremonial laying of the foundation stone of the National Theatre during the Czech National Revival , 1868

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
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 the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
and later of Austria–Hungary . During the 18th and 19th century the 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 suppressed.

In 1866 Austria
Austria
was defeated by Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War (see also Battle of Königgrätz and Peace of Prague
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 compromise with Hungary
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 ").

Prague
Prague
pacifist 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
Bohemia
was Blessed Charles of Austria
Austria
who ruled in 1916–1918.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA

Main article: History of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Rally in Prague
Prague
on Wenceslas Square for the Czechoslovak declaration of independence from the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire
Austro-Hungarian Empire
, 28 October 1918

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
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
Czechoslovakia
, which joined the winning Allied powers, was created, with Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in the lead. This new country incorporated the Bohemian Crown (Bohemia, Moravia
Moravia
and Silesia) and parts of the Kingdom of Hungary ( Slovakia
Slovakia
and the Carpathian Ruthenia ) with significant German , Hungarian , Polish and Ruthenian speaking minorities. Czechoslovakia concluded a treaty of alliance with Romania and Yugoslavia (the so-called Little Entente ) and particularly with France .

The First Czechoslovak Republic inherited 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
Czechoslovakia
held a 10th place in the world industrial production.

Although the 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 Europe
Europe
in 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. The First Czechoslovak Republic inherited 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 speaking Sudetenland (and its substantial Maginot Line -like border fortifications ) through the 1938 Munich Agreement (signed by Nazi Germany
Germany
, France, Britain, and Italy). Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
was not invited to the conference, and Czechs
Czechs
and Slovaks
Slovaks
call the Munich Agreement the Munich Betrayal because France (which had an alliance with Czechoslovakia) and Britain gave up Czechoslovakia
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
Poland
annexed the Zaolzie area around Český Těšín ; Hungary
Hungary
gained parts of Slovakia
Slovakia
and the Subcarpathian Rus as a result of the First Vienna Award in November 1938. The remainders of Slovakia
Slovakia
and the Subcarpathian Rus gained greater autonomy, with the state renamed to "Czecho- Slovakia
Slovakia
". After Nazi Germany
Germany
threatened to annex part of Slovakia, allowing the remaining regions to be partitioned by Hungary
Hungary
and Poland, Slovakia chose to maintain its national and territorial integrity, seceding from Czecho- Slovakia
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
Germany
, which transformed it into the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia
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 Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine on 15 March 1939 but was invaded by Hungary
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 and 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, germanisation or enslavement of most or all Czechs
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
Prague
suburb on 27 May 1942. On 9 June 1942 Hitler ordered bloody reprisals against the Czechs
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
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
Prague
uprising . An estimated 140,000 Soviet soldiers died in liberating Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
from German rule. Following the German occupation of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
and formation of the Protectorate of Bohemia
Bohemia
and Moravia
Moravia
within Nazi Germany
Germany
, exiled Czechs
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 Germany
Germany
and Austria
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 the 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
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
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. The Prague
Prague
Spring political liberalization of the communist regime was stopped by the 1968 Soviet-led invasion .

For the next 41 years , Czechoslovakia
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 country's GDP per capita fell from the level of neighboring Austria below that of Greece or 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 1980s.

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
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 Romania and Albania on 21 August 1968. Student Jan Palach became a symbol of resistance to the occupation, when 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 Czechs
Czechs
and Slovaks
Slovaks
were sent to prison for political reasons, and over 400,000 emigrated.

VELVET REVOLUTION AND THE EUROPEAN UNION

Main articles: Velvet Revolution
Velvet Revolution
and Dissolution of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Václav Havel , first President of the Czech Republic

In November 1989, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
returned to a liberal democracy through the peaceful " Velvet Revolution
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 the independent Czech Republic and Slovakia
Slovakia
. Both countries went through economic reforms and privatisations , with the intention of creating a market economy . This process was largely successful; in 2006 the Czech Republic was recognised by the World Bank as a "developed country", and in 2009 the Human Development Index
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
NATO
on 12 March 1999 and the European Union
European Union
on 1 May 2004. On 21 December 2007 the Czech Republic joined the Schengen Area . The Social Democrats ( Miloš Zeman , Vladimír Špidla , Stanislav Gross , Jiří Paroubek , Bohuslav Sobotka
Bohuslav Sobotka
), or liberal-conservatives ( Václav Klaus , Mirek Topolánek , Petr Nečas ) led government of the Czech Republic yet.

