Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is the state we live in, and in which most of us were also born. It is our native country.

The Czech Republic is situated in Central Europe. It is said that it lies in the heart of Europe. The Czech Republic is an inland country. It is located in the temperate climatic zone.

Our republic has four neighbours. In the north it borders on Poland and in the south on Austria. The shortest border is with Slovakia in the east and the longest with Germany in the west. Our country has three parts: Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia.

Our country’s borders are natural. They are formed by Mountain ranges. The border is lined by the Šumava mountains in the South-west, the Ore in the north-west, the Luž mountains, the Jizera mountains, , the Giant mountains and the Eagle mountains in the North and the Hrubý Jeseník and the Moravian-Silesian Beskids in the North-East. The highest mountain is Sněžka in Giant mountains, which is 1 603 meters high.

The longest rivers are the Vltava, the Elbe and the Morava. Cascades of dams were built on the Vltava River which flows from the Šumava mountains. The Elbe flows from the Giant mountains. South Bohemia is rich in ponds (e.g. Rožmberk). Bohemia and Moravia are quite rich in mineral springs and spas - Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, Františkovy Lázně, Kynžvart, Poděbrady, Luhačovice, Jeseník, etc.

The Czech Republic has a population of about 10,3 million. The major nationalities living here are Czech and Moravian, but there are minority groups such as the Silesians, the Slovaks, the Roominess, the Poles, the Germans, the Ukrainians and the Russians. The capital is Prague with its population about 1,2 million people.

Now I would like to tell you something about our history. The country was settled by the Slavs in the 5th century. In the 9th century they founded the first state formation - the Great Moravian Empire.

One of the most important historical periods in our past is the rule of one of the best and most important rulers Charles IV. who ruled in the 14th century. During his reign the Prague University was founded and Prague New Town was built. In 1357 was built the Charles Bridge.

In the 15th century here was the Hussite movement led by the reformation teaching of Master John Huss, who was burnt to death in 1415.

The beginning of the 17th century was marked by the Thirty Years`War. After the Battle of the White Mountain in 1620, the country was Germanised and many artists and scientists had to leave the country (e.g. Jan Amos Comenius and Václav Holar).

The 19th century was the Age of Reason. Czech literature were born by Mácha, Němcová, Neruda, Arbes, Jirásek and others.

At the end of the World War I the Austrian-Hungarian Empire fell and on the 28th October 1918 the independent Czechoslovak Republic was proclaimed with T. G. Masaryk as the first president.

From 1939 to 1945 Czechoslovakia was occupied by the Germans. In 1945 Czechoslovakia was liberated by the Red and US Armies.

From February 1948 after the Communist Party seized the power the socialist era began. Lots of people emigrated, were imprisoned and even executed.

In November 1989 the people threw out the communists. Now the country is trying to follow democratic principles, which is not always easy. The country still suffers from a lack of political and moral culture.

On January the 1st, 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries - the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. Both countries adopted new constitutions.

The head of the Czech Republic is the President. The present President is Václav Havel. He is elected for five years. Parliament and the government have the main power.

The state flag consists of two horizontal stripes (white on the top and red on the bottom) and a blue wedge.

The currency in the Czech Republic is The Czech crown. The crown consists of 100 hallers.

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