Czech Republic facts:
(Geography, Climate, People, Religions, Age structure, Birth rate, Death rate, HIV/AIDS rate, Ethnic groups, Executive branch, Legislative branch, International
organization participation, Economy, Exports, Imports, Disputes - international, Illicit drugs).
Czech Republic architecture
gallery of Czech Republic architecture; Castles and chateaux some of them
are way over 1000 and gallery of Czech modern architecture. also
gallery of the Czech Lands and nature.
Czech Republic Scientists
Scientists and well-known people from Czech Republic.
Business opportunity in Czech Republic
Czech Republic Internet Directory
Czech Republic History:
Czechs are West Slavs, as are Poles and Slovaks. The capital Prague is often
called The Heart of Europe. There are about 10 million people in the Czech Republic
and about 1.3 million people in Prague. Western part of the Czech Republic is
called Bohemia, eastern Moravia.
History of the Kingdoms
Before the arrival of the Slavs in the 6th century this area was inhabited by
Germanic and Celtic tribes. A lot of rulers and kings ruled the people in Bohemia
from the 7th to 19th centuries. Let us notice two of them: Emperor Charles IV
and Emperor Rudolf II. During the reign of Charles IV (1346-78), as king of
Bohemia and Holy Roman emperor, Prague grew into one of the largest cities in
Europe. It acquired its fine Gothic face and landmarks including Charles University,
Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral. In the second half of the 16th century
the city experienced great prosperity under Emperor Rudolf II and was made the
seat of the Habsburg Empire. Rudolf II established great collections of art
and renowned artists and scholars were invited to his court.
History of the Republic
At the beginning of the 20th century Bohemia was a part of Austrian Empire.
After World War I in 1918 Czechoslovakia declared its independence. The new
republic had three parts: Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. The popular Tomas Garigue
Masaryk became the first president. In October 1938 the Nazis occupied the Sudetenland,
with the acquiescence of Britain and France, after the infamous Munich Agreement.
In March 1939 Germany occupied Bohemia and Moravia. Slovakia proclaimed independence
as a Nazi puppet state. After World War II in 1945 Czechoslovakia was reestablished
as an independent state. In the 1946 elections, the Communists became the largest
party with 36% of the popular vote and formed coalition government. In 1948
the Communist staged coup d'etat and Czechoslovakia became a communist country.
In the 1960s Czechoslovakia enjoyed a gradual liberalization under the reformist
general secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, Alexander Dubcek. But
this short period was crushed by a Soviet invasion in August 1968. In 1969 the
reformist Dubcek was replaced by the orthodox Gustav Husak and Czechoslovakia
stayed a communist country under the Soviet influence. The communist government
resignated in November 1989 after a week of demonstrations known as the Velvet
Revolution. The popular Vaclav Havel was elected president of the republic.
At the end of 1992 Czechoslovakia split into Czech Republic (Bohemia and Moravia)
and Slovak Republic (Slovakia).
The History of Beer in the Czech Lands
How long, exactly, have the Czechs been drinking beer?
The Czechs have been drinking beer since time immemorial. The secret of Czech
beer is that agricultural conditions are ideal for growing hops, and chronicles
establish their cultivation in Bohemia as early as 859 A.D., while the first
evidence of their export dates back to 903. Bohemian hops were so prized that
King Wenceslas ordered the death penalty for anyone caught exporting the cuttings,
from which new plants could be grown.The first mention of brewing in the Czech
territories is in the foundation charter for the Vysehrad church, dating from
1088. In this document, the first Czech king, Vratislav II, decreed that his
estates should pay a hop tithe to the church. The U Fleku microbrewery in Prague
has been in operation since 1499 and is still going strong.
How did the famous Czech beer industry get its start?
The first Czech brewery was built at Cerhenice in 1118. In earlier days, only
citizens in the Czech lands had the right to brew beer - and that for their
own consumption - so most citizens had a microbrewery in their home. It wasn't
long before some of these citizens banded together to form a cooperative central
brewery, from which they would take beer extract home and finish the brewing
process there, in a medieval equivalent to the "home brew" kits which are so
popular today. In the 13th century, King Wenceslas convinced the Pope to revoke
an order banning the brewing of beer, which may explain why he's called Good
King Wenceslas. It was a small step up from there for breweries to start hawking
their wares to the general public as well, and so the Czech beer industry was
And when did the Czech beer industry become great?