GEOGRAPHY

Main article: Geography of the Czech Republic Topographic map

The 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
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, Sněžka at 1,602 m (5,256 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 Oder River (Czech : _Odra_).

Water from the landlocked Czech Republic flows to three different seas: the North Sea , Baltic Sea and Black Sea
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 Czechoslovakia by 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 Germany
Germany
in 2028.

Phytogeographically , the 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 the 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 (Biosphere Reserve), Podyjí National Park , Bohemian Switzerland .

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
Czech Silesia
(in terms of the Czech territory). 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
Bohemia
Berounka river valley in western Bohemia
Bohemia

CLIMATE

Köppen climate classification types of the Czech Republic Humid continental climate
Humid continental climate
Oceanic climate
Oceanic climate
Subarctic climate

The 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 geographical position.

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 the Louny District to the northwest of Prague
Prague
. Another important factor is the distribution of the mountains; therefore, the climate is quite varied.

At the highest peak of Sněžka (1,602 m or 5,256 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
Prague
, has a similar average temperature, although this is influenced by urban factors.

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. Moravian-Silesian Beskids

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 month).

ENVIRONMENT

See also: Protected areas of the Czech Republic

The 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

Main articles: Government of the Czech Republic and Politics of the Czech Republic

Miloš Zeman President Bohuslav Sobotka
Bohuslav Sobotka
Prime Minister

The Czech Republic is a pluralist multi-party parliamentary representative democracy , with the Prime Minister as the 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_) (81 members). Wallenstein Palace , seat of the Senate Straka Academy , seat of the Government Thun Palace, seat of the Chamber of Deputies

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
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 Bohuslav Sobotka
Bohuslav Sobotka
, serving since 17 January 2014 as 11th Prime Minister .

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 political system of the Czech Republic

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 OFFICE NAME PARTY SINCE

President Miloš Zeman SPO 8 March 2013

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
Bohuslav Sobotka
ČSSD 17 January 2014

Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Jan Hamáček ČSSD 27 November 2013

President of the Senate Milan Štěch ČSSD 24 November 2010

LAW

Main articles: Law of the Czech Republic
Law of the Czech Republic
, Judiciary of the Czech Republic , and Law enforcement in the Czech Republic
Law enforcement in the Czech Republic

_ THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (September 2015)_

Seat of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic
Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic
in Brno
Brno
.

The Czech Republic has a civil law system based on the continental type, rooted in Germanic legal culture. Czech judiciary has triumvirate system of the main courts, the Constitutional Court which oversees violations of the Constitution by either the legislature or by the government consisting of 15 constitutional judges, the Supreme Court is the court of highest appeal for almost all legal cases heard in the Czech Republic formed of 67 judges and 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.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Main article: Foreign relations of the Czech Republic
Foreign relations of the Czech Republic
See also: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Visa-free entry countries for Czech citizens

The Czech Republic has an established structure of foreign relations. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union
European Union
, NATO
NATO
, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
, Council of Europe
Europe
and is an observer to the Organization of American States
Organization of American States
. The embassies of most countries with diplomatic relations with the Czech Republic are located in Prague
Prague
, while consulates are located across the country.

According to the 2017 Henley "> 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 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
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
Israel
and Mali . The 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 modernized tanks T-72 ( T-72M4CZ ).

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

See also: Regions of the Czech Republic and List of districts of the Czech Republic

Since 2000, the Czech Republic has been divided into thirteen regions (Czech : _kraje_, singular _kraj_) and the capital city of Prague
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 state administration. Map of the Czech Republic with traditional regions and current administrative regions Map with districts

Licence plate letter Region name in English Region name in Czech Administrative seat Population (2004 estimate) Population (2011 estimate)

A _ Prague
Prague
a Hlavní město Praha_ n/a 1,170,571 1,268,796

S _ Central Bohemian Region Středočeský kraj_ Prague
Prague
b 1,144,071 1,289,211

