Czech Republic, Prague

The Czech Republic is the state in which we live, and in which most of us were also born. Our country is situated in Central Europe. It is said that it lies in the heart of Europe. With area of 78,864 km2 it is located in the temperate climatic zone. Our republic has four neighbours. It borders Slovakia, Poland, Germany and Austria. The shortest border is with Slovakia and the longest with Germany. The Czech Republic is an inland country with approximately 10 million inhabitants.

The country consists of three historical areas – Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. Besides Czechs, Moravians and Silesians, different national minorities live there as well. There are Slovaks, Poles, Germans, Hungarians and Roma.

The surface of our country is rather hilly. Mountain ranges form our country’s natural border. The Western border is formed by the Krušné Mountains. The Šumava range, where we find a lot of marshes, extends to the south. There are two glacial lakes Černé and Čertovo. The Šumava range is known for its original virgin forest – there are many old trees and bushes. The highest mountains in the Czech Republic are the Giant Mountains, where the highest peak in the Czech Republic, Sněžka, is located. Other mountain ranges visited by tourists are Beskydy, Hrubý Jeseník and Little Carpathians.

The Czech Republic does not have any seacoast, but it has many rivers (Elbe, Morava, Oder, Dyje, Danube, and Vltava). Several dams have been built on Vltava, such as Lipno, Orlík and Slapy. These dams are used for production of electricity and they are favourite destination for people, who come here to spend their holiday.

South Bohemia is known for its large and numerous ponds, where freshwater fish are farmed. The largest pond called Rožmberk.

Our country has a large number of spas. Spa services have a long tradition. They are visited by healthy as well as sick people from our country and from abroad. Healthy people want to relax and ill people want to recover there. For example people who suffer from asthma go to the spas. The most famous are Karlovy Vary, Františkovy Lázně, Luhačovice and Velké Losiny.

The largest city is Prague (1.2 million inhabitants), other large cities are Brno – the capital of Moravia (400 000 inhabitants), Ostrava, Plzeň, Liberec, Olomouc.

The Czech Republic is rich in minerals. Black and brown coal, lignite and sand for glass making are mined there. The prominent industrial cities are Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Kladno, Plzeň, Sokolov, Most, etc. The fuel and energy industries are very well developed in our country. To produce energy thermal power stations (Mělník), nuclear power plants (Dukovany, Temelín) and hydroelectric power plants (Lipno, Orlík) are utilised. Other industries include metallurgy, the machine tool industries, the chemical industry and the food industry. Czech beer brewing and wine making have a long tradition and popularity at home and abroad.

The lowlands are important for agriculture and farming. In the lowlands the following heat-loving crops are grown – sugar beet, sunflowers, sweet corn, fruit and vegetables. In the highland mainly potatoes rye and oats are grown. Poultry, sheep, cattle and pigs are also raised in our country.

The official language of the Czech Republic is Czech, a language of the West Slavic subgroup of Slavic languages.

The principal religion of the Czech Republic is Christianity. Approximately 39% of the population is Roman Catholic. Other religions are Orthodox and Protestant.

The most frequently used means of transport are rail and road, After these air transport and river transport are used.

The Czech Republic, at it is now, came into existence in January 1993 after split the former Czechoslovakia into two countries the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

In 1999 The Czech Republic joined NATO and from May 2004, it has been a member of the European Union. The head of state of the Czech Republic is the President. The Czech crown is the currency of the Czech Republic.

 

PRAGUE is the capital and the largest city of the Czech Republic with a population of over a million. It is situated on the river Vltava in central Bohemia. Nicknames for Prague are “city of hundred towers” or ”the golden city”. It is the seat of the President, parliament and government and the political, cultural and economic centre of the country.

According to legend, Prague was founded in 7th century by Princess Libuše and her husband Přemysl. In the 14th century, during Regin of Charles IV:, Prague became an imperial residence. Charles IV. established an archbishops, he founded Charles university in 1348, the New town, Charles bridge and St.Vitus cathedral.

