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Czech Republic Hotels Comparison & Online Booking

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What's important: you can compare and book not only Czech Republic hotels and resorts, but also villas and holiday cottages, inns and B&Bs (bed and breakfast), condo hotels and apartments, timeshare properties, guest houses and pensions, campsites (campgrounds), motels and hostels in Czech Republic. If you're going to Czech Republic save your money and time, don't pay for the services of the greedy travel agencies. Instead, book the best hotel in Czech Republic online, buy the cheapest airline tickets to Czech Republic, and rent a car in Czech Republic right now, paying the lowest price! Besides, here you can buy the Czech Republic related books, guidebooks, souvenirs and other goods.

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How to Book a Hotel in Czech Republic

In order to book an accommodation in Czech Republic enter the proper dates and do the hotel search. If needed, sort the found Czech Republic hotels by price, star rating, property type, guest rating, hotel features, hotel theme or hotel chain. Then take a look at the found hotels on Czech Republic map to estimate the distance from the main Czech Republic attractions and sights. You can also read the guest reviews of Czech Republic hotels and see their ratings.

When a hotel search in Czech Republic is done, please select the room type, the included meals and the suitable booking conditions (for example, "Deluxe double room, Breakfast included, Non-Refundable"). Press the "View Deal" ("Book Now") button. Make your booking on a hotel booking website and get the hotel reservation voucher by email. That's it, a perfect hotel in Czech Republic is waiting for you!

Hotels of Czech Republic

A hotel in Czech Republic is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Czech Republic hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Czech Republic are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Czech Republic hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Czech Republic hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Czech Republic have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Czech Republic
An upscale full service hotel facility in Czech Republic that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Czech Republic hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Czech Republic
Full service Czech Republic hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Czech Republic
Boutique hotels of Czech Republic are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Czech Republic boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Czech Republic may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Czech Republic
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Czech Republic travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Czech Republic focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Czech Republic
Small to medium-sized Czech Republic hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Czech Republic traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Czech Republic hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Czech Republic
A bed and breakfast in Czech Republic is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Czech Republic bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Czech Republic B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Czech Republic
Czech Republic hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Czech Republic hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Czech Republic
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Czech Republic hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Czech Republic lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Czech Republic
Czech Republic timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Czech Republic often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Czech Republic on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Czech Republic
A Czech Republic motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Czech Republic for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Czech Republic motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Czech Republic

Czech Republic
Česká republika (Czech)
Flag of the Czech Republic
Greater coat of arms of the Czech Republic
Flag Greater coat of arms
Motto: "Pravda vítězí" (Czech)
"Truth prevails"
  • Kde domov můj (Czech)
  • Where is my home
Location of the  Czech Republic  (dark green)– in Europe  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  –  [Legend]
Location of the Czech Republic (dark green)

– in Europe (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union (green) – [Legend]

and largest city
 / 50.083; 14.467
Official language Czech
Officially recognised languages
Ethnic groups (2014)
  • 64% Czechs
  • 26% unspecified
  • 5% Moravians
  • 1.4% Slovaks
  • 0.4% Poles
  • 3.2% other
  • 86.7% non-religious or undeclared
  • 10.4% Roman Catholic
  • 2.2% other Christians
  • 0.7% other religions
Demonym Czech
Government Unitary parliamentary
constitutional republic
• President
Miloš Zeman
• Prime Minister
Bohuslav Sobotka
Legislature Parliament
• Upper house
• Lower house
Chamber of Deputies
• Duchy of Bohemia
c. 870
• Kingdom of Bohemia
• part of the Czechoslovak Republic (Czech lands, Czech regions)
28 October 1918
Czech Socialist Republic
1 January 1969
Czech Republic
6 March 1990
• Czech Republic became independent
1 January 1993
Joined the European Union
1 May 2004
• Total
78,866 km (30,450 sq mi) (116th)
• Water (%)
• 2015 estimate
10,553,948 (84th)
• 2011 census
• Density
134/km (347.1/sq mi) (87th)
GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate
• Total
$368.659 billion (50th)
• Per capita
$34,849 (39th)
GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate
• Total
$196.068 billion (49th)
• Per capita
$18,534 (41st)
Gini (2015) 25.0
low · 5th
HDI (2015) Increase 0.878
very high · 28th
Currency Czech koruna (CZK)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST)
Drives on the right
Calling code +420
Patron saint St. Wenceslaus
ISO 3166 code CZ
Internet TLD .cz
  1. The question is rhetorical, implying "those places where my homeland lies".
  2. Code 42 was shared with Slovakia until 1997.
  3. Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.