C _ South Bohemian Region Jihočeský kraj_ České Budějovice 625,712 628,336

P _ Plzeň Region Plzeňský kraj_ Plzeň 549,618 570,401

K _ Karlovy Vary Region Karlovarský kraj_ Karlovy Vary 304,588 295,595

U _ Ústí nad Labem Region Ústecký kraj_ Ústí nad Labem 822,133 835,814

L _ Liberec Region Liberecký kraj_ Liberec 427,563 432,439

H _ Hradec Králové Region Královéhradecký kraj_ Hradec Králové 547,296 547,916

E _ Pardubice Region Pardubický kraj_ Pardubice 505,285 511,627

M _ Olomouc Region Olomoucký kraj_ Olomouc 635,126 628,427

T _ Moravian-Silesian Region Moravskoslezský kraj_ Ostrava 1,257,554 1,205,834

B _ South Moravian Region Jihomoravský kraj_ Brno
Brno
1,123,201 1,163,508

Z _ Zlín Region Zlínský kraj_ Zlín 590,706 579,944

J _ Vysočina Region Kraj Vysočina_ Jihlava 517,153 505,565

a Capital city. b Office location.

ECONOMY

Main article: Economy of the Czech Republic The Czech Republic is part of the European Single Market and the Schengen Area . Seat of the Czech National Bank
Czech National Bank
in New Town, Prague
Prague
Škoda Auto is one of the largest car manufacturers in Central Europe. A Škoda Superb is pictured.

The Czech Republic possesses a developed, high-income economy with a per capita GDP rate that is 87% of the European Union
European Union
average. The most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states, the Czech Republic saw growth of over 6% annually in the three years before the outbreak of the recent global economic crisis . Growth has been led by exports to the European Union, especially Germany, and foreign investment, while domestic demand is reviving.

Most of the economy has been privatised , including the banks and telecommunications. A 2009 survey in cooperation with the Czech Economic Association found that the majority of Czech economists favour continued liberalization in most sectors of the economy. Dividends worth CZK 300 billion were paid to foreign owners in 2013.

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, Austria
Austria
, Poland
Poland
and Slovakia
Slovakia
) on 21 December 2007. The Czech Republic became a member of the World Trade Organisation on 1 January 1995. In 2012, Nearly 80% of Czech exports went to, and more than 65% of Czech imports came from, other European Union member states.

The Czech Republic would become the 49th largest economy in the world by 2050 with a GDP of US$ $342 billion.

Monetary policy is conducted by the Czech National Bank
Czech National Bank
, whose independence is guaranteed by the Constitution . The official currency is the Czech koruna
Czech koruna
. In November 2013, the Czech National Bank started to intervene to weaken the exchange rate of Czech koruna through a monetary stimulus in order to stop the currency from excessive strengthening and to fight against deflation . In late 2016, the CNB stated that the return to conventional monetary policy was planned for mid-2017. When it joined EU, the Czech Republic obligated itself to adopt the euro , but the date of adoption has not been determined.

The Programme for International Student Assessment , coordinated by the OECD , currently ranks the Czech education system as the 15th best in the world, higher than the OECD average. The Czech Republic is ranked 24th in the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom .

In December 2016, Czech GDP growth was 1.9%, giving the Czech economy the average growth in the European Union. The unemployment rate is 3.5%, giving the Czech Republic the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union
European Union
.

INDUSTRY

In 2015 largest companies of the Czech Republic by revenue were automobile manufacturer Škoda Auto , utility company ČEZ Group , conglomerate Agrofert , energy trading company RWE Supply "> 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 .

The 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. South Moravia
Moravia
has small oil and gas deposits .

TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE

Main article: Transport in the Czech Republic A Škoda 7Ev electric multiple unit . The Czech railway network is largely electrified and is among the densest in Europe
Europe
.

Václav Havel Airport in Prague
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
Europe
. In total, the Czech Republic has 46 airports with paved runways, six of which provide international air services in Brno
Brno
, Karlovy Vary , Mošnov (near Ostrava ), Pardubice , Prague
Prague
and Kunovice (near Uherské Hradiště ).

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 Pendolino 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 motorways.

COMMUNICATIONS AND IT

Main article: Internet in the Czech Republic

The 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 ( T-Mobile , Telefónica O2 , Vodafone ) and internet provider U:fon. Government-owned 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 privatisation of Český Telecom helped drive down prices.

