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Česká republika
Czech Republic
Flag of Czech Republic Coat of arms of Czech Republic
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Pravda vítězí ( Czech for "Truth prevails")
Anthem: Kde domov můj
Location of Czech Republic
Capital Prague
50°05′ N 14°28′ E
Largest city Prague
Official language(s) Czech
Prime Minister
Václav Klaus
Jiří Paroubek

• Regained
• Dismemberment
9th century

October 28, 1918
January 1, 1993
• Total

• Water (%)

78,866 km² ( 114st)
{{{areami²}}} mi²

• 2005 est.
• 2001 census

• Density

10,241,138 ( 79th)

130/km² ( 58th)
• Total
• Per capita
2005 estimate
8,976 million ( 41st)
,488 ( 39th)
HDI ( 2003) 0.874 ( 31st) – high
Currency Czech koruna ( CZK)
Time zone
• Summer ( DST)
CET ( UTC+1)
Internet TLD .cz
Calling code +4201
1 Shared code 42 with Slovakia until 1997
The Czech Republic ( Czech: Česká republika) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country has borders with Poland to the north, Germany to the northwest and west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. Historic Prague ( Czech: Praha), a major tourist attraction, is its capital and largest city. Other major cities include Brno, Ostrava, Zlín, Plzeň, Pardubice, Hradec Králové, České Budějovice, Liberec, Olomouc, and Ústí nad Labem.The country is composed of two entire historic regions, Bohemia and Moravia, parts of Silesia and small sections of historic Lower Austria.The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 announced that the name Czechia is to be used in all situations other than formal official documents and the full names of government institutions [1], [2], but this has not caught on in English usage. Its Czech equivalent Česko faced opposition of the Czech people as well, but now it seems to be quite settled down in the language. See Names of the Czech Republic and Czech lands.

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History - Contents

Archaeologists have found evidence of prehistoric human settlement in the area dating back to the Neolithic era. In the classical era, from the 3rd century BC Celtic migrations, the Boii (see Bohemia) and later in the 1st century Germanic tribes of Marcomanni and Quadi settled there. During the Migration Period of ca. the 5th century, many Germanic tribes moved westward and southward out of Central Europe. In an equally significant migration, Slavic people from the Black Sea and Carpathian regions 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). Following in the Germans' wake, they moved southward into Bohemia, Moravia, and some of present day Austria.During the 7th century the Frankish merchant Samo, supporting the Slavs fighting their Avar rulers, became the ruler of the first known Slav state in Central Europe. The Moravian principality arose in the 8th century (see under Great Moravia).The Bohemian or Czech state emerged in the late 9th century when it was unified by the Přemyslids. The kingdom of Bohemia was a significant local power during the Middle Ages. It was part of the Holy Roman Empire during the entire existence of this confederation.Religious conflicts such as the 15th century Hussite Wars and the 17th century Thirty Years War had a devastating effect on the local population. Bohemia later came under Habsburg influence and became part of Austria-Hungary.Following the collapse of this empire after World War I, the independent republic of Czechoslovakia was created in 1918. This new country contained large German, Hungarian and Polish minorities. Although Czechoslovakia was a democratic and liberal state guaranteeing and also implementing cultural and language rights to its minorities (schools in German language areas were entirely German), the centralistic state did not grant its minorities territorial political autonomy, which resulted in discontent and strong support among the minorities to break away from Czechoslovakia. Hitler used the opportunity and, supported by Konrad Henlein's Sudeten German Party, gained the majority German speaking Sudetenland through the Munich Agreement. Poland occupied majority Polish speaking areas around Cesky Tesin, while Slovakia gained greater autonomy, with the state being renamed to "Czecho-Slovakia". Eventually Slovakia broke away further in 1939 and the remaining Czech territory was occupied by Hitler who installed the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, which was proclaimed part of the Reich and where the Protectorate President and Prime Minister were subordinate to the Nazi Reichsprotektor ('imperial protector'). Appr. 125 000 citizens, including 83 000 Jews, were killed, and hundreds of thousand of others were sent to prisons and concentration camps or forced labour. Czechoslovak government-in-exile and its army fighting against Nazis were acknowledged by Allies.From 1945 to 1948 the Sudetenland was cleansed of ethnic Germans (under the so-called Beneš decrees and the Treaty of Potsdam). About 3 million Germans, almost the entire German minority of pre-War Czechoslovakia, were expelled to Germany and Austria. As a consequence, 15 000 - 30 000 (according to the official German-Czech Committee of Historians) Germans were killed or otherwise died. Only a few who had been active in the resistance or were required for economic reasons were allowed to stay, though many of them emigrated later due to the anti-German sentiment prevalent in post War Czechoslovakia.In 1948, a reconstituted Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize party rule and create " socialism with a human face" during the Prague Spring. In 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its political independence through a peaceful " Velvet Revolution". On January 1, 1993, the country peacefully split in two, creating the independent Czech and Slovak republics.The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union on May 1, 2004.

Politics - Contents

According to its constitution, the Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy whose head of state is a president, indirectly elected every five years by the parliament. The president is also granted specific powers such as the right to nominate Constitutional Court judges, dissolve parliament under certain conditions, complete immunity, and enact a veto on legislation. He also appoints the prime minister, who sets the agenda for most foreign and domestic policy, as well the other members of the cabinet on a proposal by the prime minister.The Czech parliament (Parlament) is bicameral, with a Chamber of Deputies (Poslanecká sněmovna) and a Senate (Senát). The 200 Chamber delegates are elected for 4-year terms, on the basis of proportional representation. The 81 members of the Czech Senate serve for 6-year terms with one-third being elected every 2 years on the basis of two-round majority voting.The country's highest court of appeals is the Supreme Court. The Constitutional Court, which rules on constitutional issues, is appointed by the president, and its members serve 10-year terms.

