Identity Card - Czech Republic
The national flag of the Czech Republic is the same as the flag of the former Czechoslovakia. The first flag of Czechoslovakia was based on the coat of arms of Bohemia, and was white over red. This was identical to the flag of Poland, so a blue triangle was added at the hoist in 1920.
- Anthem (lyrics)
Kde domov můj (Where is my home?)
Kde domov můj, kde domov můj?
Voda hučí po lučinách,
bory šumí po skalinách,
v sadě skví se jara květ,
zemský ráj to na pohled!
A to je ta krásná země,
země česká domov můj,
země česká domov můj!
Where is my home, where is my home?
Water roars across the meadows,
Pinewoods rustle among rocks,
The orchard is glorious with spring blossom,
Paradise on earth it is to see.
And this is that beautiful land,
The Czech land, my home,
The Czech land, my home!
- Map (location)
Located in the continent of Europe, Czech Republic covers 77,247 square kilometers of land and 1,620 square kilometers of water, making it the 117th largest nation in the world with a total area of 78,867 square kilometers.
The Czech Republic became an independent state in 1993, after gaining its sovereignty from Austria. The population of The Czech Republic is 10,177,300 (2012) and the nation has a density of 132 people per square kilometer.
The currency of The Czech Republic is the Czech Koruna (CZK).
- 10 historic dates (most important for the political development of each country)
- 10th Century - the Czechs are converted to Christianity
- 1085 - Vratislav II granted the royal crown, became the first Czech king; started the Premyslid dynasty
- 1526-1790 - Hapsburg Dynasty
- 1620 - the Czech Protestants were crushed at the battle of Bila Hora (White Mountain)
- 1918 - last Habsburg Emperor overthrown; after World War I the Austro-Hungarian Empire fell, Czech lands and Slovakia proclaimed establishment of independent Czechoslovakia
- 1938 - Germany, Britain, France and Italy signed the Munich Pact, gave Hitler the right to invade and claimed Czechoslovakia's border areas
- 1948 The Communists stage a coup in Czechoslovakia
- 1968 - five Warsaw Pact member countries invaded Czechoslovakia, Soviet troops continued to occupy the country until 1989
- 1989 - Velvet Revolution brought an end to communism
- 2004 - the Czechs join the EU
- 5 traditional songs (lyrics)
Svatý Václave, vévodo české země,
kníže náš, pros za nás Boha, svatého Ducha!
Ty jsi dědic české země, rozpomeň se na své plémě,
nedej zahynouti nám ni budoucím, svatý Václave!
Ach synku synku
Ach synku synku
tatíček se ptá oral-li jsi ,
tatíček se ptá oral-li jsi.
Oral jsem, oral, ale málo.
Oral jsem, oral, ale málo.
kolečko se mi polámalo,
kolečko se mi polámalo.
Když se ti zlámalo, dej ho spravit.
Když se ti zlámalo, dej ho spravit,
nauč se synečku hospodařit,
nauč se synečku hospodařit.
Teče voda, teče
Teče voda, teče, přes velecký majír,
něhal si ma něhal, starodávný frajír,
něhal si ma něhal, starodávný frajír.
Něhal som ťa, něhal, dobre ty víš komu,
co ty reči nosí, do našeho domu.
Do našeho domu, pod naše okénko,
co sem se naplakal, sivá holuběnko.
Kvetou růže, kdo ti za to může,
žádnej už ti dneska nepomůže.
kvetou, zvadnou, listečky z nich spadnou,
jako slzy moje na tu trávu chladnou.
Škoda lásky, kterou jsem tobě dala,
škoda slzy, které jsem vyplakala.
Moje mládí uprchlo tak jako sen,
ze všeho mi zbývá jenom v srdci mém vzpomínka jen.
Skákal pes přes oves
Skákal pes přes oves, přes zelenou louku,
šel za ním myslivec, péro na klobouku.
Pejsku náš, co děláš, žes tak vesel stále?
Nevím sám, řek bych vám, hop - a skákal dále!
- 5 traditions
Easter Eggs and kraslice
The hand-painted or otherwise decorated egg (kraslice) is the most recognizable symbol of Czech Easter. Girls decorate Easter eggs to give them to boys on Easter Monday.
Pussywillow and pomlázka
Young, live pussywillow twigs are thought to bring health and youth to anyone who is whipped with them. An Easter pomlázka (frompomladit or "make younger") is a braided whip made from pussywillow twigs. It has been used for centuries by boys who go caroling on Easter Monday and symbolically whip girls on the legs.
The Burning of the Witches, April 30
The ritual of burning witches is very popular in the Czech Republic. An ancient legend says that on the magic Walpurgis Night 30 April / 1 May, evil powers are at their peak of strength, and people must protect themselves, their households and cattle. In ancient times, people believed that crowds of witches flying on broomsticks travelled to a witches’ assembly on that night. As such people would light fires on the hills, throwing burning brooms up into the air in order to weaken the witches’ powers and get rid of them.
Nowadays, the burning of witches is fun. Throughout the country, thousands of fires are set on the last April evening in order to burn a witch – an effigy of a witch made of straw and old clothes. When the fire is roaring people roast sausages on sticks, dance, play music and sing.
All Souls' Day, November 2
All Souls’ Day falls on November 2nd. The official Czech name is Památka zesnulých ("a remembrance of those who have passed"), but everyone calls the day dušičky ("little souls") or všech svatých ("of all saints"). People sometimes compare this old tradition to Halloween, but the two don’t have much in common. Dušičky is a quiet time in the Czech Republic. People visit the graves of family members and relatives to light candles, lay flowers and wreaths and spend a few moments.