On 1 July 2006, Český Telecom was acquired by globalized company (Spain-owned) 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 2Mbit/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. It was announced in July 2016, that Avast is acquiring rival AVG for US$ 1.3 billion, together these companies have a user base of about 400 million people and 40% of the consumer market outside of China.

SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY

The 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 .

Humanities

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 – hussite – originated in the Middle Ages. It was represented by Jan Hus , Jerome of Prague
Prague
or Petr Chelčický . At the end of the Middle Ages, Jan Amos Comenius substantially contributed to the development of modern pedagogy. Jewish philosophy in the 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 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 German). Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk laid the foundations of Czech sociology. Konstantin Jireček founded Byzantology (see also Jireček Line ). Alois Musil was a prominent orientalist, Emil Holub ethnographer. 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 Vienna
Vienna
too, anthropologist Aleš Hrdlička in the United States. New Czechoslovak republic (1918–1938) wanted to develop sciences. Significant linguistic school was established in Prague
Prague
Prague
Prague
Linguistic Circle ( Vilém Mathesius , Jan Mukařovský , René Wellek ), moreover linguist Bedřich Hrozný deciphered the ancient Hittite language and linguist Julius Pokorny deepened knowledge about Celtic languages. Philosopher Herbert Feigl was a member of the Vienna
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 modern nationalism. Vilém Flusser developed the philosophy of technology and image. Marxist Karel Kosík was a major philosopher in the background of the Prague
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 archaeologist 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 Brothers Josef Čapek (left) and Karel Čapek (right), invented and introduced the word robot

Famous scientists who were born on the territory of the current Czech Republic:

* Gregor Mendel (1822–1884), often called the "_father of genetics _", is famed for his research concerning the inheritance of genetic traits. * Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) logician and mathematician, who became famous by his two incompleteness theorems. * Peter Grünberg (* 1939) Nobel Prize laureate in Physics 2007. * Gerty and Carl Cori – Nobel Prize laureates in Physiology or Medicine 1947. * Jaroslav Heyrovský (1890–1967), inventor of polarography , electroanalytical chemistry and recipient of the Nobel Prize. * Ernst Mach (1838–1916) physicist and critic of Newton's theories of space and time, foreshadowing Einstein's theory of relativity. * Alois Senefelder (1771–1834), inventor of lithographic printing. * 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 . * Karl von Terzaghi (1883–1963), geologist known as the "father of soil mechanics". * Vladimír Remek was the first person outside of the Soviet Union and the United States to go into space (in March 1978). * Johann Josef Loschmidt (1821–1895), chemist, performed ground-breaking work in crystal forms. * Viktor Kaplan (1876–1934), engineer naturalized in Czechoslovakia, the inventor of the Kaplan turbine. * Josef Ressel (1793–1857), inventor of the screw propeller and modern compass . * Eduard Čech (1893–1960), mathematician with significant contributions in topology. * Carl Borivoj Presl (1794–1852) and Jan Svatopluk Presl (1791–1849), brothers, both prominent botanists. * Heinrich Wilhelm Schott (1794–1865), botanist well known for his extensive work on aroids. * Carl von Rokitansky (1804– 1878), Joseph Škoda (1805–1881) and Ferdinand Ritter von Hebra (1816–1880), Czech doctors and founders of the Modern Medical School of Vienna. * 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 honour. * Ignaz von Born (1742 –1791), mineralogist and metallurgist, one of founders of the Royal Bohemian Society of Sciences. * Kaspar Maria von Sternberg (1761–1838), mineralogist, founder of the Bohemian National Museum in Prague
Prague
. * Johannes Widmann (1460–1498), mathematician, inventor of the + and − symbols. * Otto Wichterle (1913–1998) and Drahoslav Lím (1925–2003), Czech chemists responsible for the invention of the modern contact lens and silon (synthetic fiber ). * Julius Vincenz von Krombholz (1782–1843), biologist, founder of the great tradition of Czech mycology. * Friedrich von Berchtold (1781–1876), botanist, an avid worker for Czech national revival. * Hans Tropsch (1889–1935), chemist responsible for the development of the Fischer-Tropsch process. * František Josef Gerstner (1756–1832), physicist and engineer, built the first iron works and the first steam engine in Czech lands. * Christian Mayer (1719–1783), astronomer, pioneer in the study of binary stars. * Jan Janský (1873–1921), serologist and neurologist, discovered the ABO blood groups . * Jan Marek Marci (1595–1667), mathematician, physicist and imperial physician, one of the founders of spectroscopy . * František Křižík (1847–1941), electrical engineer, inventor of the arc lamp . * Ferdinand Stoliczka (1838–1874), palaeontologist who died of high altitude sickness during an expedition across the Himalayas. * Wenceslas Bojer (1795–1856), naturalist and botanist. * Zdenko Hans Skraup (1850–1910), chemist who discovered the Skraup reaction, the first quinoline synthesis. * Václav Prokop Diviš (1698–1765), inventor of the first grounded lightning rod . * Jakub Kryštof Rad (1799–1871), inventor of sugar cubes . * 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. * Jakub Husník (1837–1916), improved the process of photolithography . * Karel Klíč (1841–1926), painter and photographer, inventor of the photogravure . * Josef Čapek (1887–1945) and Karel Čapek (1890–1938), brothers who originated the word robot , for drama R.U.R. * Stanislav Brebera (1925–2012), inventor of the plastic explosive Semtex in 1966. * Antonín Holý (1936–2012), scientist and chemist, in 2009 was involved in creation of the most effective drug in the treatment of AIDS. * Ferdinand Porsche (1875–1951), automotive designer. * Johann Palisa (1848–1925), astronomer who discovered 122 asteroids * Karel Domin (1882–1953), botanist, specialist in Australian taxonomy

