Czech Republic Information
The Czech Republic, formerly part of Czechoslovakia, is a landlocked Central European country located to the south of Germany and Poland, and north of Austria. It was under Communist rule until 1989. Nowadays it is an increasingly prosperous, forward looking country with a rich history and culture.
During Easter, it is customary for guys to spank girls with a pomlazka stick. Girls then give coloured eggs or candy in return. On the Night Of Witches, witch figurines are made and then burned in a bonfire.
Copyright used by permission Stefan Bauer
Prague is one of the world's most beautiful cities. Its medieval centre, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, has survived intact into modern times. It contains cobbled laneways, spired churches, and cathedrals, but most noticeable is the imposing Prague Castle, that dates all the way back to the 9th century. Prague is also known for its vibrant culture, nightlife, cafes, restaurants and arts scene.
Aside from its castle, historic attractions in Prague include the St. Vitus Cathedral, the Charles Bridge, the Astronomical Clock, Tyn Church, the historic Jewish ghetto of Josefov, known for its well-preserved synagogues, the New Town (built in the 14th century), the Lesser Town (offering historic churches and streetscapes), the Loreta convent, the Strahov Monastery, the Prague Dancing House, Vysehrad castle and the Prague Giant Metronome.
Prague has an extensive range of museums. These include the Czech National Gallery, the Czech National Museum, Prague City Gallery, Czech Museum Of Fine Arts, Museum Of Decorative Arts, National Technical Museum, Military Museum, Mozart and Dusek Museum, Prague City Museum, Mucha Museum, Kafka Museum, The Pedagogical Comenius Museum, The Mueller Villa, Museum Kampa, the Museum of Communism in Czechoslovakia, the Miniature Museum, Toys Museum and Musical Automata Museum, Wax Museum, Torture Museum, Postal Museum, Brewery Museum and the Aviation Museum.
The Prague Card and the Prague Pass offer free or discounted access to many of these attractions. Be aware, though, that some of the attractions listed as free with the Prague Pass are normally free without it.
The city of Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, with a population of 380,000. It dates back to approximately 1000AD, and is full of cultural and historic attractions. Spilberk Castle was used as a prison and is now a museum and restaurant, surrounded by a park. Many people were tortured here during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Other attractions include the Petrov Cathedral, Freedom Square, the Tugendhat Villa, Vankovka Gallery, Capuchin Church, the Baroque Parnas fountain, the Moravian Museum, the Moravian Gallery, the Mendel Museum of Genetics and the Museum of Gypsy Culture.
While in Brno, try Starobrno, the traditional Brno beer, or kofola, a unique local variant of cola.
Cesky Krumlov is a town in Southern Bohemia. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of its well-preserved architecture from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods. It also features Cesky Krumlov Castle, which was built in the 13th century and is the country's second-largest castle. The castle includes the Bear Moat, featuring real bears. Donations are accepted for the upkeep of the bears.
Karlovy Vary, also known as Carlsbad, features the St. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, and many other historic architecture. The town is famous for its mineral pools, and has several mineral spa resorts.
The city of Olomouc is one of the Czech Republic's best kept secrets. It features many architectural and historic highlights, cultural attractions, restaurants, bars and pubs. The Holy Trinity Column was built in the early 18th century and features numerous sculptures of apostles and saints. The Olomouc Town Hall features the Astronomical Clock, which was reconstructed during Communist times; thus, scientists and labourers replaced saints and angels. St. Wenceslas Cathedral has dominated the city skyline for a thousand years. St. Moritz Church is an impressive gothic church that was built in 1398. St. Michael's church is a stunning example of baroque architecture. Other attractions include the Basilica Minor on the Holy Hill, the Baroque FOuntains, the modern fountains, the Archbishop's Palace, the Premyslid Palace and the Hradisko Monastery. A series of fortifications and moats dates back to medieval times.
The U Andela restaurant in Olomouc sells a "Dinosaur Steak", which is a chicken fillet on top of a pork cutlet, on top of a beef steak. It costs about 5 euros.
The town of Pilsen features the world's third largest synagogue and a historic underground network of cellars and tunnels under the Old Town area.
The Krkonose mountains offer ski resorts.
Driving in the Czech Republic
Hiring a car is an excellent way to see the Czech Republic. Drive Travel has several suppliers that offer rental cars in the country. Also, the Peugeot, Citroen and Renault tax-free Leasing programs allow their vehicles to be driven in the Czech Republic. Additionally, you can hire a luxury car. Elite have an office in Prague and a wide range of vehicles. Several other suppliers will deliver into the Czech Republic for a fee - contact Drive Travel for details.
Road quality in the Czech Republic is generall