The Czech Republic (Listen/ˈɛk rˈpʌblɪk/ CHEK-rə-PUB-lik; Czech: Česká republika, Czech pronunciation: [ˈt͡ʃɛskaː ˈrɛpuˌblɪka]), also known as Czechia (Listen/ˈɛkiə/, CHEK-ee-ə; Czech: Česko, pronounced [ˈt͡ʃɛsko]), is a nation state in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres (30,450 sq mi) with a mostly temperate continental climate and oceanic climate. It is a unitary parliamentary republic, has 10.5 million inhabitants and the capital and largest city is Prague, with over 1.2 million residents. The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia.

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

Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Protestant Bohemian Revolt (1618–20) against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, eradicated Protestantism and reimposed Roman Catholicism, and also adopted a policy of gradual Germanization. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the Austrian Empire and the Czech language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic nationalism. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, which was formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I.

The Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, and was liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States. The Czech country lost the majority of its German-speaking inhabitants after they were expelled following the war. The Communist Party of 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 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 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 peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union (EU) in 2004; it is a member of the United Nations, the OECD, the OSCE, and the Council of 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.

Czech Republic: Etymology

Historical affiliations
  • Samo's Empire 631–658
  • Great Moravia 830s–907
  • Duchy of Bohemia 880s–1198
  • Kingdom and Crown of Bohemia 1198–1918
  • Holy Roman Empire part of the Holy Roman Empire 1002–1806
  • part of the Austrian Empire 1804–1867
  • part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1867–1918
  • Czechoslovakia 1918–1939
  • Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (protectorate of Nazi Germany) 1939–1945
  • Czechoslovakia 1945–1992
  • Czech Republic 1993–present

The traditional English name "Bohemia" derives from Latin "Boiohaemum", which means "home of the 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 (Čechy) in the west, Moravia (Morava) in the southeast, and Czech Silesia (Slezsko; the smaller, south-eastern part of historical Silesia, most of which is located within modern Poland) in the northeast. Known as the lands of the Bohemian Crown since the 14th century, a number of other names for the country have been used, including Czech/Bohemian lands, Bohemian Crown, 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 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 /ˈɛkiə/ 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 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 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 without consultation with the general population.

Czech Republic: History

Czech Republic: Prehistory

Stone sculpture
Left: 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 era. The figurine Venus of Dolní Věstonice, together with a few others from nearby locations, found here is the oldest known ceramic article in the world.

In the classical era, from the 3rd century BC Celtic migrations, the Boii and later in the 1st century, Germanic tribes of Marcomanni and Quadi settled there. Their king Maroboduus is the first documented ruler of Bohemia. During the Migration Period around the 5th century, many Germanic tribes moved westwards and southwards out of Central Europe.

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

During the 7th century, the Frankish merchant Samo, supporting the Slavs fighting against nearby settled Avars, became the ruler of the first known Slav state in Central Europe, the Samo's Empire. The principality Great Moravia, controlled by Moymir dynasty, arose in the 8th century and reached its zenith in the 9th when it held off the influence of the Franks. Great Moravia was Christianized, the crucial role played Byzantine mission of Cyril and Methodius. They created the artificial language Old Church Slavonic, the first literary and liturgic language of the Slavs, and the Glagolitic alphabet.