A number of other scientists are also connected in some way with the Czech lands. They taught at the University of Prague: astronomers Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe , physicists Christian Doppler , Nikola Tesla , Albert Einstein or geologist Joachim Barrande .

TOURISM

Main article: Tourism in the Czech Republic Prague
Prague
is one of the most visited cities in Europe.

The Czech economy gets a substantial income from tourism. Prague
Prague
is the fifth most visited city in Europe
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
Prague
is a safe city. Also, the 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 is the 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. Medieval castles such as Karlštejn are frequent tourist attractions.

There are several centres of tourist activity. The spa towns , such as Karlovy Vary , 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 Karlštejn Castle , 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 is one of those inscribed on the World Heritage List. Away from the towns, areas such as Český ráj , Šumava and the Krkonoše Mountains 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. The Historic Centre of Prague
Prague
was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992.

The 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 Budějovice ).

DEMOGRAPHICS

Main article: Demographics of the Czech Republic
Demographics of the Czech Republic
Folk music band from southern Bohemia
Bohemia
wearing folk costumes

HISTORICAL POPULATION

YEAR POP. ±%

1857 7,016,531 —

1869 7,617,230 +8.6%

1880 8,222,013 +7.9%

1890 8,665,421 +5.4%

1900 9,372,214 +8.2%

1910 10,078,637 +7.5%

1921 10,009,587 −0.7%

1930 10,674,386 +6.6%

1950 8,896,133 −16.7%

1961 9,571,531 +7.6%

1970 9,807,697 +2.5%

1980 10,291,927 +4.9%

1991 10,302,215 +0.1%

2001 10,230,060 −0.7%

2011 10,436,560 +2.0%

2016 10,572,427 +1.3%

According to preliminary results of the 2011 census, the majority of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic are Czechs
Czechs
(63.7%), followed by Moravians
Moravians
(4.9%), Slovaks
Slovaks
(1.4%), Poles
Poles
(0.4%), 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 437,581 foreigners residing in the country in September 2013, according to the Czech Statistical Office , with the largest groups being Ukrainian (106,714), Slovak (89,273), Vietnamese (61,102), Russian (32,828), Polish (19,378), German (18,099), Bulgarian (8,837), American (6,695), Romanian (6,425), Moldovan (5,860), Chinese (5,427), British (5,413), Mongolian (5,308), Kazakh (4,850), Belarusian (4,562).

The Jewish population of Bohemia
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 the 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
Chicago
was the city with the third largest Czech population, after Prague
Prague
and Vienna
Vienna
. According to the 2010 US census, there are 1,533,826 Americans of full or partial Czech descent .

