Czech Republic

Czech Republic is a country full of beautiful nature, rich in history, warm and friendly people, and then you can buy one of the best beers in the world for less than a bottle of water.


How’s Life?
The Czech Republic performs well in many measures of well-being, and ranks close to the average in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index.
Read more here.


Religion
59% of the Czechs are Agnostic, Atheist, or non-believer, 26.8% Roman Catholic and 2.5% Protestant. Only 19% said that they believed in God, meaning that about 11% of the self-declared Christians were only Christian in name (or by tradition).


Small facts
-The Czech Republic is almost entirely surrounded by mountains (except to the south, toward Austria and Slovakia). Mountains mark a natural border with Germany and Poland.
-The Czech Republic has the most hospital beds per inhabitant in the EU.
-Czech people are the world’s heaviest consumers of beer.
-Czech people are mostly of Slavic descent, but many people can also claim partial German ancestry, as a result of the country’s 1000 years within the Holy Roman Empire or Austrian Empire.
-The country is renowned for its numerous spa towns, especially along the border with Saxony (Germany). The most famous ones are those of Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad), Františkovy Lázně (Franzensbad) and Teplice (Teplitz).
-There are over 2,000 castles, keeps, and castle ruins in the Czech Republic, one of the highest density in the world (notably after Belgium and France).
-Reporters Without Borders ranked the Czech Republic as the 5th best country in the world (out of 168 countries listed) for freedom of press in 2006.


Languages
Czech and Slovak languages are mutually intelligible to people accustomed to the other language’s pronuciation, particularily people who have lived at the time of Czechoslovakia (the country split in 1993) . The Sorbian languages spoken by a minority of people in south-eastern Germany (Saxony and Brandenburg) are also closely related to
Czech language. The relation between these West Slavic languages is a similar to that of Castillan Spanish, Catalan, Galician and Portuguese together.


History
Historically, the Czech Republic was composed of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the March of Moravia, both part of the the Holy Roman Empire (800-1806), then also within the Habsburg Empire (1526-1918).

Bohemia was first a duchy in the 9th century, then was elevated to a kingdom in 1198. Most of the early Kings of Bohemia belonged to the powerful House of Luxembourg (from 1310 to 1437) and combined the title of Holy Roman Emperor. The only daughter of Sigismund of Luxembourg married Albert of Habsburg, and the crown of Bohemia subsequently passed to the House of Habsburg, which kept it until the dissolution of their empire in 1918.
The Charles University in Prague, founded in 1348, is the oldest university in Central Europe, and one of the oldest in the world in continuous operation. According to the 2006 Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, it is the leading university in Central Europe.
Famous Czech people include the religious reformer Jan Hus (1370-1415), the early proponent of universal education John Amos Comenius (1592-1670), the classical music composers Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884) and Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904), and the German-language author Franz Kafka (1883-1924).
A Czech, the chemist Otto Wichterle, invented the soft contact lenses in 1959.


UNESCO Heritage Sites
There are twelve areas in Czech Republic that are on the UNESCO list.

Central Bohemia
 Prague historic city centre.
Gothic St Barbara’s Cathedral and the Cathedral of the Assumption in town of Kutná Hora.

East Bohemia
 Basilica of St Procopius and the Jewish quarter of Zámostí in town of Třebíč.
Town of Telč.
Town of Litomyšl.
Pilgrimage church of St John Nepomuk in town of Žďár nad Sázavou.

South Bohemia
 Town of Český Krumlov.
Baroque village Holašovice.

Central Moravia
 Baroque Trinity Column in town of Olomouc.
Town of Kroměříž.
Functionalist Villa Tugendhat in the second biggest Czech city Brno.

South Moravia
 Lednice-Valtice area.

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