Czech Republic

Czech Republic Destinations Travel Guide

 


Language: Czech

Currency: Czech koruna (CZK)

Calling Code: +420

 

Description of Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a landlocked Central European sovereign country. It borders Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the north. Its capital and largest city is Prague. The Czech Republic has territories of what were once Moravia and Bohemia and a small part of Silesia. The Czech state, formerly known as Bohemia, was formed in the ninth century AD like a small duchy around Prague in the bosom of the then powerful Great Moravian Empire. After the dissolution of this empire in 907, the center of power passed from Moravia to Bohemia under the Premislidas dynasty and from 1002 the duchy was formally recognized as part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1212 the duchy reached the category of kingdom and during the government of the kings and dukes Premislidas and their successors, the Luxemburg, the country reached its greatest territorial extension in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. During the Hussite wars the kingdom had to suffer economic embargoes and the arrival of crusader knights from all over Europe.

After the battle of Mohács in 1526, the Kingdom of Bohemia gradually became part of the Habsburg domains as one of its three main domains, along with the Archduke of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The defeat of the Bohemians in the battle of the White Mountain, which meant the failure of the revolt of 1618-1620, led to the Thirty Years War and a greater centralization of the monarchy, in addition to the imposition of the Catholic faith and germanization. With the dissolution of the Sacrum Germanic Roman Empire in 1806, the kingdom of Bohemia was integrated into the Austrian Empire. During the nineteenth century the Czech lands rose as the industrial center of the monarchy and later as the nucleus of the Czechoslovak Republic that was created in 1918, the result of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the First World War. After 1933, Czechoslovakia was the only democracy in all of Central and Eastern Europe.

After the Munich Accords in 1938, the Polish annexation of the Zaolzie area and the German occupation of Czechoslovakia and the consequent disillusionment of the Czechs with the poor response of the West, the communists won their favor by liberating the country from the Nazi yoke during the Second World War. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections and in the 1948 Prague Coup the country became governed by communism. However, the growing dissatisfaction of the people led to the reform of the regime, which culminated in the so-called Prague Spring of 1968 and led to the invasion of the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact, troops who remained in the country until the Revolution Velvet 1989, when the communist regime collapsed. On January 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia was divided peacefully into its two constituent states, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

In 2006, the Czech Republic became the first former member of the Comecon to achieve the full status of a developed country according to the World Bank, and the country has the highest rate of human development in all of Central and Eastern Europe. considered a State with "Very high human development". It is the ninth most peaceful country in Europe, the most democratic and the one with the lowest infant mortality in its region. The Czech Republic is a representative parliamentary democracy, a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group.

 

Travel Destinations in Czech Republic

Central Bohemia (Czech Republic)

Prague
Kolín
Kutná Hora
Mělník
Nymburk
Beroun
Kralupy nad Vltavou
Mladá Boleslav
Poděbrady
Příbram
Zruč nad Sázavou
Říčany
Bertramka Mozart Museum
Břevnov Monastery
Karlštejn Castle
Kokořín Castle
Křivoklát Castle
Koněprusy Caves
Okoř Castle
Točník Castle
Troja Palace
Vyšehrad Castle
Zbraslav Château

 

South Bohemia (Czech Republic)

Tábor
Český Krumlov
České Budějovice
Třeboň
Slavonice
Písek
Jindřichův Hradec
Holašovice
Nové Hrady
Orlík Castle
Rožmberk nad Vltavou
Strakonice Castle
Šumava National Park
Vyšší Brod Monastery
Zlatá Koruna Monastery
Zvíkov Castle

 

West Bohemia (Czech Republic)

Cheb

Františkovy Lázně

Karlovy Vary

Lázně Kynžvart

Loket

Mariánské Lázně

Plzeň

Černé Jezero

Rabí Castle

Švihov Castle

Velhartice Castle

 

North Bohemia (Czech Republic)

Liberec

Ústí nad Labem

Most

Děčín

Chomutov

Teplice

Litoměřice

Žatec

Česká Lípa

Rumburk

Bezděz Castle

České Švýcarsko National Park

Český Ráj

Hauenštejn Castle

Kost Castle

 

