Czech Republic - Article
Article: Czech Republic
The Czech Republic (Czech: ÄŒeskÃ¡ republika), a member state of the European Union (since May 1, 2004), 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. The historic city of Prague (Czech: Praha), a major tourist attraction, is its capital and largest city. Other major cities include Brno, Ostrava, ZlÃn, PlzeÅˆ, Pardubice, Hradec KrÃ¡lovÃ©, ÄŒeskÃ© BudÄ›jovice, Liberec, Olomouc, and ÃšstÃ 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 official name is Czech Republic. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 suggested that the name Czechia be official alternative in all situations other than formal official documents and the full names of government institutions, but this has not caught on in English usage. Its Czech equivalent ÄŒesko is disputed by many Czech people but often used by others. See Names of the Czech Republic and Czech lands.
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 PÅ™emyslids. 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 areas with Polish minority around ÄŒeskÃ½ TÄ›Å¡Ãn, while Slovakia gained greater autonomy, with the state being renamed to "Czecho-Slovakia". Eventually Slovakia broke away further in March 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'). Approximately 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. The Czechoslovak government-in-exile and its army fighting against Nazis were acknowledged by Allies.
In 1945-6 almost the entire German minority of pre-War Czechoslovakia, 3 million people, were expelled to Germany and Austria. During this, hundreds of thousand of Germans were held in prisons and detention camps or forced labour and there were several massacres in summer 1945; altogether were at least 20,000 deaths. Only 250 000 Germans who had been active in the resistance or were necessary for the economy were allowed to stay, though many of them emigrated later.
Czechoslovakia uneasily tried to play "bridge" between the West and East; however strengthening Communist Party of Czechoslovakia took over in February 1948, bringing the country within the Soviet sphere of influence. In August 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 November 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. From 1991 the Czech Republic, then Czechoslovakia, has been a member of the Visegrad Group.
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 KrkonoÅ¡e, where one also finds the highest point in the country, the SnÄ›Å¾ka at 1,602 metres (5,256 ft). 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.
|Population of the Czech lands (CZSO, Prague)|
Major religions in the Czech Republic are (2001 census): Roman Catholic (26.7%), Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (1.1%), Czechoslovak Hussite Church (1.0%), Jehovah's Witnesses (0.22%), Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church (0.22%), other (2.8%). 58.9% is nonreligious, 8.8% gave no answer.
- More information on politics and government of the Czech Republic can be found at the Politics and government of the Czech Republic series.
Politics of the Czech Republic takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies (PoslaneckÃ¡ snÄ›movna) and the Senate.
The Czech Armed Forces (Czech: ArmÃ¡da ÄŒeskÃ© republiky) consists of Land and Air Forces and of specialized support units. The country has been a member of NATO since 1999. Military spending is around 1.8% of GDP (2005).
|S||Central Bohemian Region (StÅ™edoÄeskÃ½ kraj)||its offices are located in Prague (Praha)|
|C||South Bohemian Region (JihoÄeskÃ½ kraj)||ÄŒeskÃ© BudÄ›jovice|
|P||PlzeÅˆ Region (PlzeÅˆskÃ½ kraj)||PlzeÅˆ|
|K||Carlsbad Region (KarlovarskÃ½ kraj)||Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad)|
|U||ÃšstÃ nad Labem Region (ÃšsteckÃ½ kraj)||ÃšstÃ nad Labem|
|L||Liberec Region (LibereckÃ½ kraj)||Liberec|
|H||Hradec KrÃ¡lovÃ© Region (KrÃ¡lovÃ©hradeckÃ½ kraj)||Hradec KrÃ¡lovÃ©|
|E||Pardubice Region (PardubickÃ½ kraj)||Pardubice|
|M||Olomouc Region (OlomouckÃ½ kraj)||Olomouc|
|T||Moravian-Silesian Region (MoravskoslezskÃ½ kraj)||Ostrava|
|B||South Moravian Region (JihomoravskÃ½ kraj)||Brno|
|Z||ZlÃn Region (ZlÃnskÃ½ kraj)||ZlÃn|
|J||VysoÄina Region (VysoÄina)||Jihlava|
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 European Union, 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 its introduction is only in the early planning stages and there are growing doubts whether budget deficit won't force postponement.
The Czech economy gets a substantial income from tourism: in 2001, the total earnings from tourism reached 118.13 billion CZK, making up 5.5 % of GNP and 9.3 % of overall export earnings. The industry employs more than 110,000 persons - over 2% of the population. 
There are several centres of tourist activity: The historic city of Prague is the primary tourist attraction, and the city is also the most common point of entry for tourists visiting other parts of the country . Most other cities in the country attract significant numbers of tourists, but the spa towns such as Karlovy Vary and MariÃ¡nskÃ© LÃ¡znÄ› are particularly popular holiday destinations. Other popular tourist sites are the many castles and chateaux, such as those at KarlÅ¡tejn, PernÅ¡tejn and ÄŒeskÃ½ Krumlov. Away from the towns, areas as ÄŒeskÃ½ RÃ¡j, Å umava and the KrkonoÅ¡e mountains attract visitors seeking outdoor pursuits.
- Cinema of the Czech Republic
- List of Czechs
- Czech literature
- Music of the Czech Republic
- National Theatre (Prague)
- List of Czech language television channels
- Czech cuisine
The country is also famous for its love of puppetry and marionettes.
- 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.
Dictionary definitions from Wiktionary
Textbooks from Wikibooks
Quotations from Wikiquote
Source texts from Wikisource
Images and media from Commons
News stories from Wikinews
- Communications in the Czech Republic
- Foreign relations of the Czech Republic
- List of cities in the Czech Republic
- List of postal codes in the Czech Republic
- List of Czech Republic-related topics
- Public holidays in the Czech Republic
- Transportation in the Czech Republic
- Spa towns in the Czech Republic
- Much of the material in these articles comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.