The landlocked Czech Republic is situated in Central Europe, sharing its borders with Poland, Germany, Slovakia and Austria.
It was originally part of the country of Czechoslovakia, of which Slovakia was part of. This now-dissolved country came under communist rule in 1948 and would remain so until the peaceful Velvet Revolution in 1989. Four years later, Czechoslovakia was split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.
Today, the Czech Republic enjoys a developed export-oriented social market economy, as well as universal health care and tuition-free university schooling. It joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union (EU) in 2004.
Here are more interesting facts about this country.
Czech Republic Facts
1. The Global Peace Index listed the Czech Republic in its top 10 safest countries to live in in 2019
Considered to be one of the most peaceful European countries, the country has had a noteworthy rating in this annual index from the Institute for Economics and Peace, which rates countries according to militarisation, security and local and international conflict. In 2018, the Czech Republic was rated the 7th safest country in the word, in part due to a low crime rate, among others. Even though its rating dropped down 3 spots to 10th place in 2019, it is still home to several safe communities and has not been impacted on a large scale by terrorism, an interesting fact about Czech Republic.
2. Its official language is called Czech
The Czech language is spoken by approximately 96% of the Czech Republic’s residents. Other languages that are spoken in this country include Romany, Polish, German and Slovak (a language closely related to Czech).
3. The country’s capital, Prague, is known as the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’
It is believed that Prague got its nickname from Czech writer Josef Hormayer at the beginning of the 19th century. Formerly, Prague had 103 spires, according to Czech mathematician Bernard Bolzano, Today, Prague has over 500 spires, a fun Czech Republic fact.
4. Prague’s Old Town Square is home to several well-known landmarks, statues and memorials
This historic square is situated between Wenceslas Square and the famous Charles Bridge with its statues of Catholic saints. Several notable landmarks can be found here, such as Prague Orloj, a medieval astronomical clock found at the Old Town Hall, and the Jan Hus Memorial, a monument honouring its religious crusader namesake.
5. There are over 200 castles in the Czech Republic – and one of them is listed in the Guinness Book of Records
Certainly one of the most impressive of these castles is Prague Castle. Not only is it the most visited castle in the country – it has also been listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ancient castle in the world, spanning an impressive 70,000 square metres.
6. Český Krumlov’s historic centre is a Czech UNESCO World Heritage Site
This town’s historic centre received the status of World Heritage site in 1992, together with the Prague castle district. It is home to several historic sites, including Český Krumlov Castle and its Baroque theatre. Over and above its World Heritage Site status, Český Krumlov is also the Czech Republic’s second most popular tourist destination, an interesting fact about Czech Republic.
7. The country has a wall named after the famous singer and songwriter John Lennon
The John Lennon wall, located in Prague, symbolised freedom and rebellion against communist rule during the 1980s. Inspired by Lennon’s views on peace and equality for all people, young people would write their complaints on the wall to express their frustrations. Today, people can still leave inspiration messages on the wall, although abrasive materials are not allowed. This is to protect the current art depicted on the wall, a fun Czech Republic fact.
8. Mount Sněžka has the country’s highest peak
Located on the border between the Czech Republic and Poland, Mount Sněžka has a peak stretching up to 1,602 metres (5,259 ft.). Those who are keen to explore this famous landmark can make use of the available paths or ski lift from Pec pod Sněžkou to Růžová hora (Rose Mountain) and then onward to the peak.
9. Bata shoes are originally from the Czech Republic
The Baťa Shoe Company was founded by Tomáš Baťa, his brother Antonín and his sister Anna on 24 August 1894 in Zlin, a city in south-eastern Moravia. The siblings’ family had been shoemakers for several generations. Today, there are about 5,300 Bata stores across the globe and a Bata sales presence in about 70 countries.
10. The country’s Charles University is one of the oldest universities in the world
Founded in 1348 as the first university in Europe, Charles University is regarded as one of the best Czech universities, an interesting fact about Czech Republic. It is the largest university in the country. Presently, it has 17 faculties, of which 14 are situated in Prague, 2 in Hradec Králové and 1 in Plzeň.
11. Czech-based automobile brand Škoda Auto is one of the largest manufacturers in Europa
Škoda Auto cars are sold in about 100 countries. Founded in 1895, it was originally called Laurin & Klement. It was acquired by Škoda Works, an industrial conglomerate, in 1925 and eventually became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group. In 2018, Škoda Auto’s total global sales were approximately 1.25 million units.
12. Famous retired tennis stars Ivan Lendl was born in the Czech Republic
Lendl was born in Ostrava into a tennis-playing family. His mother, Olga, was at one stage ranked the second-best female player in the country. Among his many tennis accolades, Lendl was rated world no.1 for 270 weeks (based on the Association of Tennis Professionals’ (ATP) merit-based method for ranking). He also won 94 singles titles.
Picturesque and culturally rich, the Czech Republic is a country that has triumphed above communist rule. It has come into its own in the last 27 years and, on its current path, it is set to continue to flourish for years to come.
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