East Bohemia (Czech Republic)

Hradec Králové

Špindlerův Mlýn

Adršpach-Teplice Rocks

Krkonoše National Park

 

Highlands (Czech Republic)

Jihlava
Chotěboř
Havlíčkův Brod
Humpolec
Nové Město na Moravě
Pelhřimov
Telč
Třebíč
Třešt
Velká Bíteš
Velké Meziříčí
Žďár nad Sázavou

 

North Moravia and Silesia (Czech Republic)

Ostrava

Olomouc

Český Těšín

Havířov

Jeseník

Litovel

Opava

Příbor

Prostějov

Uničov

Bouzov Castle

Brníčko Castle

Helfštýn Castle

Sovinec Castle

 

South Moravia (Czech Republic)

Brno

Vranov nad Dyji

Blansko

Kroměříž

Luhačovice

Mikulov

Novosedly na Moravě

Rakvice

Znojmo

Zlín

Boskovice Castle

Landštejn Castle

Pernštejn Castle

Podyjí National Park

Slavkov Castle

 

Etymology

The name of the country comes from the ethnonym of the Slavic tribe of Czechs, known since the 5th century. In turn, the ethnonym "Czech" is formed using the diminutive formant *-xъ from Praslav. *čel-, reflected in the words *čelověkъ and *čelędь, that is, the internal form of this word is “member of the genus”.

In Roman sources of the 1st century AD the territory is referred to as "Boigem" (Boiohaemum) - "country of the Boii" (Celtic tribe), whence the name "Bohemia" came from.

 

History

In 846, Prince Mojmir I of the Great Moravian Empire extended his power to the territory of the Czech Republic. At the end of the 9th century, the Czech lands were united by the Přemyslids. In the "Czech Chronicle" of Cosmas of Prague, one can read: "In the summer of the Nativity of Christ 894. Borzhivoi, the first prince of the holy Christian faith, was baptized." The question of the reliability of this fact is controversial.

The Kingdom of Bohemia (Bohemia) had considerable power, but religious conflicts (the Hussite Wars in the 15th century and the Thirty Years' War in the 17th century) weakened and devastated it. Later, it fell under the influence of the Habsburgs and became part of Austria-Hungary, becoming the crown lands of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia.

Following the collapse of this state after the First World War, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Subcarpathian Rus united and formed the independent Republic of Czechoslovakia in 1918. This country had a large enough ethnic German minority that was the reason for the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, when Germany achieved the annexation of the Sudetenland as a result of the Munich Agreement of 1938, which led to the separation of Slovakia. The remaining Czech state was occupied by Germany in 1939 and became known as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

In May 1945, the Prague Uprising took place in Prague. On the morning of May 6, the advanced units of the 1st division of the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia (KONR), under the command of Major General Bunyachenko, entered into the first battles with the SS men near Zbraslav and Radotin, and then the entire division entered the city, occupying the southern, southwestern and western districts of Prague. At 3 am on May 9, 1945, the advanced units of the 3rd Guards and 4th Guards Tank Armies of the 1st Ukrainian Front entered Prague.

After World War II, Czechoslovakia fell into the Soviet sphere of influence and became a socialist country (Czechoslovakia).

In 1968, the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops ended the attempts of the country's leaders under the leadership of Aleksander Dubcek to liberalize party rule and create "socialism with a human face" during the Prague Spring.

In 1989, Czechoslovakia turned off the path of socialist development as a result of the Velvet Revolution. On January 1, 1993, the country was peacefully divided into two, with the formation of independent Czech Republic and Slovakia ("velvet divorce").

The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. Simultaneously with the accession to the EU, the Czech Republic signed the Schengen Agreement, and from December 21, 2007, border control at the land borders of the Czech Republic was abolished. On March 31, 2008, the control was also canceled on flights arriving from the Schengen countries. Since January 1, 2009, the Czech Republic has been the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for 6 months (until June 1, 2009).