Prague has a large number of monuments and it is included in the UNESCO.. The most famous are Hradčany with Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge, National Theatre, Pawder Tower,…

PRAGUE CASTLE

Prague Castle is a part of Hradčany. It is the most popular and visited sight in Prague. It is one of the biggest castles in the world. It was founded in 9th century by Prince Bořivoj and become a residence of the Czech kings. Nowadays it is the seat of Czech presidents. Prague castle offers a beautiful view of Little Quarter, the National Theatre, the Church of Saint Nicholas and other interesting parts of Prague.

ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL

St. Vitus Cathedral is most beautiful building at the Prague Castle. The cathedral was founded in 1344 by Charles IV., but it was completed in 1929. It is built in French Gothic style and it is the result of the work two famous architects, Mathias of Arras and Petr Parléř. The most admired part of the church is St. Wenceslas Chapel, where the coronation jewels are deposited. There is also the Royal Crypt which contains Sarcophaguses of Czech kings and queens.

CHARLES BRIDGE

Charles Bridge is Gothic bridge over the river Vltava and is named after king Charles IV. It is 520m long and is decorated with 30 baroque statues (for.ex. the statue of St. John of Nepomuk, people said, that if you touch the statue of him, it brings good luck to you). Charles Bridge is very popular and we can meet here a lot of people from all over the world. There are a lot of homeless people and they beg here money. It is very good place for them because there are a lot of tourists. There are a lot of painters, stalls and musicians. We can buy here some souvenirs and pictures of Prague. From bridge we can have a beautiful view of Hradčany and Prague Castle

NATIONAL THEATRE

It is the most known theatre in the Czech Republic. It is the neo-renaissance building. The theatre was built by Josef Zítek. The primary stone was placed in 1868 and it was opened in 1881. But in this year 1881 the fire destroyed much of this building. The people collected money for the reconstruction of theatre. The new National Theatre was opened by premier Smetana’s opera Libuše in 1883. There are five currtain for ex. iron curtain and there is a curtain which look like a picture (by Vojtěch Hynajs). Today we can go there for performance such as operas or dramas.

POWDER TOWER

Powder Tower is 65 m high and there are 186 stairs inside. It was built in 15th century by Matěj Rejsek.

The most frequently visited place in Prague is the Old Town Square, where a large number of monuments are situated. In the middle there is a monument of Master Jan Hus.There are Týn Church and the Old Town Hall, which was built in 14th century. On Town Hall’s tower we can admire astronomical clock with the statues of 12 Apostles. Apostles appear every hour in the top part of the clock. Every hour there are a lot of people in front of Town Hall, because they want to see it. Astronomical clock is very famous attraction.

Another very nice place is Wenceslas Square, which is 750 m long. There’re a lot of banks, restaurants, hotels, shops, cinemas, and boutiques. On the top, there’re St.Wenceslav bronze statue by J.V Myslbek and National museum.

There are also a lot of interesting streets – Paris street, Na Příkopech street and Celetná street.

Prague is connected with a lot of famous people – Charles IV., Jan Hus, John of Nepomuk. In Prague lived Czech actor Jan Werich and writer Josef Dobrovský.

Charles IV.

He lived in 14th century and he was son of John of Luxembourg. During his reign the Czech lands experienced the Golden Age of their history. He was a highly educated men, he spoke five languages. He was excellent diplomat, very good king and he loved Prague. He founded St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles University (1348, it is the oldest university in Central and Eastern Europe) and Karlštejn. The construction of Charles Bridge began during his reign. He was the most beloved Czech king and he is called ,,father of the Czech nation”.

Jan Hus

He was born in Bohemia and he became a professor of theology. He was Czech religious thinker, reformer and preaching. He preached in Bethlehem Chapel. He protested against Catholic Church and he wanted it purify. He was excommunicated and then burned at the stake in Constance on July 6. 1415. His followers are known as Hussites.

John of Nepomuk

He was saint patron and a martyr. He was born in Nepomuk in Bohemia.

But Prague is not only a historical city. There are important roads, rails and air Ruzyně. Prague has a dens network of local transport which includes trams, buses and underground.

There are many industries. The most important kinds of industry are the engineering, food industry, textile, chemical, printing and film industries. Prague is the political, administrative, financial and commercial centre of the Czech Republic.

 

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  5. září 2007
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