Czech Republic: Bohemia

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

The Duchy of Bohemia emerged in the late 9th century, when it was unified by the Přemyslid dynasty. In 10th century Boleslaus I, Duke of Bohemia conquered Moravia, Silesia and expanded farther to the east. The 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 was raised to a Kingdom. The bull declared that the King of Bohemia would be exempt from all future obligations to the Holy Roman Empire except for participation in imperial councils. German immigrants settled in the Bohemian periphery in the 13th century. Germans populated towns and mining districts and, in some cases, formed German colonies in the interior of Bohemia. In 1235, the Mongols launched an invasion of Europe. After the Battle of Legnica 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. 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 within the Holy Roman Empire (1600). The Czech lands were part of the Empire in 1002–1806, and Prague was the imperial seat in 1346–1437 and 1583–1611.

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, is considered the Golden Age of Czech history. Of particular significance was the founding of Charles University in Prague in 1348, Charles Bridge, Charles Square. Much of Prague Castle and the cathedral of Saint Vitus in Gothic style were completed during his reign. He unified Brandenburg (until 1415), Lusatia (until 1635), and Silesia (until 1742) under the Bohemian crown. The Black Death, which had raged in Europe from 1347 to 1352, decimated the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1380, killing about 10% of the population.

Painting of battle between mounted knights
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. 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 Sigismund. Petr Chelčický continued with the Hussite Reformation movement. During the next two centuries, 90% of the inhabitants became adherents of the Hussite movement. 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 came increasingly under Habsburg control as the Habsburgs became first the elected and then in 1627 the hereditary rulers of Bohemia. The Austrian Habsburgs of the 16th century, the founders of the central European Habsburg Monarchy, were buried in Prague. Between 1583–1611 Prague was the official seat of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II and his court.

The 1618 Defenestration of Prague sparked the Thirty Years' War.

The Defenestration of Prague and subsequent revolt against the Habsburgs in 1618 marked the start of the Thirty Years' War, which quickly spread throughout Central Europe. In 1620, the rebellion in Bohemia was crushed at the Battle of White Mountain, and the ties between Bohemia and the Habsburgs' hereditary lands in Austria were strengthened. The leaders of the Bohemian Revolt were executed in 1621. The nobility and the middle class Protestants had to either convert to Catholicism or leave the country.

The following period, from 1620 to the late 18th century, has often been called colloquially the "Dark Age". The population of the Czech lands declined by a third through the expulsion of Czech Protestants as well as due to the war, disease and famine. The Habsburgs prohibited all Christian confessions other than Catholicism. The flowering of Baroque culture shows the ambiguity of this historical period. Ottoman Turks and Tatars invaded 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 and her son Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor and co-regent from 1765, were characterized by enlightened absolutism. In 1740, most of Silesia (except the southernmost area) was seized by King Frederick II of Prussia in the Silesian Wars. In 1757 the Prussians invaded Bohemia and after the Battle of Prague (1757) occupied the city. More than one quarter of 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 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 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 in 1806 led to degradation of the political status of the Kingdom of Bohemia. Bohemia lost its position of an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire as well as its own political representation in the Imperial Diet. Bohemian lands became part of the 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 was defeated by Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War (see also Battle of Königgrätz and Peace of Prague). The Austrian Empire needed to redefine itself to maintain unity in the face of nationalism. At first it seemed that some concessions would be made also to Bohemia, but in the end the Emperor Franz Joseph I effected a compromise with 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 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 was Blessed Charles of Austria who ruled in 1916–1918.

Czech Republic: Czechoslovakia

Rally in Prague on Wenceslas Square for the Czechoslovak declaration of independence from the Habsburg 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, more than 90,000 Czech volunteers formed the Czechoslovak Legions in France, Italy and Russia, where they fought against the Central Powers and later against Bolshevik troops. In 1918, during the collapse of the Habsburg Empire at the end of World War I, the independent republic of Czechoslovakia, which joined the winning Allied powers, was created, with Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in the lead. This new country incorporated the Bohemian Crown (Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia) and parts of the Kingdom of Hungary (Slovakia and the Carpathian Ruthenia) with significant German, Hungarian, Polish and Ruthenian speaking minorities. Czechoslovakia concluded a treaty of alliance with 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 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 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, France, Britain, and Italy). Czechoslovakia was not invited to the conference, and Czechs and Slovaks call the Munich Agreement the Munich Betrayal because France (which had an alliance with Czechoslovakia) and Britain gave up Czechoslovakia instead of facing Hitler, which later proved inevitable.