 

State structure

The Czech Republic is a parliamentary republic. The head of state is the president, who is elected by popular direct suffrage. He was given special powers: to propose judges to the Constitutional Court, to dissolve parliament under certain conditions, to veto laws. He also appoints the Chairman of the Government of the Czech Republic (Prime Minister), who sets the direction of domestic and foreign policy, as well as other members of the government cabinet on the proposal of the Prime Minister. Initially, the president was elected by the parliament, but since 2012, the Czech Republic has a law on direct popular elections of the president of the country. The first general presidential election was held in January 2013.

The Czech Parliament is bicameral, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies (Poslanecká sněmovna) and the Senate (Senát). The 200 deputies of the Chamber are elected for a 4-year term, on the basis of proportional representation. The 81 members of the Senate serve for a 6-year term, with a third of the membership being re-elected every two years on the basis of majoritarian elections held in two rounds.

The Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic is the highest legislative body of the state, which can raise the issue of confidence in the Government (at the request of at least 50 deputies). A bill passed by the Chamber of Deputies may not be approved by the Senate. Unlike the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies can be dissolved by the president even before the expiration of the term of office, and early elections are called.

The Government of the Czech Republic operates on the basis of Law No. 2/1969 "On the establishment of ministries and other central government bodies of the Czech Socialist Republic" with subsequent additions. As of 2013, there are 14 ministries and 11 other central government bodies (for example, the Central Government Office or the Czech Statistical Office). The Central Office of the State also includes various administrative bodies with powers at the national level, reporting to one of the ministries not mentioned in the Act (for example, the Czech Trade Inspectorate or the Central Land Office). The same law defines the scope of activities and responsibilities of ministries.

The body of constitutional review, the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic, is appointed by the President and its members serve for 10 years.

In the 2021 elections to the Chamber of Deputies, the votes were distributed as follows:
Coalition "Together" (ODS, KDU-ČSL and TOP 09) - 27.79% (71 mandates),
ANO 2011 - 27.12% (72 mandates),
Coalition "Pirates and Headmen" (Czech Pirate Party and Headmen and Independents) - 15.62% (37 mandates),
"Freedom and Direct Democracy" - 9.56% (20 seats).

The remaining political subjects scored less than 5% each.

Voters participated: 65.43%.

Legal system
The highest judicial body is the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic, the courts of appeal are the higher courts (Vrchní soud), the courts of first instance are the regional courts (Krajský soud), the lowest level of the judicial system is the district courts (Okresní soud), the body of prosecutorial supervision is the Supreme Prosecutor's Office ( Nejvyšší státní zastupitelství), supreme prosecutor's offices (vrchní státní zastupitelství), regional prosecutor's offices (krajské státní zastupitelství), district prosecutor's offices (okresní státní zastupitelství).

Political parties
Czech Social Democratic Party, Communist Party of Czech Republic and Moravia, Civic Democratic Party, ANO 2011, Czech Pirate Party, Christian Democratic Union - Czechoslovak People's Party, TOP 09 and others.

Administrative division
The Czech Republic consists of the capital (hlavní město) and 13 regions (kraje, singular - kraj):

The regions are divided into districts (okresy) and statutory cities (statutární město), districts are divided into cities (město) and communities (obec), statutory cities are divided into urban districts (městský obvod). The capital is divided into city districts and city parts (městská část).

The representative bodies of the regions are regional representations (zastupitelstva krajů), consisting of representatives (zastupitelé). The executive bodies of the regions are the regional councils (rada kraje), consisting of the regional hetman (krajský hejtman) and regional advisers, and the regional administrations (krajské úřady), consisting of regional professional officials (zaměstnanci kraje).

The representative bodies of cities are city representative offices (zastupitelstva měst), consisting of representatives (zastupitelé). The executive bodies of cities are city councils (rada města), consisting of a primator (primátor) in large cities or a headman - in small cities, and city councilors, as well as city governments (městské úřady) (in statutory cities - magistrates (magistrát)), consisting from professional city officials.

The representative bodies of the communities are representative offices of the communities (zastupitelstva obcí), consisting of representatives (zastupitelé). The executive bodies of the communities are community councils (rada obce), consisting of the headman (starosta) and community councilors, and community administrations (obecní úřady), consisting of community professional officials (zaměstnanci obce).