Military - Contents

Czech Republic
Military manpower
Military age 18 years of age
Availability males age 15–49: 2,414,728 (2005 est.)
Fit for military service males age 15–49: 1,996,631 (2005 est.)
Reaching military age annually males: 66,583 (2005 est.)
Active troops
Military expenditures
Amount .17 billion (2004)
Percent of GDP 1.81% (2005)
The Czech Armed Forces ( Czech: Armáda České republiky) consists of Land and Air Forces and of specialized support units. Being a member of NATO since 1999, the Czech Republic completes a major overhaul of the extensive Czechoslovak armed forces which until 1989 formed one of the pillars of the Warsaw Pact military alliance. Czech forces have been gradually downsized from 200,000 to 35,000 and at the same time modernized and reoriented toward defensive posture. In the year 2004 the army was transformed into a fully professional organization and compulsory military service was ended.The structure of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic is as follows:
  • The Army
    • Joint Forces
      • Joint Forces Command
      • Land Forces
      • Air Force
      • Joint Forces Support Units
    • Support and Training Forces
  • The Military Office of President of the Republic
  • The Castle Guard

Regions - Contents

The Czech Republic consists of 13 regions (kraje, singular - kraj) and one capital city (hlavní město), marked by a *:
Map of the Czech Republic with colored regions
Region Capital
Prague* (Praha)
Central Bohemian Region (Středočeský kraj) its offices are located in Prague (Praha)
South Bohemian Region (Jihočeský kraj) České Budějovice
Plzeň Region (Plzeňský kraj) Plzeň
Carlsbad Region (Karlovarský kraj) Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad)
Ústí nad Labem Region (Ústecký kraj) Ústí nad Labem
Liberec Region (Liberecký kraj) Liberec
Hradec Králové Region (Královéhradecký kraj) Hradec Králové
Pardubice Region (Pardubický kraj) Pardubice
Olomouc Region (Olomoucký kraj) Olomouc
Moravian-Silesian Region (Moravskoslezský kraj) Ostrava
South Moravian Region (Jihomoravský kraj) Brno
Zlín Region (Zlínský kraj) Zlín
Vysočina Region (Vysočina) Jihlava

Geography - Contents

Map of the Czech Republic
Map of the Czech Republic
The Czech landscape is quite varied; Bohemia to the west consists of a basin, drained by the Elbe ( Czech: Labe) and Vltava rivers, surrounded by mostly low mountains such as the Sudeten with its part Krkonoše, where one also finds the highest point in the country, the Sněžka at 1,602 m. Moravia, the eastern part, is also quite hilly and is drained predominantly by the Morava river, but also contains the source of the Oder ( Czech: Odra) river. Water from the landlocked Czech Republic flows to three different seas: the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Black Sea.The local climate is temperate with warm summers and cold, cloudy, humid winters, typified by a mixture of maritime and continental influences.

Economy - Contents

One of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states, the Czech Republic has been recovering from recession since mid-1999. Growth in 2000- 2001 was led by exports to the EU, especially Germany, and foreign investment, while domestic demand is reviving. The rate of corruption remains one of the highest among OECD countries.Uncomfortably high fiscal and current account deficits could be future problems.Moves to complete banking, telecommunications, and energy privatisation will add to foreign investment, while intensified restructuring among large enterprises and banks and improvements in the financial sector should strengthen output growth.The Czech government has expressed a desire to adopt the euro currency in 2010, but the introduction of the currency is currently only in the early planning stages.

Demographics - Contents

Population of the Czech lands (CSU, Prague)
Year Total Change Year Total Change
1857 7,016,531 - 1930 10,674,386 6.6%
1869 7,617,230 8.6% 1950 8,896,133 -16.7%
1880 8,222,013 7.9% 1961 9,571,531 7.6%
1890 8,665,421 5.4% 1970 9,807,697 2.5%
1900 9,372,214 8.2% 1980 10,291,927 4.9%
1910 10,078,637 7.5% 1991 10,302,215 0.1%
1921 10,009,587 -0.7% 2001 10,230,060 -0.7%
The majority of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic (95%) are ethnically Czech and speak Czech, a member of the Slavic languages. Other ethnic groups include Slovaks, Germans, Roma, Hungarians, Ukrainians and Poles. After the 1993 division, some Slovaks remained in the Czech Republic and comprise roughly 2% of the current population.

Religion - Contents

Despite the very visible presence of cathedrals and church buildings all over the country, the majority of Czechs (59%) are agnostics or atheists or without any dogmatic organization of belief, mostly as a consequence of the anti-religious policy during the communist era. Significant religious groups include Roman Catholics (27%), Protestants (1.2%), and Czechoslovak Hussites (1%).

Culture - Contents

  • Cinema of the Czech Republic
  • Famous Czech People
  • Literature of the Czech Republic
  • Music of the Czech Republic
  • National Theatre (Prague)
  • Czech TV
  • Czech cuisine

International rankings - Contents

  • Human Development Index 2003: Rank 31st out of 177 countries.
  • Index of Economic Freedom 2005: Rank 33rd out of 155 countries.
  • Reporters Without Borders world-wide press freedom index 2005: Rank 9th out of 167 countries.
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