Czech Republic

Article

December 8, 2021

Czech Republic (Czech: Česko), officially the Czech Republic (Czech: Česká republika) pronunciation, is a country in Central Europe. It is located in central Europe, and borders Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the north. The Czech Republic includes the historic landscapes of Bohemia (Čechy), Moravia (Morava) and parts of Silesia (Slezsko). The country's capital and largest city is Prague. Other major cities are Brno, Ostrava, Zlín, Plzeň, Pardubice, Hradec Králové, České Budějovice, Liberec, Olomouc and Ústí nad Labem. In the ninth century, the kingdom of Bohemia arose during the Přemyslid dynasty, where in the 14th century Prague became a political and cultural center of the German-Roman Empire. The kingdom had its golden age in the 14th century under King Charles IV, but due to several epidemics (such as the Black Death), famine and the Hussite wars of the 15th century and the Thirty Years' War of the 17th century, the kingdom slowly began to collapse. The Czech landscapes came under the Habsburgs from 1526 and later became part of the empire of Austria and Austria-Hungary. The Independent Republic of Czechoslovakia was established in 1918 as a result of the dissolution of Austria-Hungary after the First World War. As the only well-functioning democracy in Central Europe in the interwar period, the country was characterized by economic progress and political stability, but also by internal strife between the ethnic groups. Following the Munich Agreement in 1938, Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in 1939. In 1945, the country was liberated by the US Army and the Soviet Red Army, and in the 1946 election, the Communists gained a majority. After the coup in 1948, Czechoslovakia became a communist "Eastern bloc country" under Soviet control. After attempts to reform the communist dictatorship regime in the spring of 1968, military forces from the Warsaw Pact invaded the country in the autumn of the same year. As a result of the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the dictatorship of the Czechoslovak Communist Party collapsed and was replaced by a democratically elected government. On January 1, 1993, the country was peacefully divided into the Czech and Slovak republics. Since then, the Czech Republic has become a parliamentary representative democracy consisting of fourteen regions that are members of the EU. The country is a member of NATO, the UN, the OECD, the WTO and several other international organizations. The Czech Republic has implemented economic reforms such as rapid privatization and flat taxes. Annual GDP growth is around 6%. The country was the first former member of Comecon to achieve the status of a developed country (2006) according to the World Bank. The Czech Republic also ranks best on the HDI index compared to the other former Comecon countries.

Etymology

The Czech form of the Norwegian short form Czech Republic is Česko, but since this form is unpopular, the official term Česká republika, "The Czech Republic", is often used.

Natural Geography

The Czech Republic is located in the middle of Central Europe and borders Austria to the south, Germany to the west and northwest, Poland to the northeast and Slovakia to the southeast. The country has a varied landscape and is mainly divided into the two areas of Bohemia and Moravia. Bohemia in the west is an area that is drained by the river Labe (Elbe) and its tributaries, such as the Vltava and Ohře. Bohemia is surrounded by low mountains such as the Sudetenland. Krkonoše is part of the Sudetenland, and here is the highest point in the country, Sněžka, at 1,603 meters. Moravia, the eastern part, is also relatively hilly and is mainly drained by the river Morava, but the river Odra (Oder) also has its source here. The water from the Czech Republic flows into three different seas: the North Sea (Elbe), the Baltic Sea (Oder) and the Black Sea (Morava via the Danube). Bohemia and Moravia are separated by low hills (the Bohemian-Moravian highlands) that form the watershed between the Elbe and Danube catchments. The Czech Republic is surrounded by the Sudetenland in the north, the Ore Mountains (Krušné hory) in the northwest and the Bohemian Forest (Šumava).

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