Czech Republic

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

 • Regained
 • Dismemberment
9th century

October 28, 1918
January 1, 1993
 • Total
 • Water (%)
78,866 km² (114st)
 • 2005 est.
 • 2001 census
 • Density
10,241,138 (79th)
130/km² (58th)
 • Total
 • Per capita
2005 estimate
$198,976 million (41st)
$19,488 (39th)
Currency Czech koruna (CZK)
Time zone
 • Summer (DST)
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, Plzeň, Hradec Králové, České Budějovice, Liberec, Olomouc, and Ústí nad Labem.

The country is composed of two older regions, Bohemia and Moravia, and part of a third one, Silesia. As of May 1, 2004, it is a member state of the European Union.

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 announced that the name Czechia (Czech: Česko) 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. See also: Czech lands.



Main article: History of the Czechia

From prehistoric times, archaeologists found evidence of early human settlers. From the 3rd century BC Celtic migrations, left people of Boii (see Bohemia) and later in the 1st century AD Germanic tribes of Marcomanni and Quadi. The Slavic people emerged from obscurity when the westward movement Germans in the 5th century AD (necessitated by the onslaught of peoples from Siberia and Eastern Europe: Huns, Avars, Bulgars and Magyars) started the great migration of the Slavs, who followed in the Germans' wake: southward into Bohemia, Moravia, much of present day Austria.

During the 7th century the Frankish nobleman Samo, supporter the Slavs fighting their Avar rulers, became the ruler of the first known Slav state in Central Europe. Very old are the Principality of Nitra and the Moravian principality (see under Great_Moravia).

The Czech state emerged in the late 9th century when it was unified by the Přemyslids. The kingdom of Bohemia was a significant local power, but religious conflicts such as the 15th century Hussite Wars and the 17th century Thirty Years War were devastating. It later came under the Habsburg influence and became part of Austria-Hungary.

Following the collapse of this empire after World War I, the Czechs and neighbouring Slovaks joined together and formed the independent republic of Czechoslovakia in 1918. This new country contained a large German minority, which would lead to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia when Germany successfully annexed the minority through the Munich Agreement in 1938, and Slovakia gained greater autonomy, with the state renamed "Czecho-Slovakia". Slovakia broke away further in 1939 and the remaining Czech state was occupied by the Germans.

After World War II, 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 "freedom" through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution". On January 1, 1993, the country peacefully split in two, creating independent Czech and Slovak republics.

The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.


Main article: Politics of the Czech Republic

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.


Main article: Regions of the Czech Republic; see also: Overview of regions in Czech Republic

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 coloured regions

Region Capital colour
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


Main article: Geography of the Czech Republic

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.


Main article: Economy of the Czech Republic

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. With a GDP (PPP) per capita of $19,488, the Czech Republic's per-capita output is approximately two-thirds that of the large Western European economies and approximately on par with that of Portugal, Greece and Slovenia.

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.


Main article: Demographics of the Czech Republic

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 Slovakians, 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. The border between the Czechia and Slovakia is open for citizens of the former Czechoslovakia. Given the massive rise of tourism in Prague, English, after German, is becoming widely popular among business-owners and public servants.

Despite the very visible presence of cathedrals and church buildings all over the country, the majority of Czechs (59%) are agnostics or atheists. Significant religious groups include Roman Catholics (27%), Protestants (1.2%), and Czechoslovak Hussites (1%).


International rankings

Miscellaneous topics


  • Much of the material in these articles comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.

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