Czech Republic

The Celtic tribe Boii inhabited the Czech region for the first 400 years of the first millennium before eventually giving way to post-Roman Germanic tribes. The Great Moravian Empire was founded by the Slavs in the 9th century. It lasted about 100 years before being overrun by Hungarian tribes, who formed the Bohemian Kingdom. After the end of World War I, the Czechs merged with the Slovaks to create Czechoslovakia. A poor relationship with the German minority was a problem, however, and during World War II the country was brutally occupied and annexed by the Germans under Hitler. It avoided the massive air bombardments that levelled many of its neighbours, allowing it to remain relatively intact, although it was taken over by the Soviets at the end of the war who remained by force until 1989. On January 1st, 1993, the country divided into Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

de_0078_Czech - Prague at night


Old Town in Prague is a popular tourist attraction. It is a medieval settlement which once had both a large wall and a semi-circular moat. The KGB Museum  has many unusual historical pieces, such as the Trotsky murder weapon, the equipment from the KGB laboratories, and the death mask of Vladimir Lenin. There are also many excellent trails throughout the Czech Republic, as well as many swimming areas which are great places to swim and specifically designated for the public. For the kids, try the Prague Zoo which houses approximately 4400 animals representing 670 worldwide species. It is a large area that spans 45 hectares.

de_0080_Czech - Carl's bridge

Local Food & Drink

Traditional Czech food is quite fatty and heavy, although this is excellent during the winter. Recently, however, there is a tendency towards lighter food with extra vegetables. Lunch is the traditional main meal, and it consists of three dishes: a hot soup is the first, the second is some sort of meat (like pork, chicken, beef or duck) and a side dish, and the final dish is some kind of sweet and coffee. There are many different kinds of soup, with the most common being bramboracka (potato soup), kulajda (thick soup with milk and forest mushrooms) and rajska polevka (tomato soup). The best place to really experience Czech cuisine is a meal at somebody’s home, since some restaurants do not serve certain dishes that are worth trying. More recently though, traditional Czech cuisine is often served for holidays or Sundays. Some classic dessert options include Medovnik (a brown high cake made of honey, walnuts, and gingerbread) and Jablkovy zavin (warm apple strudel served with whipped cream). For drink options, beer is an absolute must. Modern beer was invented in the Czech Republic, and the Czechs rank as the heaviest beer drinkers in the world, as they drink approximately 160 litres per person per year. The best known exports are Budweiser Budvar, Pilsner Urquell, and Staropramen. Real Czech beer is served on tap, and high-quality beer can be found in almost all local pubs. As it is the national drink, it is usually the cheapest drink on the menu, although other options are available, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

de_0079_Czech - Karlovy Vary cityscape


In general, the Czech Republic is a very safe country, although there are a few things that you need to be aware of. Prague taxi drivers are known for taking the longest possible way to a destination to charge you more money, so be sure to negotiate a price before entering the cab. Pickpockets are a problem, especially in places where there are large crowds. Most pickpockets are very overweight and work in groups, relying on their size to disorientate tourists. Make sure you keep your money and wallet secure and separate from each other. Prostitution is another issue. Although it is not illegal in the Czech Republic, it does not exist as a legal business. Prostitution on the streets or in cheap brothels can be a serious health risk, and there have been cases where prostitutes will drug your drink with sleeping pills and then steal all of your possessions. Paying a person who is under 18 for sex is a criminal offense. Lastly, marijuana is illegal, but quite popular. If you do get caught, be polite with the police, since you need to possess “larger than a small amount” of marijuana to be charged.