The representative bodies of city districts are district representations (obvodní zastupitelstva), the executive bodies are district administrations (obvodní úřady) headed by district elders.

The representative bodies of the city parts are the representations of the city parts (zastupitelstvo městské části), the executive bodies are the administrations of the city parts (úřad městské části) headed by the mayors of the city parts.

 

Geography

The territory of the Czech Republic is 78.9 thousand square kilometers, the length from east to west is 493 km, and from north to south - 278 km. The Czech landscape is very diverse. The western part (Bohemia) lies in the basins of the Laba (Elbe) and Vltava (Moldau) rivers, surrounded mainly by low mountains (the Sudetes and their part - the Krkonoše), where the highest point of the country is located - Mount Snezka, 1603 m high. Moravia, eastern part , is also quite hilly and mainly lies in the Morava (March) river basin. The source of the river Odra (Oder) is located in Moravia.

The rivers from the landlocked Czech Republic flow into three seas: the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea.

The country's climate is temperate with warm summers and cold, cloudy and wet winters, determined by a mixture of maritime and continental influences. The weather in the Czech Republic in summer is quite stable and pleasant, as the mountains surrounding the Czech Republic along the entire perimeter do not allow the penetration of winds. In winter, a sufficient amount of snow falls in the mountains, which allows several ski resorts to operate, both in the south and in the north of the country.

 

Economy

The Czech Republic is an industrial country. The main industries are fuel and energy, metallurgy, mechanical engineering, chemical, light and food industries.

Among all the post-communist states, the Czech Republic has one of the most stable and successful economic systems. Its basis is industry (engineering, electrical engineering and electronics, chemistry, food industry, ferrous metallurgy) and the service sector. The share of agriculture and forestry, as well as the mining industry, is insignificant and continues to decrease.

After the fall of socialism in 1989, the Czech Republic inherited from Czechoslovakia an economic structure that, under the new conditions, turned out to be energy inefficient, non-environmental and outdated from the industry point of view. A disproportionately large share was occupied by ferrous metallurgy using imported raw materials, heavy engineering and the military industry. The range of manufactured goods significantly exceeded the objective capabilities of the country, which led to small-scale production and a decrease in its efficiency. Foreign trade was subject to the directives of the CMEA, focused on the needs of the USSR and, compared with developed countries, was insignificant.

Even before the collapse of Czechoslovakia (CSFR in recent years), some fundamental changes were made in 1990-1992 - the abolition of centralized regulation of most wholesale and retail prices, the introduction of freedom of private enterprise, the elimination of the monopoly of foreign trade, etc. 90s of the XX century marked by significant changes in property relations - the so-called. small and large privatization, as well as the restitution of property nationalized after the establishment of the communist regime in 1948. As a result, the share of the state in GDP has decreased from 97% to less than 20%. The opening of the country to the influx of foreign capital caused a surge of foreign investment, in terms of which per capita the country is the undisputed leader not only in Central and Eastern Europe, but also internationally. This helped in a relatively short time to carry out the restructuring and modernization of industry and the development of the necessary technical and auxiliary infrastructure. The result of the changes was the reorientation of the economy from the USSR to Western Europe.

In 1995, the Czech Republic was the first among all former communist countries to be admitted to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The monetary unit of the Czech Republic is the kroon (1 kroon = 100 hellers), which since 1995 has been fully convertible. Unlike almost all other post-communist countries, the Czech Republic managed to avoid hyperinflation and sharp devaluations of the national currency. After some weakening of the krone in the late 1990s, by now its exchange rate against the main world currencies has noticeably increased.

Following the initial difficulties caused by the collapse of the CMEA, the division of the country and the change in the structure of the economy, and subsequent growth, the Czech economy in 1997-1998 experienced a certain crisis, from which it began to emerge only from mid-1999. The result was an increase in foreign debt and a jump in unemployment. The crisis was overcome by increasing exports to market economy countries, primarily the European Union (and Germany within its framework), attracting foreign investment and increasing domestic consumption. After joining the European Union in May 2004, the economic growth of the Czech Republic accelerated markedly and, despite the largely populist economic policies of several governments of the Social Democrats, reached 6-7% per year.

