The Czech Republic is a landlocked Eastern European country that shares borders with Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria. It is famous for its castles, architecture and many inventions. In fact, did you know that soft contact lenses were invented by Czech chemist Otto Wichterle in 1959? With so much to learn about this fascinating country, here are some interesting facts about the Czech Republic.
7 of the Most Interesting Facts About The Czech Republic
1. The Czechs are so Bohemian
Founded in the 9th-century, the nation started life as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. It was recognised as part of the Holy Roman Empire in 1004 and in the year 1198 became the Kingdom of Bohemia. Then, in 1918, Bohemia became the western part of the newly formed country of Czechoslovakia. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two separate countries, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which is also known as Czechia.
2. The old Czechoslovakia flag is still in use
When Czechoslovakia split into two countries, the Czech Republic kept the old national flag (Slovakia got a new one). The design of the flag is two horizontal stripes of white over red with a blue triangle at the hoist. The white in the flag symbolises the peaceful nature of the Czech people. The red symbolises the courage, valour and patriotism of the nation. The blue colour represents vigilance, truth, loyalty and perseverance.
3. It has the most castles in the world
There are over 2000 castles in the Czech Republic. This means it holds the title of the highest castle density in the world. Some of the most famous castles in the Czech Republic are the Hluboká Castle, Orlík Castle, Lednice Castle and Karlštejn Castle. This really is a fairytale country.
4. Czechs consume a lot of beer
Czechs consume the most beer per capita in the world. Pilsner Urquell was the first pale lager and it was brewed in the Czech city of Pilsen in 1842. When you visit the country, you can try a Pilsner-style larger in a hospoda (pub). As a bonus fun fact: beer is cheaper than water in the Czech Republic.
5. It is home to the largest castle in the world
Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, so says the Guinness Book of Records. How large is it? It occupies an area of almost 70,000 square metres (750,000 square feet). Its length is about 570 metres (1,870 feet) and it is about 130 metres (430 feet) wide. Prague Castle is impressive from all angles, but the loveliest view is from the Old Town on the other side of the Vltava at night time when it is all lit up.
6. And home to the oldest working astronomical clock in the world
The Prague Astronomical Clock dates from 1410 and is still in use today. This makes it the oldest working astronomical clock in the world. The medieval clock is located on the Old Town City Hall and draws big crowds to watch the “Walk of the Apostles”. Every day, from 9am to 11pm, on the hour, 12 mechanical figurines of the Apostles make their way to the tower’s window. It is incredibly charming and one of the top sights in Prague.
7. Prague is known as the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’
Prague, the capital and largest city in Czechia has the nickname the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’. When you gaze over the rooftops you’ll see why. Although, today, it is estimated that there are nearly 500 spires in the city. At 109 metres the tallest spire in Prague is the City Tower.