The Czech Republic is the state in which we live. It is also the state in which most of us were born. It is our native country. The Czech Republic is a landlocked country situated in Central Europe. Sometimes it is called “the heart of Europe”. The Czech Republic is also famous for having the capital of Prague, which is called the mother of cities and a lot of historical sites are situated there. Some of the sites are, for example, Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, and others.
Our Republic has four neighbors. In the north we border Poland and in the south, Austria. The shortest border we have is with Slovakia in the east, and the longest border is with Germany in the west. Our country has three regions: Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia. Bohemia is the western half and home to most of the people and industries. Moravia is the eastern half and is more sparsely populated and agricultural. A part in the north of the eastern half is Silesia.
The country is surrounded by mountains which make natural borders. The borders are lined by the Šumava Mountains in the south-west, the Ore in the north-west, the Luž, the Jizera, the Giant, and the Eagle Mountains in the north, and the Hrubý Jeseník and the Moravian-Silesian Beskyds in the north-east. There are also some hilly regions within the country, such as the Czech-Moravian Highlands and the weathered sandstone of the Bohemia Paradise. The highest mountain is Sněžka in the Giant Mountains. It is 1 603 meters high. Czech weather is moderate but unpredictable. The Czech Republic lies in the part of Europe, where various coastal and continental frontal systems fight, so one is never sure what to expect. That is why the summer is sometimes very hot and in the winter the temperature is on average about -15° C and two days ago it was about 5° C.
The Czech Republic also has a number of river systems. The longest river is the Vltava which empties into Elbe near Mělnik and where cascades of dams are built. It is our native river. The Elbe flows from the Giant Mountains by way of Dresden and Hamburg to the North Sea. The Morava, flowing along the Slovak border, and the charming Dyje in the south both join the Danube which flows into Black Sea. Southern 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 is a historic country whose history goes back to the 6th century. At that time, the first Slavonic tribes from Eastern Europe came to this territory. Before they came to Bohemia, the Celtic people had been living there for centuries. There is a legend about the settling of the country by the Primal Czech Father with his tribe of the Czechs who climbed the hill Ríp, and the princess Libuše, who proclaimed the future glory of Prague. The first state in this territory, inhabited by Slavonic tribes, was Samoa’s Empire. In the 9th century, our country was a part of Great Moravian Empire. The Czech kingdom was established after Great Morava was defeated by Avars. It is important to mention that the most famous kings were: Vratislav II., Vladislav II., Premysl Otakar I., Václav I., Premysl Otakar II., Václav II., and Václav III. The utmost famous king was Charles IV, also Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Prague and the country flourished under his rule. He established new quarters (the New Town with Wenceslas square where the National Museum and the National Theatre are situated), had a stone bridge built (later called Charles Bridge), and established an archbishopric near Prague Castle. The first part of the 15th century was marked by the Hussite Movement. It is named after John Huss, who tried to reform the Catholic Church. He was burnt at the stake as a heretic. After the reign of Jiří of Poděbrady and the Jagiellonian Dynasty, the throne was passed to the Habsburg dynasty. The centre of culture and politics moved from Prague to Vienna and we became a part of the big Austrian-Hungarian Empire. They oppressed the Czech nation for almost 400 years. In 1618, the Czech estates rose up against the Hapsburgs and Friedrich of the Palatinate was elected king. The insurance was defeated however and Friedrich ran away from the country. For our country, it was the most difficult period of history, because our language as well as culture declined. It was the time of germanization. In the 19th century, Prague was a center of the Czech National Revival. It was the time when the official language was German and Czech was used only in the countryside. Czech people wanted to have their own theatre where Czech operas, dramas and plays could be performed, and so people collected money and built the National Theatre. The National Theatre stands on the Vltava embankment. In 1918 Prague became the capital of Czechoslovakia, and the seat of the first president – T. G. Masaryk. Since 1993, Prague has been the capital of the Czech Republic.
There are many spots of great natural beauty in the Czech Republic, as well as areas totally spoiled by industries. Southern Bohemia is particularly rich in ponds. The most beautiful natural places are the Czech Paradise, “rock town” in the Prachov rocks, the Děčín walls, Czech Switzerland, the Boubín virgin forests, the Macocha Abyss, and so on. We also have protected areas, some of which are really very nice (for example one of the protected areas is the region near the river Dyje). We also have National parks. There are also many places associated with our history. Among the most beautiful historic towns are Prague, Kutná Hora, Tábor, Telč, Olomouc, Kroměříž, and others. Many castles, ruins and chateaus can also be found in our Republic. The most interesting ones are Karlštejn, Křivoklát, Bezděz, Hluboká, Zvíkov, Loket, Kuks, Lednice, and of course the Prague castle.