Description of Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is informally referred to as Czechia. This is a small country that is completely landlocked and located in Central Europe. It shares a border with Germany, Austria, Poland, and Slovakia. While the country is not large, it has a very eventful history. There have been Jews, Slovaks, Germans, Czechs, and some Italian stucco workers and stone masons as well as tradesmen from France and deserters of Napoleon’s army who have lived and worked in the country. Each of these peoples has influenced one another over time.
For hundreds of years these people cultivated the land and created works that still demand our admiration and respect today. The inventiveness and the skill of these people are the reason that the country has hundreds of castles, mansions, and monasteries as well as entire towns that provide an impression of comprehensive artifacts. The country has a large amount of architectural treasures and in addition has mountains and forests to match the architectural beauty.
The region that is now the Czech Republic was inhabited by Boii, a Celtic tribe, for the first 400 years in the common era. Once the Roman Empire fell, the Celts fell away to the Germanic tribes. Four hundred years later the Slavs arrived and during the 9th century the Slavs found the Moravian Empire. This empire stretched from what is now Germany to Ukraine. When the empire fell, a Bohemian Kingdom was created. This formed a unit known as the Lands for the Bohemian Crown and throughout the majority of its history the land is almost identical to what is now Czechia.
During the 11th through the 14th century, there was a massive amount of German colonization that occurred in many sections of the kingdom that had remained unpopulated. The Habsburgs rise led to the kingdom becoming part of an Austrian Empire and eventually became Austria-Hungary.
After WW1 ended and Austria-Hungary fell, the nations of the Czechs and Slovaks came together to form the country Czechoslovakia. The country stayed a democracy during the interwar years, but nationalism combined with a strong centralization created a bad relationship with the Germans and the Hungarian minorities. This was used by Horty and Hitler to annex certain areas of the country right before WWII broke out. During this time Slovakia seceded and the rest of the area became a German empire protectorate that was occupied throughout the war.
At the start of the 1950s there were numerous Soviet inspired trials that took place. The most common trial was the one that put Milada Horakova to death. In the year 1968, Warsaw Pact armies invaded and ended the efforts made by the leaders of the country to try to make it more liberal by creating a socialistic nation. In the year 1989 in the month of November the police took brutal actions that resulted in peaceful demonstrations that would crumble the communist government.
In January of 1993, the country was involved in a “divorce” of sorts and became Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic became a NATO member in the year 1999 and has been a member of the European Union since 2004.
See and Do
There are many things to see and do in the Czech Republic. In Prague, which is the capital city, you will find an incredible historic center. There are several famous monuments in the area including the Charles Bridge, Astronomical Clock, and the Prague Castle.
Olomouc is university town that is definitely worth visiting. It is the 2nd largest historical site of the country and also a member of the UNESCO world heritage list. Another member and city worth visiting is Cesky Krumlov, which offers a gorgeous city with a picturesque downtown and castle.
Kutna Hora is one of the silver mining towns from the medieval times. There are several well-preserved mining shafts dating back to the 14th century.
Macocha Caves are definitely worth visiting as well. There is a guided tour of the caves available. It takes you through a number of winding tunnels providing close up views of stalagmites and stalactites. The end of the tour takes place on a boat ride on the underground river.
There is a modern technical museum located in Brno.
There are a number of hiking trails throughout the country for those that are a bit more adventurous. You can simply choose an area, purchase a hiking map, and then go.
There are also several great swimming destinations located in the Czech Republic. The designated areas for public swimming are called koupaliste and you will find a list available at many of the tourist destinations. It is important to note that during some of the hotter months the quality of the water may fall below standard regulations of the European Union.
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