Saint Nicholas Day (Mikuláš)
The charming tradition of St. Nicholas falls on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, December 5th. If you find yourself walking the streets on that evening, you may run into a group of strange characters: St. Nicholas (Mikuláš), the Angel (anděl) who represents the Good, and the Devil (čert) representing the Evil. All wear costumes. Mikuláš looks a bit like Santa Claus whose origin was supposedly inspired by St. Nicholas. All three characters walk the streets, stopping children and asking them if they were good in the past year. Most kids say yes and sing a song or recite a short poem. They are then rewarded with sweets, candy or other treats, which are handed out by the Angel. Bad kids would be put in the Devil's sack and taken to hell, or would only get a sack of potatoes or coal instead of candy - of course it does not really happen!
Czech Christmas (Vánoce)
December 24 (Christmas Eve)
For many, December 24 (Štědrý den) is the most enjoyable day of Christmas holidays. Its Czech name literally means "Generous Day", probably for the wealth of food that has traditionally been served for Christmas dinner and fed to household and farm animals. Even poor families would make sure that their plates were full on this one day of the year.
December 24 is Adam and Eva's name day. The Christmas tree is decorated with traditional Czech Christmas ornaments in many households and preparations are made for the most festive dinner of the year. Christmas Eve is associated with many superstitions that usually relate to life, love, and destiny that awaits one in the year to come. According to one Czech Christmas custom, one is supposed to fast all day to see the "golden piglet" (zlaté prasátko) in the evening. Visit our Czech Christmas Customs and Superstitions page for a detailed list.
Diner is served after sunset (traditionally, it should not be served until after the first star has come out) and consists of carp and potato salad, sometimes preceded by mushroom, sauerkraut or fish soup. Did you know that carp can supposedly be prepared a hundred different ways? Christmas carp is specially raised in manmade ponds and then sold from large tubs placed on the streets and town squares a few days before Christmas. You will not see this sight at any other time of the year. Some families keep their carp in the bathtub for several days as a temporary pet for their children... Dinner can be finished with dessert, such as apple strudel. A traditional Christmas bread called vánočka (similar to the Jewish challa) used to be a part of the Christmas dinner in the past but today it has largely lost its Christmas connotation and is available year-round.
After dinner, everyone around the table may sing Christmas carols before moving to the Christmas tree, which is all lit up and beautiful. By then, presents have been placed under the tree. Czech children believe that Christmas gifts are brought by Baby Jesus (Ježíšek) who comes into the room through the window to leave the presents. Unlike Santa Claus, Baby Jesus is a rather abstract figure with no particular physical image attached to him, and no one knows where he lives. Just like Santa though, he receives wish-list letters from Czech children a few weeks before Christmas.
Gastronomy and typical products (10)
Czech cuisine is not exactly a synonym for healthy cooking, but everybody will probably find some meals they'll love. It may be the potato soup, the traditional roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut, the fruit filled dumplings, or the apple strudel.
Czech cooking and eating habits have been shifting towards a healthier lifestyle, but traditional Czech recipes are still very popular - and those tend to be high in calories, fat and sugar.
Chicken noodle soup
Beef soup with liver dumplings
Beef goulash (a thick beef stew) with dumplings
Beef sirloin with dumplings and vegetable cream sauce
Roast pork, dumplings and sauerkraut
Roasted duck with sauerkraut and dumplings
Grapes are also grown in the Czech Republic, mainly in South Moravia.
5 personalities (political, cultural, economic…)
John Amos Comenius
28 March 1592 – 15 November 1670)
was a Czech speaking Moravian philosopher,pedagogue and theologian. He served as the last bishop of Unity of the Brethren and became a religious refugee and one of the earliest champions of universal education, a concept eventually set forth in his bookDidactica Magna. He is considered the father of modern education. Comenius was the innovator who first introduced pictorial textbooks, written in native language instead of Latin, applied effective teaching based on the natural gradual growth from simple to more comprehensive concepts, supported lifelong learning and development of logical thinking by moving from dull memorization, presented and supported the idea of equal opportunity for impoverished children, opened doors to education for women, made instruction universal and practical.
2 March 1824 – 12 May 1884
was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which became closely identified with his country's aspirations to independent statehood. He is thus widely regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride and for the symphonic cycle Má vlast ("My Homeland"), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer's native land.
9 January 1890 – 25 December 1938
was a Czech writer of the early 20th century. He had multiple roles throughout his career such as playwright, dramatist, essayist, publisher, literary reviewer, and art critic. Nonetheless, he is best known for his science fiction, including his novel War with the Newts and the play R.U.R., (Rossum's Universal Robots) which introduced the word robot.
Jan Tomáš Forman known as Miloš Forman
born 18 February 1932
Forman was one of the most important directors of the Czechoslovak New Wave.
5 October 1936 – 18 December 2011
was a Czech writer, philosopher, dissident, and statesman. From 1989 to 1992, he served as the last president ofCzechoslovakia. He then served as the first president of the Czech Republic (1993–2003) after the Czech–Slovak split. Within Czech literature, he is known for his plays, essays, and memoirs.
Havel used the absurdist style in works such as The Garden Party andThe Memorandum to critique communism. After participating in Prague Spring and being blacklisted after the invasion of Czechoslovakia, he became more politically active and helped found several dissident initiatives such as Charter 77 and the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted. His political activities brought him under the surveillance of the secret police and he spent multiple stints in prison, the longest being nearly four years, between 1979 and 1983.
The Czechs have always shared the European civilisation and cultural values, they have been a substantial part of European history.
The Czech Republic submitted its application for membership on 23 January 1996.
The accession negotiations between the Czech Republic and EU opened in March 1998 and concluded in December 2002. The Treaty of Accession, which defines the conditions of the Czech Republic membership in the EU, was signed in Athens on 16 April, 2003. On 1 May 2004, the Czech Republic became a full-fledged member of the EU.