Prague (Praha in Czech) is the capital
and largest city of the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union (since 2004). Situated on the Vltava river, it is home to approximately 1.2 million inhabitants. (It can be derived from job statistics, however, that an additional 300,000 people work here without having registered as residents). Around 95 per cent of this population are Czechs. The average Czech has 1.2 kids, will live 76 years. Prague covers an area of 497 sq km (192 sq ml), about two-thirds that of New York. Fewer than 30,000 people live in the historic centre of the city; the overwhelming majority inhabit ugly, (built during the Communist era) tall apartment blocks on the outskirts. Nicknames for Prague have included ‘city of a hundred spires’, ‘the golden city’, ‘the Paris of the Twenties in the Nineties’, the ‘mother of all cities’, and ‘the heart of Europe’. Since 1992, the historic centre of Prague has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Prague is a popular tourist destination. There are lots of old buildings, many with beautiful murals on them. It contains some of the world’s most well-preserved and varied collections of architecture, from art nouveau to baroque, cubist, Gothic, neo-classical and ultra-modern.
The currency is the Czech crown, symbol Kč or international symbol CZK. Exchange rates: 30 Kč for 1 British pound, 18 Kč for 1 USD and 24 Kč for 1 EUR.
Public transport: metro, tram, bus.
European Union member: Yes, since 1st May 2004.
Euro currency in use: No.
Country international calling code: 420.
Historical centre: Old Town (Stare Mesto), Lesser Town (Mala Strana), Prague Castle (Hradcany), New Town (Nove Mesto), Vysehrad.
Administrative division: 22 administrative areas.
Major industries: fuels, ferrous metallurgy, machinery and equipment, coal, motor vehicles, glass, armaments.
Religion: Atheist 39.8 percent, Roman Catholic 39.2 percent, Protestant 4.6 percent, Orthodox 3 percent, other 13.4 percent.
Ethnic groups: Czech 94.4 per cent; Slovak 3 per cent; Polish 0.6 per cent; German 0.5 per cent; Roma (Gypsies) 0.3 per cent; Hungarian 0.2 per cent; other 1 per cent.
For your information Prague is 1,377 km (853 ml) from London, 292 km (181 ml) from Vienna, 350 km (217 ml) from Berlin and 1,037 km (642 ml) from Paris. The Czech Republic is situated in central Europe, surrounded by hills and mountain ranges. It borders Germany to the west, Poland to the north, Slovakia to the east and Austria to the south. The country is composed of three historic regions: Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. However, there are 14 regions nowadays, each with its own county seat and administration. The area of the Czech Republic is 78,866 sq km. Prague is 496 sq km. The lowest point is 176 m (577 ft) above sea level; the highest 396 m (1,230 ft).
Location: 50°05’N and 14°27’E (centre of the Czech Republic).
Elevation: 180-399 m above sea level.
Most visitors to Prague are from Germany, the USA, Britain, Italy, Russia and even from Japan. Tourism makes up 5 per cent of the country’s GNP.
The time zone
is Central European Time: GMT+1; in summer GMT+2. (more info)
The approximate population
of the Czech Republic is 10.5 million inhabitants; 94 per cent of them are Czechs, 4 per cent Slovaks and there is also a small minority of Poles and Germans. Prague has a population close to 1.3 million inhabitants. The population of the Czech Republic is relatively homogenous.
Petty Crime – Pickpockets
Safety: Low rate of violent crime, a higher rate of petty crime like car theft and pick pocketing. Be careful, especially when using trams (numbers 22 and 23 are the most targeted). The most common method is for a gang of women to crowd the entrance to the tram and cause congestion. Even if you feel the hand of the pickpocket and yell they will hang on to your wallet and still get away with it. As the tram leaves they will simply laugh at you. However, the situation is rapidly improving and there are less and less cases. But still be aware.
The official language is Czech
English, German and Russian are widely spoken.
The climate of Prague
is a mild, continental climate: hot summers, cold winters (average temperature -0.9°C; summer average 19.0°C [Jul])
The electrical voltage
is 230 V-50/60 Hz. All sockets have two round female contacts (live left) and a round blanking/grounding protecting pin in the middle at the top.