URBANISATION

Prague
Prague

Brno
Brno

Ostrava RANK CITY REGION POPULATION METROPOLITAN AREA

* view * talk * edit

Plzeň

Liberec

Olomouc

1 Prague
Prague
Prague, the Capital City 1,259,079 2,300,000

2 Brno
Brno
South Moravian 377,440 729,510

3 Ostrava Moravian-Silesian 294,200 1,164,328

4 Plzeň Plzeň 169,033 380,000

5 Liberec Liberec 102,562 270,000

6 Olomouc Olomouc 99,806 480,000

7 Ústí nad Labem Ústí nad Labem 93,409 243,878

8 České Budějovice South Bohemian 93,285 190,000

9 Hradec Králové Hradec Králové 92,808 -

10 Pardubice Pardubice 89,693 -

11 Zlín Zlín 75,112 450 000

12 Havířov Moravian-Silesian 75,049 -

13 Kladno
Kladno
Central Bohemian 68,552 2,300,000

14 Most Ústí nad Labem 67,089 95,316

15 Opava
Opava
Moravian-Silesian 57,772 -

16 Frýdek-Místek Moravian-Silesian 56,945 -

17 Karviná Moravian-Silesian 55,985 -

18 Jihlava Vysočina 50,521 -

19 Teplice
Teplice
Ústí nad Labem 50,079 -

20 Děčín Ústí nad Labem 49,833 -

RELIGION

Main articles: Religion in the Czech Republic and Religion in the European Union
European Union

RELIGION IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC (2011)

Undeclared   44.7%

Irreligion   34.5%

Roman Catholicism   10.5%

Believers, not members of other religions   6.8%

Other Christian churches   1.1%

Protestantism   1%

Believers, members of other religions   0.7%

Other religions / Unknown   0.7%

The Czech Republic has one of the least religious populations in the world. Ever since 1620, the Czech people have been historically characterised as "tolerant and even indifferent towards religion". Christianization in the 9th and 10th centuries introduced Roman Catholicism . After the Bohemian Reformation
Bohemian Reformation
, most Czechs
Czechs
became followers of Jan Hus , Petr Chelčický and other regional Protestant Reformers . Taborites
Taborites
and Utraquists
Utraquists
were major Hussite
Hussite
groups. After the Reformation
Reformation
, some went with the teachings of Martin Luther , especially Sudetenland Germans . After the Habsburgs
Habsburgs
regained control of Bohemia, the whole population was forcibly converted to Roman Catholicism . Going forward, Czechs
Czechs
have become more wary and pessimistic of religion overall. A long history of resistance to the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
followed as it suffered a schism with the Czechoslovak Hussite
Hussite
Church in 1920, lost the bulk of its adherents during the Communist era and continues to lose in the modern, ongoing secularization . Protestantism
Protestantism
never recovered after the Counter- Reformation
Reformation
was introduced by the Austrian Habsburgs
Habsburgs
in 1620. Roman Catholicism is the major religion at 10% of the population; Saint Wenceslas Cathedral in Olomouc pictured.

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
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
Protestantism
similarly declined from 3.7% to 2% and then to 0.8%.

According to a Eurobarometer Poll in 2010, 16% of Czech citizens responded that "they believe there is a God" (the lowest rate among the countries of the European Union), whereas 44% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 37% said that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".

A 2012 poll about religiosity in the European Union
European Union
by Eurobarometer found that Non believer/ Agnostics were the largest group in the Czech Republic accounting for 39% of Czech citizens. Christianity account 34% of Czech citizens, Catholics are the largest Christian group in the Czech Republic, accounting for 29% of Czech citizens, while Protestants make up 2%, and Other Christian make up 3%. Atheist accounts for 20%, Undeclared accounts for 6%.

The most recent Pew Research Center , found that in 2015 72% of the population of Czech Republic declared itself religiously unaffiliated —a category which includes atheists , agnostics and those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular ”, 26% Christians , while 2% belonged to other faiths. The Christians divided between 21% Roman Catholic , 4% other Christians and 1% are Eastern Orthodox. While the religiously unaffiliated divided between 25% as atheists, 1% agnostics and 46% as nothing in particular .

