The Czech Republic is a small landlocked country in central Europe surrounded by four countries – Germany to the west, Poland to the north, Slovakia to the east, and Austria to the south. Sometimes it is called "The Heart of Europe". The Czech Republic has three regions: Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia.
The Czech Republic is surrounded by mountains – Šumava, Krušné Mountains, Jizerské Mountains, Krkonoše, Orlické Mountains, Jeseníky, Beskydy, and the Carpathians. In the country there is also the Českomoravská Highland and the Bohemian Paradise. The highest point of the country is Sněžka with a height of 1602 m. In the Republic, there are a lot of rivers – the biggest are the Vltava and the Labe. Next, are the Ohře, the Morava, the Jihlava, the Sázava, the Odra, the Opava, and others. The Vltava is the national river and it is important in history. Our capital city of Prague is built on it. In the country, there are a lot of ponds and somes lakes such as the Black Lake, the Devil´s, World Lake, and Macha´s Lake. A lot of ponds are in the southern part of the country around the cities of České Budějovice and Třeboň.
The climate of the country is continental with four seasons. We have warm summers and cold winters where it snows. However, the amount snowfall is decreasing as years go by.
The first historical tribes in the nowadays Czech Republic area were the Celtic tribes in the 4th century. In the 5th century, the country was settled by the Slavs. The first state in this territory was Samoa´s Empire inhabited by Slavs. One of the oldest legends of this country is about the Prime Czech Father. He and his tribe climbed up the hill Říp and they saw a beautiful country in which they built their homes. In the 9th century, our country was part of the Great Moravian Empire. From Greece came a Christian mission led by the brothers Constantine and Methodius. They promoted Slavonic liturgy. In the 10th century, the Great Moravian Empire was destroyed by a Magyar invasion. During this time governed the Přemyslid dynasty. The most famous of them are the Princess Libuše, Vladislav II., Vratislav II. Přemysl Otakar I., Přemysl Otakar II., Václav I., II., and III. The Přemyslid dynasty died out by the sword and the Luxembourg dynasty began to govern. Under Charles IV., the Czech Kingdom became the center of the Holy Roman Empire and the city of Prague was the capital town. Charles IV. built Charles Bridge and Charles University and his rule is very famous.
The 15th century is the time of the Hussite movement. It is named after Mistr John Huss, rector of Charles University. He tried to reform the Catholic Church, and was later burned to death in Kostince.
The next dynasties were the Jagellonian dynasty and the Habsburg dynasty. A Czech king named Rudolf II. is famous for his extravagance, art collection, and alchemy. During this time, Bohemia was the kingdom at the head of Europe. However, after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, the Austrian Empire became the leading power in Europe.
Other important sovereigns of the Habsburg dynasty were Queen Maria Teresia and her son, the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II.. They prefered the rule of ´The Enlightnment´. During this time, the country was strongly Germanized. During the 19th century, the Czech language became important again.
After the end of the WWI, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire fell, and in 1918, the Czechoslovakian Republic was established under the leadership of the first Czech president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. A new chapter in the history of our country began. Our republic was a democratic capitalistic state and one of the strongest economic powers in the world. Unfortunately, Hitler’s fascism and WWII put an end to this promising development.
The Munich Treaty in 1938 gave the border of Bohemian territory to Germany, and in March 1939, the rest of our state was occupied by the Germans. Czechoslovakia was liberated by the Russian Red, and US Armies.
On August 21, 1968, the whole country was occupied by Warsaw Pact Troops in order to stop democratic reforms in our country. The 1970's are known as the period of ‘normalization,’ when many non-conformists had to leave the country.
After 40 years of totalitarian depression, on November 17th, 1989, "The Velvet Revolution" started in Prague and huge demonstrations of thousands of Prague citizens woke up the whole nation. For several years now, the Czech nation has had its freedom again. The Czechs can take part in private businesses, they can go as tourists abroad to the West, and they are no longer slaves of a foreign power.
The Czech Republic was established on January 1st, 1993, as we were seperating from Slovakia. Our president was Václav Havel.
Prague: Prague is the capital. It is the largest commercial and cultural centre of the Czech Republic. It has been a cultural and economic centre since the 13th century, when its old town was built. During the 14th century, it was the second largest city after Paris in Europe. Prague is one of the most beautiful and historic European cities.
Brno: Brno is the second largest city in the country and it is in Moravia. It was founded in the 9th century on the site where the Svitava and Svratka rivers converge. Dominant of Brno is the castle of Špilberk. Not so far from Brno are the Punkevni Caves and the Moravian Karst with the Macocha abyss.
The most important part of our economy is engineering. We make machines, tools, locomotives, tractors, and agricultural mahines. In Mladá Boleslav, we make Škoda cars. Other important branches of industry are metallurgical and chemical industries and tourism. Textile and glass industries have a long tradition. We export black coal which we get from the Ostrava Coal Basin and the area of Kladno. We also have brown coal in the Sokolov Basin. We also extract kaolin and clay which are important for the ceramics and glass industries. We have also supplies of iron, uranium, and limestone which is extracted for the building indusry. We grow wheat, sugar beets, maize, grapes, hops, and fruits. Of the fruits, we grow mostly apples, then plums and apricots. In animal production, the most important is cattle and pig breeding. Fish breeding, especially carp, can be found in Southern Bohemia in Třeboňsko. We have a lot of mineral springs and spas, for example, Karlovy Vary, Mariánké Lázně, Františkovy lázně, Poděbrady, Luhačovice, and Jeseník.
The Czech Republic is famous for its beer all over the world. For example, Budweiser beer originated in České Budějovice, and another good beer is Plzen. Moravia is famous for making wine. We are also famous for our good meals. Our national dish is roasted pork, cabbage and dumplings.
The country is also famous for its writers: Mistr Jan Huss, Jan Amos Komenský, Josef Jungmann, Karel Hynek Mácha, Karel Jaromír Erben, Karel Havlíček Borovský, Jan Neruda, Božena Němcová, Karel and Josef Čapek, and the poet Jaroslav Seifert who recieved the Nobel prize for literature. Karel Capek invented the word "robot." We also have famous musicans like Leoš Janáček, Antonín Dvořák (the New World Symphony), Bedřich Smetana, Bohuslav Martinů, and of course our world-known best singer, Karel Gott.
The form of goverment is a republic. The head of state is the president elected for seven years and the head of goverment is the prime minister. Our legislature consists of 200 deputies and 81 senators. The state is consists of 14 counties.