Despite the mobilization of 1.2 million-strong Czechoslovak army and the Franco-Czech military alliance, Poland annexed the Zaolzie area around Český Těšín; Hungary gained parts of Slovakia and the Subcarpathian Rus as a result of the First Vienna Award in November 1938. The remainders of Slovakia and the Subcarpathian Rus gained greater autonomy, with the state renamed to "Czecho-Slovakia". After Nazi Germany threatened to annex part of Slovakia, allowing the remaining regions to be partitioned by Hungary and Poland, Slovakia chose to maintain its national and territorial integrity, seceding from Czecho-Slovakia in March 1939, and allying itself, as demanded by Germany, with Hitler's coalition.

Left: Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, first president of Czechoslovakia
Right: Edvard Beneš, president before and after World War II.

The remaining Czech territory was occupied by Germany, which transformed it into the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The protectorate was proclaimed part of the Third Reich, and the president and prime minister were subordinated to the Nazi Germany's Reichsprotektor. Subcarpathian Rus declared independence as the Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine on 15 March 1939 but was invaded by Hungary the same day and formally annexed the next day. Approximately 345,000 Czechoslovak citizens, including 277,000 Jews, were killed or executed while hundreds of thousands of others were sent to prisons 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 for the purpose of providing more living space for the German people.

There was Czech resistance to Nazi occupation, both at home and abroad, most notably with the assassination of Nazi German leader Reinhard Heydrich by Czechoslovakian soldiers Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš in a Prague suburb on 27 May 1942. On 9 June 1942 Hitler ordered bloody reprisals against the Czechs as a response to the Czech anti-Nazi resistance. The Edvard Beneš's Czechoslovak government-in-exile and its army fought against the Germans and were acknowledged by the Allies; Czech/Czechoslovak troops fought from the very beginning of the war in Poland, France, the UK, North Africa, the Middle East and the Soviet Union (see I Czechoslovakian Corps). The German occupation ended on 9 May 1945, with the arrival of the Soviet and American armies and the Prague uprising. An estimated 140,000 Soviet soldiers died in liberating Czechoslovakia from German rule.

Following the German occupation of Czechoslovakia and formation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia within Nazi Germany, exiled Czechs fought alongside Allies of World War II, such as No. 310 Squadron RAF.

In 1945–1946, almost the entire German-speaking minority in Czechoslovakia, about 3 million people, were expelled to Germany and 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 uneasily tried to play the role of a "bridge" between the West and East. However, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia rapidly increased in popularity, with a general disillusionment with the West, because of the pre-war Munich Agreement, and a favourable popular attitude towards the Soviet Union, because of the Soviets' role in liberating Czechoslovakia from German rule. In the 1946 elections, the Communists gained 38% of the votes and became the largest party in the Czechoslovak parliament. They formed a coalition government with other parties of the National Front and moved quickly to consolidate power. A significant change came in 1948 with coup d'état by the Communist Party. The Communist People's Militias secured control of key locations in Prague, and a single party government was formed.

The Prague Spring political liberalization of the communist regime was stopped by the 1968 Soviet-led invasion.

For the next 41 years, Czechoslovakia was a Communist state within the Eastern Bloc. This period is characterized by lagging behind the West in almost every aspect of social and economic development. The 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 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 and Slovaks were sent to prison for political reasons, and over 400,000 emigrated.

Czech Republic: Velvet Revolution and the European Union

Václav Havel, first President of the Czech Republic

In November 1989, Czechoslovakia returned to a liberal democracy through the peaceful "Velvet Revolution" (led by Václav Havel and his Civic Forum). However, Slovak national aspirations strengthened (see Hyphen War) and on 1 January 1993, the country peacefully split into the independent Czech Republic and Slovakia. Both countries went through economic reforms and privatisations, with the intention of creating a market economy. This process was largely successful; in 2006 the Czech Republic was recognised by the World Bank as a "developed country", and in 2009 the Human Development Index ranked it as a nation of "Very High Human Development".