The art of brewing beer came along gradually, with help along the way. The Holy
Roman Emperor Charles IV, for instace, was a friend of the beer industry even
though he ordered that Burgundy grape vines be cultivated in Bohemia. Emperor
Rudolf II's personal physician held that beer was an incredibly healthy beverage
and wrote a treatise to that effect. The Czech beer industry's worldwide fame
dates from the Renaissance, as does the Bohemian tavern which is famous throughout
Europe. A popular rhyme of the time goes "Unus papa Romae, una cerevesia Raconae"("one
pope in Rome, one beer in Rakovnik." Beer is still brewed in Rakovnik today.
In the early 16th century, the Czech beer industry contributed as much as 87%
of total municipal income to city coffers. Czech hops were being shipped up
the Elbe to the special Hamburg hops market from 1101, and the Germans still
prize Bohemian Saaz hops from Zatec today. The Czechs were even exporting their
beer at this time, most notably the beer they brewed in the town of Ceske Budejovice
in south Bohemia. The Bavarians who were importing this beer understandably
had a hard time pronouncing the name of the town, and so they referred to it
as "Budweis," a place name that is still associated with great beer today -
as is Pilsner, which is derived from the place name of the west Bohemian town
And I guess it's just been getting better ever since?
Actually, no. This 16th-century beer heaven was not to last. Feudal lords discovered
that forcing their laborers to drink the manor brew was a clever way to line
their pockets.The Thirty Years' War, which devastated much of northern Europe,
devastated the Czech beer industry as well. At one point, beer was used to pay
off a Swedish army to prevent the plunder of Kutna Hora. After that, what fame
the Czech beer industry managed to attain was under the auspices of the Emperor
in Vienna. He even sent a Czech brewmaster to Mexico to teach the Mexicans how
to brew beer. Bohemia beer from Mexico was named for the Czech contribution.
The Czech nation - and its beer - did not begin to recover until the "national
awakening" movement of the 19th century, when the Czech language, Czech culture,
and Czech beer were reinvented after centuries of Germanization and decline.
Did the Communists appreciate the Workers' love of beer?
Under the Communists, beer was very cheap - and it was legal. This helped establish
beer drinking as perhaps the single most popular hobby among Czech men. Unfortunately,
as with so many other industries, the Communists failed to invest anything into
the breweries. They simply produced the beer and squeezed as much money as possible
out of the industry. One of the Czech Republic's most famous beer drinkers,
the protagonist of Jaroslav Hasek's novel "The Good Soldier Svejk" said that
the government that raises the price of beer is destined to fall within one
year. The Communists almost doubled the price of beer in 1984 (from 1.70 to
2.50 crowns per half-liter), so it took 5 years instead of one for the prophecy
to come to pass.
Does the President really drink beer?
President Vaclav Havel may be the best spokesman beer has ever had in the Czech
Republic, at least in public office. Havel loves to take visiting politicians
to pubs. He once skipped a function in the U.S. to go drink beer and watch John
Cale. In fact, one of Havel's plays is based on the time he spent working in
a brewery before the Revolution.
"I suppose that drinking beer in pubs has got a good influence on the behaviour
of Czech society, because beer contains less alcohol than for example wine,
vodka or whisky and therefore people's polical chat in pubs is less crazy."
Vaclav Havel, October 1995
And so what happened with this major hobby of Czech men after the Velvet
Although a decrease in beer consumption was predicted, the numbers did not go
down much even after price controls were lifted in 1991. Beer prices have gone
up as the price of everything has gone up, but are still low. Breweries have
such a small profit margin at home that they try to make up for it in exports,
where Czech beer commands premium prices. Shares in breweries, most of which
have been privatized, trade at the top of the stock market even though many
of them are deeply in debt due to payment problems. It's expected that there
will soon be only a few giant breweries and a smattering of small local microbreweries
in the Czech Republic. Mid-sized breweries, which face the biggest problems
with marketing, transport, and taxes, are probably on the way out. Perhaps with
the prophecy of Svejk in mind, Premier Klaus' government made special tax breaks
for the Association of Small Brewers.