The Czech Republic is a fascinating country in the heart of Europe, and Prague is one of the most magical cities in Europe. The country boasts history, culture, and natural beauty. From the stunning landscapes of Bohemia and Moravia to the picturesque towns and cities that dot the countryside, the Czech Republic is a true gem waiting to be explored.
If you’re planning a trip to the Czech Republic, there’s plenty to see and do. Whether you’re interested in history or culture or want to soak up the local atmosphere, there’s something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the Czech Republic! Zitango Travel will take you on a journey through the Czech Republic, exploring its history, culture, and natural beauty.
Getting to Know Prague & the Czech Republic
A Brief History of the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a country located in central Europe, with a rich and complex history that various political, economic, and cultural factors have shaped.
In the 9th century, the region was settled by Slavic tribes, who were united under the rule of the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th and 10th centuries.
In the 14th century, the Czech lands became a powerful kingdom under the rule of the Luxembourg dynasty, which established Prague as its capital. During this time, the Czech lands experienced a period of prosperity and cultural flourishing, with the development of Gothic architecture, art, and literature.
In the early 15th century, a religious reformer named Jan Hus emerged in Bohemia, advocating for the Czech language to be used in religious services. Hus was eventually executed by the Catholic Church for his beliefs, sparking unrest and religious conflict in the Czech lands.
In 1526, the Habsburg dynasty took control of the Czech lands, which became part of the Austrian Empire. Despite this, the Czech people continued to resist and assert their cultural identity, with the development of the Czech language, literature, and national revival movements in the 19th century.
In 1918, following the end of World War I, the Czech lands declared independence from Austria-Hungary and became the independent state of Czechoslovakia. The country enjoyed a period of democratic government and economic growth, until World War II.
After the war, Czechoslovakia became a communist state under Soviet influence, which lasted until the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The peaceful overthrow of the communist regime transformation of the Czech Republic into a modern, prosperous, and culturally diverse country.
Today, the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, with a strong economy, rich cultural heritage, and a reputation as a center for innovation, technology, and education.
Geography and Climate
Prague and The Czech Republic are in Central Europe, bordered by Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria. It has a temperate climate, with warm summers and cold winters. The country is also home to diverse landscapes, including the Bohemian Forest, the Moravian-Silesian Beskids, and the Krkonoše Mountains.
Prague – The City of a Hundred Spires
Prague is, the Czech Republic’s capital city, known for its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene. One of Prague’s most notable features is its many spires, which can be seen throughout the city and give it its nickname, “The City of a Hundred Spires.” Prague’s skyline is dominated by the spires of its many churches and other buildings, including the iconic St. Vitus Cathedral, which is located within the walls of the Prague Castle complex. The cathedral’s Gothic architecture and ornate spires make it a must-see attraction for visitors to Prague.
Another landmark with striking spires is the Church of Our Lady before Tyn in Old Town Square. This Gothic church is recognizable by its two uneven spires, one taller than the other.
Prague’s historic center, including the Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to many more spires and other architectural wonders in the Czech Republic. Visitors to Prague can spend hours wandering the city center’s narrow streets, taking in the sights and sounds of this beautiful and historic city.
In addition to its stunning architecture, Prague’s cultural scene, music, art, and literature makes it the most popular city in the Czech Republic. The city has been home to many famous writers, including Franz Kafka, and it has a thriving contemporary art scene worth exploring.
Exploring Prague’s Stunning Architecture
One of the most impressive features of Prague is its architecture, with buildings dating back to the Gothic and Baroque periods. Here are some of the must-see landmarks:
Charles Bridge – A Marvel of Medieval Architecture
The Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks of Prague, Czech Republic. This medieval stone bridge spans the Vltava River and offers breathtaking city views. Here are some interesting facts;
- King Charles IV gave the order to build this iconic landmark in the 14th century.
- Decorated with 30 Baroque-style statues and sculptures, each with its own unique story and meaning.
- Still stay the popular spot for street performers, artists, and vendors, adding to the city’s lively atmosphere.
Prague Castle – The Largest Ancient Castle in the World
It is a cultural treasure that is a must-visit for anyone exploring the enchanting cities of Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. It’s one of the largest castles in the world, offering stunning views of the city. Here are some interesting facts;
- Founded in the 9th century, Prague Castle has been the seat of power for Czech kings, Holy Roman emprerors and presidents.
- The complex has several buildings, including St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, and the Golden Lane.
- Recognized for its historical and cultural significance, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Karlovy Vary: A Spa Town with a Rich History
The small city is a beautiful spa town located in the western part of the Czech Republic, known for its thermal springs, beautiful architecture, and cultural events. Here are some things to check out if you’re planning a visit:
The town is famous for its hot springs, which have been used for their healing properties since the 14th century. You can stroll through the city and sample the water from the various springs.
The town features several beautiful colonnades and long covered walkways leading to the hot springs. These colonnades are a stunning architectural feature of the city and offer an excellent opportunity to take photos.
Moser Glass Factory
Karlovy Vary is home to the Moser Glass Factory, producing beautifully handcrafted glassware since 1857. You can take a tour of the factory to see how the glass is made, and you can purchase some beautiful souvenirs to take home.
Jan Becher Museum
The Jan Becher Museum is dedicated to producing the famous Czech liquor, Becherovka. You can learn about the liquor’s history and production process and even sample some products.
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
The town is home to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, one of the world’s oldest film festivals. If you happen to be in town during the festival, check it out.
These are just a few of the many things to see and do in Karlovy Vary. I hope you have a great time exploring this beautiful town!
Experiencing Czech Culture
Food and Drink
Czech cuisine is hearty and delicious and is often accompanied by a glass of local beer or wine. Some must-try dishes include goulash, roast pork with dumplings, and traditional Czech pastries. And, of course, a visit to Prague and the Czech Republic would only be complete with sampling some of the world-famous Czech beer.
Prague’s cuisine is hearty and comforting, with dishes that will warm you up on a chilly day. Here are some traditional dishes to try:
Goulash – A meaty stew with vegetables and spices, often served with dumplings or bread.
Svickova – Roast beef served with a creamy sauce and dumplings.
Trdelnik – A sweet pastry made with cinnamon, sugar, and walnuts, often sold in street markets and cafes.
Festivals and Traditions
The Czech Republic has deep cultural roots, and plenty of festivals and traditions exist to experience. Some of the most popular include:
Prague Spring International Music Festival
Held every year in May, this festival features some of the world’s best classical music performances.
At Easter, cities across the Czech Republic come alive with colorful markets, traditional crafts, and delicious treats.
St. Nicholas Day
Celebrated on December 5th, St. Nicholas Day is a beloved tradition in the Czech Republic. Children receive small gifts and sweets from St. Nicholas and his companions, the angel and devil.
The Czech Republic is a country that truly has it all: stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re interested in exploring picturesque towns, soaking up the local atmosphere, or indulging in some delicious food and drink, there’s something for everyone in the Czech Republic. So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to explore the heart of Europe like never before!