Abbreviated as CZ by ABBREVIATIONFINDER, the Czech Republic is located in eastern Central Europe. The core landscape is the fertile Bohemian Basin, the center of which is the regional capital Prague. The Czech Republic is a highly industrialized country with an efficient agriculture. The burning of lignite mined in Northern Bohemia in thermal power stations has led to serious environmental damage. The most important travel destinations are the capital, rich in monuments, and the traditional spa and bathing resorts of Franzensbad, Marienbad and Karlsbad.
The Czech Republic borders Germany in the west and northwest, Poland in the north and northeast, the Slovak Republic in the southeast and Austria in the south.
The Czech Republic came into being after the division of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic into the Czech and Slovak Republics on January 1, 1993.
The central part of the country is the fertile Bohemian Basin, crossed by small low mountain ranges , in the middle of which lies the capital Prague. It is framed by wooded low mountain ranges. These are the Bohemian Forest in the southwest , the Ore Mountains in the northwest and the Sudetes in the northeast, to which the Giant Mountains also belong. There is the 1602 m high Schneekoppe, the highest point in the Czech Republic. The low threshold of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands separates the Bohemian Basin in the southeast from the agriculturally just as intensively used March valley. It is bounded in the east by the Western Carpathians and merges into the Danube lowlands to the southeast.
The Elbe, which rises in the Giant Mountains, and its tributaries, the Eger and Vltava, flow through the Bohemian Basin. The March valley is drained by the March.
Climate and vegetation
The climate is a typical transitional climate that is mild in the west due to oceanic influences and moderately continental in the east (Fig. 2). The basin landscapes, especially the Elbe region and the March lowlands, are protected from cold air ingress by the mountains and have warm summers and mild winters. The ridges of the Bohemian foothills, which receive more than 1000 mm of precipitation annually, are much colder and also have more precipitation. More than a third of the country’s area is covered by forests. From a height of 500 m, the deciduous forest is replaced by a mixed forest, which in turn turns into a coniferous forest from around 1000 m. The tree populations, especially in the Ore Mountains and the Giant Mountains, are badly affected by harmful environmental influences.
Important data about the country
|78 884 km²
|129 residents / km²
|Growth of population:
|-0.1% / year
(men / women)
|Form of government:
|Czech as the official language
|Catholics around 40%, Protestants 2.5%, Hussites 1.7%, as well as Orthodox and Jews; almost 40% are non-denominational
|moderate transitional climate
|Arable land 43%, pasture land 20%, forest 34%
(share of GDP, 2003)
|Agriculture 3%, industry 39%, services 58%
|Machines and apparatus, vehicles, chemicals, iron, steel and other metal goods
|Gross domestic product:
|$ 89,715 million (2003)
|Gross National Product:
|US $ 7 150 / residents (2003)
Economy and Transport
Before the dissolution, the Czech Republic had a share of around 75% in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the former confederation. By the turn of the millennium, the private sector generated around 80% of the country’s GDP. The banks have now also been privatized. The economic development that has taken place to this day (Fig. 4) is repeatedly interrupted by cyclical and structural crises. Nevertheless, the Czech Republic is one of the safe EU accession candidates.
The Czech Republic is a modern industrial country. A leading branch of the economy is the energy-intensive heavy industry with pig iron, steel and rolled steel production. The basics are provided by the hard coal mining in the Ostrava-Karviná, Kladno and Pilsen area and the lignite mining in the North Bohemian Basin near Sokolov, Komotau and Most. In addition, the arms industry, machine and vehicle construction are of great importance. The Skoda plants in Pilsen and Jungbunzlau (Mladá Boleslav), which are part of the VW Group, are known beyond the country’s borders. Traditionally, the glass, ceramics, food and beverage industries play a major role in the Czech economy. Beers from Pilsen and Budweis are internationally known for their high quality.
The trouble with the energy industry
Electricity is mainly generated in lignite power stations, especially in the North Bohemian Basin. Their inadequate technical equipment led to major environmental damage. The most conspicuous phenomena include the large number of respiratory diseases among the residents in the affected areas and the serious forest damage in the Ore Mountains and the Giant Mountains.
But the switch to nuclear energy also brought great difficulties. The controversial Temelín nuclear power plant has had to be shut down several times due to technical problems since the start of trial operation in October 2000. Despite some improvements, there are protests against full commissioning in the border areas in Austria and Germany.
Hydroelectric power plants were built along the dammed Vltava.
The main agricultural products are wheat, brewing and feed barley, and maize. In addition, sugar beet, rape, flax, hops, fruit, vegetables and wine are grown. The main focus of livestock farming in Bohemia and Northern Moravia is cattle, pig and poultry farming, and sheep farming in the mountainous areas. The traditional pond farming, which is mainly focused on carp breeding, enjoys a special reputation in South Bohemia.
Tourism is gaining in importance . In addition to the capital Prague, the most popular travel destinations are primarily the spa and bathing resorts in the spa triangle Karlsbad-Marianenbad-Franzensbad, as well as the Giant Mountains and the Bohemian Forest.
The most important mode of transport is still the railway, although the expansion of the motorway network is progressing. One of the most important motorway routes runs from the north via Prague to Brno and on to Bratislava in the Slovak Republic. The landlocked Czech Republic has its own merchant fleet with free port rights in Hamburg and Szczecin.
1993: After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which has existed since 1945 (after 1990 the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic), the Czech Republic becomes a separate state. VACLAV HAVEL becomes President (re-elected in 1998).
1999: The Czech Republic joins NATO.
2004: The Czech Republic joins the EU.