The share of industry in GDP, which reached 62% by 1990, initially fell by half, and is currently growing and reaches 38%, which is very rare among developed countries. Ferrous metallurgy and the military industry have lost their importance due to the automotive and electrical industries, thanks to the development of which the Czech Republic has had a positive foreign trade balance since 2004, despite the rapid rise in prices for imported energy carriers (oil and gas). In terms of foreign trade per capita, the country is one of the leaders, ahead of Japan, Great Britain, France or Italy.

The development of the Czech economy in 2009 was strongly affected by the global financial crisis. In the first half of 2010, the country's economy began to gradually emerge from the crisis. As of 2020, among all the post-communist countries of the world, the Czech Republic has the third highest net average wage (after Estonia - €1195.08 and Slovenia - €1181.35) and the net minimum (after Slovenia - €700 and Estonia — €550.38). In the fourth quarter of 2020, the average wage in the Czech Republic was 38,525 Kč (€1,469.38 gross) and 30,816 Kč (€1,175.35 net). From January 1, 2021, the minimum wage in the Czech Republic was 15,200 Kč (€580.99 gross) and 13,528 Kč (€517.08 net). From January 1, 2022, the minimum wage in the Czech Republic is 16,200 Kč (€662.81, gross) and 14,308 Kč (€585.56, net). In the fourth quarter of 2021, the average wage in the Czech Republic was 40,135 Kč (€1,597.88 gross) and 32,259 Kč (€1,283.68 net).

 

Population
The population of the Czech Republic is about 10.5 million people. The basis of the population of the Czech Republic (95%) are ethnic Czechs who speak the Czech language, which belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. Foreigners make up about 4% of the country's population. Among immigrants, the largest diaspora in the Czech Republic is made up of citizens of Ukraine, who, as of August 31, 2011, lived in the country 110,733 (▼15,788 from August 2010). In second place are the Slovaks (for the year ▲8248, total 79,924), many of whom, after the separation in 1993, remained in the Czech Republic and make up approximately 2% of the population. On the third place are the citizens of Vietnam (total 56,716, ▼3889). They are followed by citizens of Russia (total 29,336, ▼1958) and Poland (18,942). Other ethnic groups include Germans (13,577), Roma, Jews and Hungarians.

According to the language, the Czechs belong to the West Slavic peoples. The early works of Czech writing of the 13th-14th centuries were based on the language of central Bohemia, but as the influence of the Catholic Church, German feudal lords and the patriciate of cities grew stronger in the country, the Czech language began to be oppressed in favor of German and Latin. During the period of the Hussite wars, literacy and the literary Czech language became widespread among the masses. Then came the two-century decline of Czech culture under the rule of the Habsburgs, who pursued a policy of Germanizing the subject Slavic peoples (by the middle of the 19th century, 15% of the population spoke Czech, and the possibility of taking one of the Slavic languages ​​as a literary language was considered - in particular, the Russian literary language). The Czech language began to revive only at the end of the 18th century; its basis was the literary language of the 16th century, which explains the presence in the modern Czech language of many archaisms, in contrast to the living spoken language. The spoken language is divided into several groups of dialects: Czech, Middle Moravian and East Moravian.

The Czech Republic is one of the densely populated states. The average population density is 130 people / km². The distribution of the population on the territory of the republic is relatively even. The most densely populated areas of large urban agglomerations are Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Pilsen (up to 250 people per 1 km²). The regions of Cesky Krumlov and Prachatice have the lowest population density (about 37 people per 1 km²). As of 1991, there were 5479 settlements in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic belongs to highly urbanized countries: about 71% of the population lives in cities and towns, while more than 50% live in cities with a population of over 20 thousand inhabitants, the share of the rural population continues to decline. In the only metropolis of the Czech Republic - Prague - there are 1,252,000 permanent residents (as of September 30, 2014). As of 2006, there are 5 cities in the Czech Republic with a population of more than 100,000 inhabitants (Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Pilsen, Olomouc), 17 cities with a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants, and 44 cities with a population of more than 20,000 inhabitants.