The metric system is used in Czech Republic. Also we use commas rather than decimal points, and points for thousands.
The main religion of the Czech Republic is Christianity. Approximately 40 percent of the population are Roman Catholic. Protestant denominations account for about 3 percent of the population. About 5 percent of people in the Czech Republic are an atheist. Many of those who identify themselves as members of religious organizations do not practice their religion actively. Prior to World War II (1939-1945), the country had a large Jewish population. Most of the Jews died in the Holocaust, the Nazi campaign to exterminate the Jews of Europe. There are currently between 15,000 and 18,000 Jews living in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic is a parliament democracy whose head of state is a President, indirectly elected by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Parliament (Chamber of Deputies and the Senate) are elected in free elections; the government, headed by the Prime Minister is usually built as an outcome of coalition talks and appointed by the President, asking finally for confidence from Parliament.
Land and Resources
The total area of the Czech Republic is 78,864 sq km (30,450 sq ml). The maximum distance from east to west is about 490 km (about 305 ml), and the maximum distance from north to south is about 280 km (about 175 ml). Mountain ranges surround much of the country. If we focus just on Prague, it covers 10,000 ha (24,710 acres) of green space, consists of 31 km (19 ml) of rivers, 10 islands and 18 bridges. Prague also has around 550,000 road vehicles on the 2,570 km (1,593 ml) of roads.
The Czech Republic consists of two main regions: Bohemia, located in the west, and Moravia, located in the east. Part of the region of Silesia occupies the north central section of the country. The central part of the Czech Republic is dominated by the elevated plateaus of the Bohemian-Moravian highlands and the low plains and rolling hills of the Bohemian basin. A number of rivers drain these areas, and much of the country’s farmland is located there. Rising along the edges of these central regions and extending outward to form much of the country’s natural border are a number of mountain ranges. The Erzgebirge in the north and the Šumava Mountains in the west, are well known for their spas and ski resorts. The Šumava comprise part of the Böhmerwald (Bohemian Forest), a highland region located in the west and south-west that forms the country’s border with Germany. The Sudety Mountains are located in the north and form part of the border with Poland. The Sudety range includes the Krkonoše Mountains, which contain the country’s highest point, Snežka (1,603 m/5,259 ft). One of the country’s largest nature reserves is also located in the Sudety range. Extending along the Czech-Slovak border in the south-eastern part of the country is a section of the Carpathian Mountains. Also located in the south-east are the Moravian lowlands, which contain the fertile valley of the Morava river where a variety of crops are grown.
Rivers and Lakes
There are many rivers, lakes, ponds and dams in the Czech Republic. The main rivers of the Czech Republic are the Elbe (known locally as the Labe and the longest), the Vltava, the Ohre, the Morava, the Lužnice, the Jihlava, and the Svratka. The Sázava, Odra (Oder), and Opava rivers are also important. The most famous reservoir dams are called Slapy, Upno, Orlík and Vranov.
The Czech Republic is famous for a large number of springs and spas. Well-known spas are to be found in the towns of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, Františkovy Lázně and Luhačovice.
Population and Settlement
10.2 million people. About 90 percent are ethnic Czechs, who speak Czech. Unlike some of their neighbors (including the very Catholic Poles and Slovaks), Czechs are inclined to be agnostic: One in four is Roman Catholic, but the majority (60 percent) list their religion as unaffiliated.
The Czech people are descended from Slavic tribes who arrived at Bohemia and Moravia in the fifth century AD. The Czechs are the country’s dominant ethnic group, representing about 94 per cent of the population, followed by Slovaks with about 3 per cent; Poles, Germans, Roma (Gypsies), and Hungarians comprise most of the remainder
The Czech flag is red (bottom), white (top), and blue (a triangle along the hoist side).
Major Cities in the Czech Republic
Prague (population, 1999 estimate, 1,193,270) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Other important cities include Brno (384,727), an educational and industrial centre; Ostrava (322,111), a centre for metal industries; Plzen (168,422), noted for its breweries; and Olomouc (103,372), a trade and industrial centre.