From 1991, the Czech Republic, originally as part of Czechoslovakia and since 1993 in its own right, has been a member of the Visegrád Group and from 1995, the OECD. The Czech Republic joined NATO on 12 March 1999 and the European Union on 1 May 2004. On 21 December 2007 the Czech Republic joined the Schengen Area. The Social Democrats (Miloš Zeman, Vladimír Špidla, Stanislav Gross, Jiří Paroubek, Bohuslav Sobotka), or liberal-conservatives (Václav Klaus, Mirek Topolánek, Petr Nečas) led government of the Czech Republic yet.

Czech Republic: Geography

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, 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. 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 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 (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
Berounka river valley in western Bohemia

Czech Republic: Climate

Köppen climate classification types of the Czech Republic
Humid continental 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. 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, 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).

Czech Republic: Environment

The Czech Republic ranks as 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
Map of Protected areas of the Czech Republic: National Parks (grey) and Protected Landscape Areas (green).
Large owl with prey
European eagle-owl, a protected predator
Cute lizard
Fire salamander, a common amphibian in humid forests
Red squirrel
Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), a protected animal
Funghi on forest floor
Summer cep occurs in deciduous oak forests.

Czech Republic: Government and politics

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, 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, 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 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

Czech Republic: Law

Seat of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic in 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.

Czech Republic: Foreign relations

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, NATO, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Council of Europe and is an observer to the Organization of American States. The embassies of most countries with diplomatic relations with the Czech Republic are located in Prague, while consulates are located across the country.

According to the 2017 Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, Czech citizens have visa-free access to 168 countries, which ranks them 9th and World Tourism Organization ranks Czech passport 24th, which makes them one of the least restricted by visas to travel abroad. The US Visa Waiver Program applies to Czech nationals.

The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs have primary roles in setting foreign policy. Membership in the European Union is central to the Czech Republic's foreign policy. The Office for Foreign Relations and Information (ÚZSI) serves as the foreign intelligence agency responsible for espionage and foreign policy briefings, as well as protection of Czech Republic's embassies abroad.

The Czech Republic has strong ties with Slovakia, Poland and Hungary as a member of the Visegrad Group, as well as with Germany, Israel, the United States and the European Union and its members.

Czech officials have supported dissenters in Belarus, Moldova, Myanmar and Cuba.

Czech Republic: Military

Czech Army soldiers during an exercise

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 since 12 March 1999. Defense spending is approximately 1.04% of the GDP (2015). The armed forces are charged with protecting the Czech Republic and its allies, promoting global security interests, and contributing to NATO.

Currently, as a member of NATO, the Czech military are participating in KFOR and ISAF (renamed to Resolute Support) operations and have soldiers in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia, Israel and Mali. The Czech Air Force 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).

Czech Republic: Administrative divisions

Since 2000, the Czech Republic has been divided into thirteen regions (Czech: kraje, singular kraj) and the capital city of Prague. Every region has its own elected regional assembly (krajské zastupitelstvo) and hejtman (a regional governor). In Prague, the assembly and presidential powers are executed by the city council and the mayor.

The older seventy-six districts (okresy, singular okres) including three "statutory cities" (without Prague, which had special status) lost most of their importance in 1999 in an administrative reform; they remain as territorial divisions and seats of various branches of state administration.

Map of the Czech Republic with traditional regions and current administrative regions
Map with districts
plate letter
Region name
in English
Region name
in Czech
(2004 estimate)
(2011 estimate)
A Insigne Pragae.svg Prague Hlavní město Praha n/a 1,170,571 1,268,796
S Central Bohemian Region CoA CZ.svg Central Bohemian Region Středočeský kraj Prague 1,144,071 1,289,211
C South Bohemian Region CoA CZ.svg South Bohemian Region Jihočeský kraj České Budějovice 625,712 628,336
P Plzen Region CoA CZ.svg Plzeň Region Plzeňský kraj Plzeň 549,618 570,401
K Karlovy Vary Region CoA CZ.svg Karlovy Vary Region Karlovarský kraj Karlovy Vary 304,588 295,595
U Usti nad Labem Region CoA CZ.svg Ústí nad Labem Region Ústecký kraj Ústí nad Labem 822,133 835,814
L Liberec Region CoA CZ.svg Liberec Region Liberecký kraj Liberec 427,563 432,439
H Hradec Kralove Region CoA CZ.svg Hradec Králové Region Královéhradecký kraj Hradec Králové 547,296 547,916
E Pardubice Region CoA CZ.svg Pardubice Region Pardubický kraj Pardubice 505,285 511,627
M Olomouc Region CoA CZ.svg Olomouc Region Olomoucký kraj Olomouc 635,126 628,427
T Moravian-Silesian Region CoA CZ.svg Moravian-Silesian Region Moravskoslezský kraj Ostrava 1,257,554 1,205,834
B South Moravian Region CoA CZ.svg South Moravian Region Jihomoravský kraj Brno 1,123,201 1,163,508
Z Zlin Region CoA CZ.svg Zlín Region Zlínský kraj Zlín 590,706 579,944
J Vysocina Region CoA CZ.svg Vysočina Region Kraj Vysočina Jihlava 517,153 505,565