The total population of the Czech Republic, having reached a post-war maximum in 1991 - 10,302 thousand people, then slowly decreased until 2003, when it amounted to just over 10,200 thousand people, but since then there has been a slight increase to 10,530 thousand people - mainly due to an increase in the flow of migrants (primarily from Ukraine, Slovakia, Russia, Poland and the countries of the former Yugoslavia). Natural population growth was negative in the period 1994-2005, in 2006 there is some positive growth due to an increase in the birth rate and a decrease in mortality. At the same time, the level of female fertility is insufficient for the reproduction of the population (about 1.2 children per 1 woman of reproductive age). In recent years, the Czech Republic has become one of the states with the lowest level of infant mortality (less than 4 per 1,000 births).

Most of the population - 64.5% - is in the productive age (from 15 to 65 years), while 15.7% of Czech citizens are under 15 years old, and 19.8% are over 65 years old. In the productive age, the number of men slightly exceeds the number of women, but in the post-productive age, women noticeably predominate (there is one man for every two women). The average age of the population of the Czech Republic is 39.3 years (women - 41.1 years, men - 37.5 years). Average life expectancy is 75.2 years for men and 81.1 years for women (as of 2013).

Most of the adult population is married, although the proportion of singles is relatively high: one in five men and one in eight women are unmarried. Currently, men marry at 28 and women at 26, which is close to the European trend (for comparison: in 1993, these figures were 23 and 19 years, respectively). The first child appears in the family most often within six months after the wedding. Czech families are characterized by a high divorce rate.

 

The economically active population is 51.5% of the total. The peculiarity of the Czech Republic among other countries is the high level of employment of women, who make up about 48% of the total economically active population. Most of the women work in the service industries such as healthcare, education, trade and catering. Most women work out of economic necessity in order to maintain the family's standard of living. The unemployment rate is 2.1% (Q3/2019), which is noticeably lower than in 1999-2004. (up to 10.5%).

A significant part of the Czechs live outside the Czech Republic - in Austria, Germany, the USA, Canada, Australia and other countries. This is the result of economic migration in search of work, which took on noticeable proportions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and political emigration after the political upheaval of 1948 and the events of 1968.

Illiteracy in the Czech Republic is almost non-existent (occasionally found among older gypsies). A high level of literacy was typical of Czechs even during the First Republic (1918-1938): at that time, about 95% of all residents had a basic education. In recent years, the level of education has increased markedly. Every third economically active resident of the Czech Republic has completed secondary education (corresponding to the level of 12-13 years of education), and every tenth citizen of the Czech Republic has or is receiving higher education. A typical worker has at least a secondary vocational training. The high qualification of Czech workers is one of the main advantages of the Czech economy. So far, the country lags behind the most developed European countries in terms of the proportion of the population with completed secondary and higher education.

As of 2012, 435,900 foreigners lived in the Czech Republic on long-term and permanent residence permits. In 2007, 104,400 foreign citizens arrived in the Czech Republic for residence, while the positive balance of migration amounted to 83,900 people, which is an absolute record in history, the second place in terms of a positive balance of migration is held by 2008, with an indicator of 71,790 people. According to the Czech Statistical Office, by the end of 2008, 438,301 foreigners lived in the Czech Republic, of which 265,374 had the status of long-term residence, the rest of the foreigners had the status of permanent residence.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, in 2009 the population of the Czech Republic reached 10.5 million people. Compared to the figure for 2008, the number of immigrants has halved, amounting to 40 thousand people, while the number of emigrants has doubled, reaching 11.6 thousand people.

In connection with the economic crisis of 2008-2009. The Czech Republic is implementing measures aimed at reducing the number of foreign workers in the country. The state encourages the departure of immigrants by fully paying for the trip or flight home of those who agree to leave the country, in addition to a one-time allowance of 500 euros.

 

Education

Higher educational institutions - universities and higher schools (Vysoká škola) and higher vocational schools (Vyšší odborná škola), secondary specialized educational institutions - secondary specialized schools (Střední odborná škola) secondary general educational institutions - gymnasiums (Gymnázium), elementary educational institutions - primary schools (Základni škola).

