Czech Tourist Authority
Czech Centre
95 Great Portland Street,
London W1N 5RA
Tel: +44 (0)171 291 9920 Fax: +44 (0)171 436 8300

Czech Republic

Physical geography

The New Czech Republic first appeared on the map at the beginning of 1993, after the divisions of former Czechoslovakia. It is a landlocked country, situated in Central Europe and covers an area of 78,864km2.


Moderate, with four varied seasons and a combination of oceanic and continental climate. In winter the weather is variable; in summer it is warm. Average temperature in January, the coldest winter month, is -5°C. In July, the warmest summer month, around 20°C. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Economic geography</H3> The Czech economy is based on free market principle with most industry having been privatised via voucher privatisation. The Czech Republic's traditional base is now being complemented by an ever growing service industry. Its transformation from a state-run economy to a free market is viewed as one of the most successful in Central and Eastern Europe. The main industries are the following: consumer, food, textile, paper, chemical metallurgical, transport, glass and ceramic industry, etc. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Demography</H3> The total population is 10.3 million. The structure of the population is 94 per cent Czechs (including Moravians and Silesians) three per cent Slovaks, 1.3 per cent Roms, 0.6 per cent Polish, 0.5 per cent German, 0.6 per cent others. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>A brief history</H3> The first attempt at creating a Czech state was unification of several Slavonic tribes in defence against the Avars. Their ruler, the Frank merchant Samo, founded the empire some time in the 7th century AD. Later the Czech principality became part of the Greater Moravian Empire (803-907). The rights of the Czech state were acknowledged by the Golden Bull of Sicily in 1212. The Czech Kingdom was part of the Holy Roman Empire. The most important Czech sovereigns included Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. In the early 16th century the Czech Estates elected Hapsburg to the Czech throne. The Czech kingdom remained a part of the Hapsburg monarchy until 1918. At the end of the First World War, on 28 October 1918, the Czechoslovak Republic was proclaimed. Twenty years later, the Munich Agreement was signed, on the basis of which Nazi Germany occupied a part of Bohemia and Moravia. Czechoslovakia was restored after the defeat of Nazism in May 1945. In 1948, the Communist Party seized power in Czechoslovakia. With only a brief period of freedom in 1986, known as the 'Prague Spring,' the totalitarian period lasted until the so-called 'Velvet Revolution' until November 1989. On 1 January 1993 Czechoslovakia was divided, and the Czech Republic came into being as a separate democratic state. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Religions</H3> The great majority of the population is Roman Catholic. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Languages spoken by nationals</H3> Czech. Many people also speak German and English. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Time</H3> GMT+1, the same as in Western Europe. Summer time is GMT+2. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Currency</H3> The Czech crown (koruna) became freely convertible in October 1995. One CZK to 100 hellers. US$1 = CZK27 (the rates are subject to variation). <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Official holidays</H3> 1 January, New Year's Day - Easter Monday- 1 May, May Day - 8 May, Liberation Day - 5 July, Day of Cyril and Methodius, Apostles of the Slavs - 6 July, Master John Huss - 28 October, Independence Day - 24 December, Christmas Eve - 25 December, Christmas Day - 26 December, Boxing Day. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What one should not fail to see</H3> Prague: Prague Castle with St Vitus Cathedral, Belvedere, Loretto, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square and the Old Town Hall with Oroj, the astronomical clock, Jewish Quarter, National Theatres, St Agnes's Convent, Little Quarter, Wenceslas Square. <P>Kutna Hora: Cathedral of St Barbara, Stone House, Ursuline Convent. <P>Cesky Krumlov: Krumlov Castle, Church of St Vitus, the Hall of Masks, Egon Schiele Centre. <P>Karlovy Vary: Spring Colonnade, mineral bath and hot sprigs, International Film Festival. <P>Marianske Lazne: The Colonnade, F Chopin Festival, golf, Tepla Monastery. <P>Brno: Spilber Castle, St Peter and Paul Cathedral, The Battle of Austerlitz Monument, vineyards. <P>Lednice: The Castle, Europe's Garden, natural park. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring</H3> All year. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>How to dress</H3> In summer, the weather is warm - wear light clothing. <P>In winter it can be very cold - bringing an overcoat and boots are advisable <P>In spring and autumn the weather is variable - a sweater and/or light anorak. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday resorts</H3> Prague, Southern Bohemia, Western Bohemia, Southern Moravia, mountain regions such as Krkonose, Sumava, Beskydy. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to eat and drink</H3> Czech cookery uses a lot of fried or roasted meat, usually pork or beef, on special occasions game and fish is served with dumplings, potatoes or rice, in a sauce. All is simply prepared without strong spices. The most common dishes are pork served with dumplings and sauerkraut and pot-roasted beef in a creamy vegetable sauce and cranberries. Sweet dishes, such as fruit dumplings, strudel and pancakes are also very popular. No one should miss the chance to taste Czech beer. The well known ones are Pilsner Urquell, Prague Staropramen and Budweiser Budvar. Moravian wine and Czech spirits like Becherovka, Borovicka and Slivovice are also in demand. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to buy</H3> Bohemian glass, crystal and china, leather goods, ceramics, wooden toys, traditional Czech puppets, books, CDs, local handicraft. <!-- End of article --> <P> <CENTER><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="4"></CENTER> <P> <CENTER><A HREF=#TOP><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteTopbut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A> <A HREF="../../../watanetwork/NTOs/Countrieslist/"><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteNTObut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A></CENTER> </TD> </TR> </TABLE> </BODY> </HTML>