Capital city.
Office location.

Czech Republic: Economy

The Czech Republic is part of the EU single market and the Schengen Area.
Seat of the Czech National Bank in New Town, Prague

The Czech Republic possesses a developed, high-income economy with a per capita GDP rate that is 87% of the 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, Poland and 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, whose independence is guaranteed by the Constitution. The official currency is the 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.

Czech Republic: 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 & Trading CZ and electronics manufacturer Foxconn CZ. Other Czech transportation companies include: Škoda Transportation (tramways, trolleybuses, metro), Tatra (the third oldest car maker in the world), Karosa (buses), Aero Vodochody (airplanes) and Jawa Moto (motorcycles). Škoda Auto is one of the largest car manufacturers in Central Europe. In 2014, it sold a record number of 1,037,000 cars and said it aimed to double sales by 2018.

Czech Republic: Energy

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 has small oil and gas deposits.

Czech Republic: Transportation infrastructure

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

Václav Havel Airport in Prague is the main international airport in the country. In 2010, it handled 11.6 million passengers, which makes it the second busiest airport in Central Europe. In total, the Czech Republic has 46 airports with paved runways, six of which provide international air services in Brno, Karlovy Vary, Mošnov (near Ostrava), Pardubice, Prague and Kunovice (near Uherské 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.

Czech Republic: Communications and IT

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.

Czech Republic: 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.

Czech Republic: Humanities

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 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 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 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 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 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.

Czech Republic: Science and technology

Nobel Prize laureate Jaroslav Heyrovský in the lab
Brothers Josef Čapek (left) and Karel Čapek (right), invented and introduced 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 the 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 Bohemian National Museum in 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 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.

Czech Republic: Tourism

Prague is one of the most visited cities in Europe.

The Czech economy gets a substantial income from tourism. Prague is the fifth most visited city in Europe after London, Paris, Istanbul and Rome. In 2001, the total earnings from tourism reached 118 billion CZK, making up 5.5% of GNP and 9% of overall export earnings. The industry employs more than 110,000 people – over 1% of the population. The country's reputation has suffered with guidebooks and tourists reporting overcharging by taxi drivers and pickpocketing problems mainly in Prague, though the situation has improved recently. Since 2005, Prague's mayor, Pavel Bém, has worked to improve this reputation by cracking down on petty crime and, aside from these problems, Prague is a safe city. 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 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).

Czech Republic: Demographics

Folk music band from southern 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 (63.7%), followed by Moravians (4.9%), Slovaks (1.4%), 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 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 was the city with the third largest Czech population, after Prague and Vienna. According to the 2010 US census, there are 1,533,826 Americans of full or partial Czech descent.

Czech Republic: Urbanisation


Rank City Region Population Metropolitan area
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American Virgin Islands
Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina
British Virgin Islands
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Caribbean Netherlands
Cayman Islands
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Dominican Republic
East Timor
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
French Guiana
French Polynesia
Hong Kong
Isle of Man
Ivory Coast
New Zealand
North Korea
Northern Mariana Islands
Papua New Guinea
Puerto Rico
Saint Barthélemy
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Martin
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
San Marino
Saudi Arabia
Sierra Leone
Sint Maarten
Solomon Islands
South Africa
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States

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