Czech universities
Public higher education institutions are funded from the budget and offer free education in the Czech language.

Applications for major specialties, except for creative ones, are accepted from October of the year preceding admission until the end of February or March. Entrance exams are held in May-June. Acceptance of applications to universities in creative specialties takes place in the fall and entrance exams at the beginning of the year (January-February). Exams in creative specialties include a mandatory creative exam. For incoming applicants from countries other than Slovakia, nostrification of the document on the last level of education is required. This requirement applies to both state and commercial universities.

There are currently 28 publicly funded universities and institutes in the Czech Republic.

The most famous:
Charles University in Prague
Masaryk University
Technical University in Brno
University of Economics in Prague
Czech Technical University in Prague
Czech Agrotechnical University in Prague
Academy of Musical Arts in Prague

Commercial higher education institutions are financed by private capital and train students on condition of payment for each period of study (semester, year); fees range from CZK 15,000-20,000 to CZK 90,000 per semester (e.g. Architectural Institute in Prague ARCHIP)

There are about 45-50 commercial universities. They are located mainly in Prague and Brno.

 

Religion

According to the 2011 census, 34.5% of Czech citizens do not identify themselves with any religion or church. In a survey conducted in 2005, only 19% of those surveyed reported that they believe in God, 50% reported that they believe in some natural or spiritual power, and 30% that they do not believe in any of this. The largest number of believers are Catholics (half of all believers, but only 10.4% of the total population as of 2005), the next largest group are Protestants (0.8%). Among the Protestant churches, the history of the Czech (Moravian) Brethren or Hernguters is closely connected with the Czech Republic.

There are also Christian communities of other denominations, the largest of which is the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, formed as an independent church after the break with the Roman Catholic Church in 1920, which focuses on the historical Hussite movement, and reveres Jan Hus as its spiritual mentor.

According to the 2011 census, there were 20,553 Orthodox in the Czech Republic (or 0.2% of the total population). The Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia was formed in 1924 as a result of a split in the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, around the Hussite (originally Catholic) priest Matej Pavlik, who left this church and converted to Orthodoxy, and a group of his supporters. Today it is autocephalous and consists of four dioceses, of which there are two in the Czech Republic with 78 parishes (as of 2007).

Most believers are in Moravia, a little less in the east and south of the Czech Republic. The largest percentage of atheists is in large cities, especially in North Bohemia.

 

Culture

List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic
List of National Cultural Monuments of the Czech Republic
Czech architecture
Music of the Czech Republic
Czech literature
Czech cuisine

Cinema
Czech cinema gained international recognition in the 1960s during the Czechoslovak New Wave. Films such as The Store in the Square (1965), Trains Under Close Watch (1966) and Kolya (1996) won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and six more people made the list of nominees. .

Organizations
The Czech Red Cross (ČKK) (Český červený kříž) is a humanitarian organization operating throughout the Czech Republic. In its activities, the ChKK concentrates on humanitarian issues and the provision of medical and social assistance to the population.

The Czech Red Cross continues the activities of its predecessors - the Patriotic Relief Society of the Czech Kingdom (Czech. Vlastenecký pomocný spolek pro Království české, founded on September 5, 1868) and the Czechoslovak Red Cross (founded on February 6, 1919).

The Czech Republic is a member of the Council of Europe and the United Nations.

Unions
The largest trade union center is the Czech Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (Českomoravská konfederace odborových svazů).

 

Sport

The Czech national football team (2nd place at the 1996 European Football Championship and semi-finalist in 2004) and the Czech national ice hockey team (six-time world champion) are known throughout the world.

Among the sports in which the Czechs traditionally occupy a leading position, one can note not only ice hockey, football, all-around and water slalom, but many others.

Decathlon
For a long time, the Czech Republic was the leader in this sport. The pioneer of the decathlon is Robert Zmelik, who won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. The example of Zmelik showed the whole world that not only the physical strength of an athlete is important for victory, but also his psychological attitude and endurance.

