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The temperate climate means that winters are cold and summers hot. Spring and summer have the highest rainfall.
Mediumweights, heavy topcoat and sturdy shoes for winter; lightweights for summer.
78,866 sq km (30,450 sq miles).
133.1 per sq km.
Republic since 1993.
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country situated in central Europe, sharing frontiers with Germany in the west, Poland in the north, the Slovak Republic in the east, and Austria in the south. Covering only about one-third of the area of the United Kingdom, the country is hilly and picturesque.The western two-thirds of the country is known as Bohemia, and consists of a vast river basin fringed by hills and mountains. The Czech Republic's longest river, the Labe, rises in the KrkonoĹˇe Mountains in the northeast, on the border with Poland, and flows south, then west, then north into Germany where it becomes the River Elbe. These mountains are also home to the country's highest summit, SnÄÂ?Â?ka (1,602m/5,262ft).Prague sits almost in the middle of Bohemia on the River Vltava, which flows into the Labe just to the north of the city. The Vltava rises in the forested ĹÂ umava hills that run along the country's southern border with Austria. The plains to the north of Prague are bordered by the KruĹˇné Hory (Ore Mountains, named for the iron ore and other minerals found there).The eastern third of the Czech Republic is known as Moravia. This region is also based on a river basin, that of the Morava River, which rises in the northern hills near the Polish border and flows south to join the Danube at Bratislava. The main city of Moravia is Brno, the second-largest in the Czech Republic.
The official language is Czech. English and German are also spoken.
Mostly Roman Catholic and some Protestant, including churches such as the Reformed, Lutheran, Methodist, Unity of Czech Brothers and Baptist. There is a small community of Jews, mainly in Prague. According to the March 2001 national census, 60% of the population profess no religious beliefs.
GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).
It is considered polite to say 'good day' (dobrý den) when you meet a stranger, including the person behind the counter in a shop or a pub, and 'goodbye' (na shledanou) when you leave.When attending a classical music concert or opera performance, most Czechs will dress formally - you can usually spot the tourists by their casual clothes, which the locals will save for jazz clubs, cinema and theatre.If you are invited to someone's house, it is polite to take a small gift - a bunch of flowers will do - and to remove your shoes when you enter.
Generally 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Most major hotels have standard international two-pin razor plugs.
Head of Government
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka since 2013.
Head of State
President MiloĹˇ Zeman since 2013.
The Czech Republic is one of Europe's youngest states, having come into existence only in 1993. Before that, it had formed the western part of Czechoslovakia, a country which itself had only been created in 1918, following the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire after WWI.Czechoslovakia threw out its communist regime, which had been in power since 1948, in the Velvet Revolution of 1989 - so called because it took place without any violence. The dissident playwright Václav Havel became president and served until 2003, but he was unable to hold the country together. Disagreements with politicians in Bratislava led to the 'Velvet Divorce' in 1993, when Czechoslovakia split into two independent republics - the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek's multi-party, centre-right coalition scraped through in a parliamentary vote of confidence in January 2007. This was not his first attempt to form an administration: tricky coalition negotiations also had to take place after the 2006 general elections. Parliament also narrowly re-elected President Václav Klaus - who suceeded Havel in 2003 - in February 2008.
Koruna (CZK; symbol KÄŤ) or Crown = 100 haler. Notes are in denominations of 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50KÄŤ. Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1KÄŤ, and 50 haler.
Foreign currency (including traveller's cheques) can be exchanged at all bank branches and at authorised exchange offices, main hotels and road border crossings.
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs
Major cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Discover, Visa, MasterCard and others may be used to exchange currency and are also accepted in some hotels, restaurants and shops, and in ATMs.
These are accepted in banks, but only rarely in hotels and almost never in restaurants. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling.
There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, amounts exceeding €10,000 or equivalent must be declared if travelling from or to a country outside the European Union.
Generally Mon-Fri 0800-1630. Some banks close early on Fridays.
Exchange Rate Indicators
1.00 GBP = 32.64 CZK 1.00 USD = 19.95 CZK 1.00 EUR = 27.47 CZK 1.00 CAD = 18.82 CZK Currency conversion rates as of 12 December 2013
A historic jewel at the heart of Europe, the Czech Republic packs a sizeable punch for a small country; from its fairytale castles and medieval towns, to elegant spa resorts and scenic national parks. This is also the birthplace of some of the world's finest beer.
The Czech Republic’s capital is the culture-filled Prague, whose imposing castle is the centre piece. Easy daytrips from Prague include the spa resort of Karlovy Vary, Karlštejn and KonopištÄ? castles, and the historic towns of MÄ?lník and Kutná Hora.
The Czech Republic is peppered with fascinating UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the picture-postcard town of Ä?eský Krumlov, and the Renaissance architecture of TelÄŤ.
For natural beauty, try Šumava National Park, the weird and wonderful rock pinnacles of the Adršpach-Teplice Rocks, and the spectacular caves and underground rivers of the Moravian Karst. The rich agricultural area of Moravia in the eastern half of the country offers rolling ranges of wooded hills and vineyards.
From www.worldtravelguide.net copyright Columbus Travel Publishing Ltd, December 2013.