EDUCATION

_ Orbis Pictus _, a revolutionary children's textbook with illustrations published in 1658 by educator John Amos Comenius . Main article: Education in the Czech Republic

Education in the Czech Republic is compulsory for 9 years, but 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
Europe
. Other major universities in the country are Masaryk University , Czech Technical University , Palacký University , Academy of Performing Arts and University of Economics .

CULTURE

Main article: Culture of the Czech Republic

ART

_ Spring_, _Summer_, _Autumn_ and _Winter_ (1896) by Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha Bohemian glass pitcher, circa 1880

Venus of Dolní Věstonice
Venus of Dolní Věstonice
is the treasure of prehistoric art. Theodoric of Prague
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 Škréta , 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": sculptor Josef Václav Myslbek and painters Mikoláš Aleš , Václav Brožík , 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 known for Art Nouveau posters and his cycle of 20 large canvases named the Slav Epic , which depicts the history of Czechs
Czechs
and other Slavs
Slavs
. As of 2012 , the Slav Epic can be seen in the Veletržní Palace of the National Gallery in Prague
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 . Surrealism emerged 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 ).

The Czech Republic is known worldwide for its individually made, mouth blown and decorated Bohemian glass .

ARCHITECTURE

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 Bohemia
Bohemia
and Moravia
Moravia
date 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 with Prague
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 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
Hussite wars
, many of them were damaged or destroyed. Royal Summer Palace in Prague
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 architecture in Bohemia
Bohemia
is the Royal Summer Palace , which was situated in a newly established garden of Prague
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 appeared. 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 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 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
Bohemia
there was completed the development of the Radical Baroque style created in Italy by 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
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
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
Prague
Main Railway Station , Jan Letzel , Josef Hoffmann and Jan Kotěra . The functionalist Villa Tugendhat in Brno
Brno

Bohemia
Bohemia
contributed an unusual style to the world's architectural heritage when Czech architects attempted to transpose the Cubism of painting and sculpture into architecture (House of the Black Madonna ). During the first years of the independent Czechoslovakia
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
Czechoslovakia
became strongly Soviet influenced. Hotel International in Prague
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 liberalization of Czechoslovakia
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 ).

LITERATURE

Main article: Czech literature Franz Kafka

In a strict sense, Czech literature is the literature written in the Czech language
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
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
Opava
(† 1278), Peter of Zittau († 1339), John Hus († 1415), Bohuslav Hasištejnský z Lobkovic (1461–1510), Jan Dubravius (1486–1553), Tadeáš Hájek (1525–1600), Johannes Vodnianus Campanus (1572–1622), John Amos Comenius (1592–1670), and 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
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
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
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 , 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
Prague
Spring ( Josef Škvorecký , Bohumil Hrabal , Milan Kundera , Arnošt Lustig , Václav Havel , Pavel Kohout , Ivan Klíma ); and the literature of the post-Communist Czech Republic ( Ivan Martin Jirous , Michal Viewegh , Jáchym Topol , Patrik Ouředník , Kateřina Tučková ).

Noted journalists include Julius Fučík , Milena Jesenská , and Ferdinand Peroutka .

Jaroslav Seifert was the only Czech writer awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature . The famous antiwar comedy novel _The Good Soldier Švejk _ by Jaroslav Hašek is the most translated Czech book in history. It was adapted by Karel Steklý in two color films _The Good Soldier Schweik _ in 1956 and 1957. Widely translated Czech books are also Milan Kundera's _ 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.

The 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 occasions when Czechs
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
Czechs
used their cultural and literary effort to strive for political freedom, establishing a confident, politically aware nation.

MUSIC

Antonín Dvořák Main articles: 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
Prague
(sv.Vojtěch), bishop of Prague
Prague
, living between 956 and 997. Smetana Hall in Rudolfinum at Prague
Prague
, one of the main venues in the annual Prague
Prague
Spring Festival

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
Silesia
. Since the early eras of artificial music, Czech musicians and composers have often been influenced by genuine folk music (e.g. 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 Richter , František Brixi and 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 Haas , Josef Bohuslav Foerster in modern classical music, Miloslav Kabeláč and 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 and Erich Wolfgang Korngold (film music), Ralph Benatzky , Rudolf Friml and Oskar Nedbal (operetta), Jan Hammer and Karel Gott (pop), Jaroslav Ježek and 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 Smetana’s _ The Bartered Bride _ and _ Má vlast _, Dvořák’s _New World Symphony _, _ Rusalka _ and _ Slavonic Dances _ or Janáček’s _ Jenůfa _.