The next decathlete who continued the glorious tradition of Czech victories in this sport was Tomas Dvořák. A two-time world champion, European decathlon champion, bronze medal winner at the Atlanta Olympics, Dvorak could have continued his sports career if not for health problems that began in 2000. However, by that time a worthy replacement had already been prepared for this outstanding athlete in the person of Roman Shebrle. It was he who managed to break Dvorak's record of 9000 points, bringing this mark to 9026. This significant event took place on May 27, 2001 in the Austrian city of Götzis. At the next competition, held in 2001 in Edmonton, Canada, Shebrle arrived already among the favorites. However, by that time, Dvorak had returned to the sports arena, and in the same Edmonton he became a three-time world champion. Shebrla managed to take revenge at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where he took first place.

Rowing slalom
Many rivers and artificial canals (the main one being the Troy Canal) allow beginners to train, the most talented of which later form a worthy replacement for professionals.

Water slalom began to enjoy huge popularity in the Czech Republic after the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, the winner of which in this sport was Lukas Pollert. Four years later, Stepanka Hilgertova repeated his success and was subsequently awarded the title of First Lady of this Olympic discipline for 11 years. Her biggest sporting successes include: gold at the Olympic Games in Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000), a gold medal at the 1999 Seu de Urgell World Championships (four years later she repeated her success in the German Augsburg). In addition, she became the winner of the European Championship in Mezzano.

Rowing
Another traditional water sport in the Czech Republic is double canoeing. The most famous athletes who brought glory to the Czech Republic were Marek Giras and Tomas Mader, who received bronze at the Olympic Games in Sydney, and Jaroslav Wolf and Ondrej Stepanek, who repeated the success of their compatriots in Athens. All these athletes are considered representatives of the world sports elite.

Other sports
However, the most popular sports in the Czech Republic are still football and ice hockey, in which the Czechs hold the glory of being a superpower. In addition to a large number of organizations involved in the support and development of hockey and football, there are many amateur members of the Amateur League. Renting a football field or an ice rink in the Czech Republic is not a problem, so amateur competitions here are no less popular than more serious professional championships.

Interest in football and hockey is due not only to the long history of these sports in the Czech Republic, but also to the relatively recent fashion for them. This fashion was formed both under the influence of the media and interest from wealthy sponsors.

The victories won by Czech teams in football and hockey competitions (especially the latter) are always celebrated by the inhabitants of the country as a great holiday, and the athletes themselves become its main characters. For example, after the Czech ice hockey team brought gold from the Olympic Games in Nagano in 1998, a joyfully excited crowd of fans gathered on the Old Town Square in Prague, chanting: "Hashek - to the castle!" The slogan was a paraphrase of a famous expression from the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when people demanded that the then dissident and politician Vaclav Havel take a seat at Prague Castle as president.

The Czechs have achieved great success in tennis. Prominent tennis players Martina Navratilova and Ivan Lendl are Czechs by nationality.

In 2013, the Czech Republic (at the Nové Mesto na Morave stadium) hosted the Biathlon World Championship for the first time. Famous Czechs are the winners and medalists of the biathlon world championships in the 2000s: Yaroslav Soukup (2012), Michal Slesingr (2007), Roman Dostal (2005), Zdenek Vitek and Katerina Golubtsova (2003). Gabriela Koukalova in 2016 became the owner of the Big Crystal Globe in this sport.

 

Ecology

In most of the Czech Republic, air and water are seriously polluted by industrial enterprises, motor vehicles and household emissions. The industrial zone of Ostrava stands out especially strongly, where metallurgical enterprises are located. The air there is so polluted that it significantly affects life expectancy (in the Ostrava agglomeration, according to estimates, it is about 1.8 years lower than the average for the Czech Republic). The air in Prague and Brno is also significantly polluted, in particular, with benzpyrene.

The widespread use of chemical products, products and plastic on a huge scale negatively affects the health of the population, many suffer from a runny nose and allergies.

The Spolkhimiya plant in Usti nad Labem released 677 kg of mercury and its compounds into the air in 2013 alone. Jihlava is home to Europe's largest chipboard plant, which emits formaldehyde into the air.

Soils in the Jihlava riverbed contain high concentrations of lead and copper.

In Dukovany (South Moravia), in addition to the nuclear power plant, there is a storage facility for nuclear waste.