The most famous music festival in the country is Prague
Prague
Spring International Music Festival of classical music, a permanent showcase for outstanding performing artists, symphony orchestras and chamber music ensembles of the world.

The Czech Republic first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007 . They qualified for the grand final for the first time in 2016 when they finished in 25th place.

THEATRE

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 international context.

The most famous Czech drama is Karel Čapek 's _ R.U.R. _.

FILM

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 comedies of 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 of the 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 above).

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 author is 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 artists worldwide. The Karlovy Vary Film Festival is the largest film festival in the Czech Republic

Kadár & Klos's _ 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 nomination: _ Loves of a Blonde _ (1966), _The Fireman\'s Ball _ (1968), _ My Sweet Little Village _ (1986), _ The Elementary School _ (1991), _Divided We Fall _ (2000) and _ Želary _ (2003).

The Czech Lion is the highest Czech award for film achievement. Herbert Lom , Karel Roden and Libuše Šafránková (known from Christmas classic _ Three Nuts for Cinderella _, especially popular in Norway ) among the best known Czech actors.

The Barrandov Studios in Prague
Prague
are the largest film studios in country and one of the largest in Europe
Europe
with many many popular film locations in the country. Filmmakers have come to Prague
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 Casino Royale.

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 Febiofest , Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival , One World Film Festival , Zlín Film Festival and Fresh Film Festival .

MEDIA

Since the 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 13th most free press in the World Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders in 2014. American 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 and the 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 (average 752,000 daily readers), Právo (average 260,00 daily readers) and Deník (average 72,000 daily readers).

VIDEO GAMES

Main article: Video gaming in the Czech Republic

The 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 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 brands, the 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 world.

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
Czechs
also produce two unique liquors , Fernet Stock and Becherovka . Kofola is a non-alcoholic domestic cola soft drink which competes with Coca- Cola and 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 dumplings * _Koprová_: beef in dill sauce, traditionally served with dumplings * _Pečená kachna_: roast duck with bread or potato dumplings and braised red cabbage * _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_ . Czech Cuisine A mug of Budweiser Budvar pale lager beer 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

SPORTS

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 best 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 , Martin Doktor , Štěpánka Hilgertová or Kateřina Neumannová . Sports legends are also runner Jarmila Kratochvílová or chess-player Wilhelm Steinitz .

Czech hockey school has good reputation. The Czech ice hockey team won the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics and has won twelve gold medals at the World Championships (including 6 as Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
), including three straight from 1999 to 2001 . The most famous hockey players of all time belongs Jaromír Jágr and Dominik Hašek .

The Czechoslovakia
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, the 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 .

The Czech Republic also has great influence in tennis, with such players as 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 .

The Czech Republic men\'s national volleyball team winner silver medal 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
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 , Olympic Ice hockey tournament , UEFA European Football Championship , UEFA Champions League , 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 beginners, thanks to the more than 120-year-old tradition, there is a unique system of waymarking , one of the best in Europe. There is a network of around 40,000 km of marked short- and long-distance trails crossing the whole country and all the Czech mountains.

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
Prague
), O2 Arena (2015 European Athletics Indoor Championships , 2015 IIHF World Championship ; home venue of HC Sparta Prague
Prague
), Generali Arena (home venue of AC Sparta Prague
Prague
), Masaryk Circuit (annual 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 Praha ) and Stadion Evžena Rošického (1978 European Athletics Championships ).

SEE ALSO

* List of Czech Republic-related topics * Outline of the Czech Republic *

REFERENCES

Notes

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Sources

* Angi, János (1997). "A nyugati szláv államok ". In Pósán, László; Papp, Imre; Bárány, Attila; Orosz, István; Angi, János. _Európa a korai középkorban_ . Multiplex Media – Debrecen University Press. pp. 358–365. ISBN 963-04-9196-6 .

FURTHER READING

* Hochman, Jiří (1998). _Historical dictionary of the Czech State_. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810833387

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