About Czech Republic

República Checa

República Checa

Czech Republic, located in central Europe, is a young country that was formed after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from there (known up until the 1990s as Czechoslovakia). A look at the local landscape confirms that it actually has a long history. The land now known as Czech Republic was once part of the Holy Roman Empire during the early medieval years (870-1198 AD) – when it was known as the Duchy of Bohemia. By the 16th century, it was part of the Austrian Hapsburg Empire, before becoming part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire from the 19th century into the early 20th century.


After World War I, the country known as Czechoslovakia (a merger of present-day Czech Republic and neighboring Slovakia) was formed – lasting until World War II (when it fell under German occupation). From the end of World War II into the early 1990s, Czechoslovakia was part of the Soviet Bloc (which meant it was effectively under Russian military occupation).


When the Soviet Empire fell and Russian forces withdrew from Czechoslovakia in 1990, a process began that ended with the break-up of Czech Republic from Slovakia in 1993 (making the two lands, and their respective ethnicities, the Czechs and the Slovaks, independent of one another). As a democracy led by human rights champion Václav Havel, Czech Republic rejected its Iron Curtain past, embracing the West by joining NATO in 1999 and the European Union (EU) in 2004. Despite its membership in the EU, Czech Republic does not use the Euro itself as its official currency (with the country’s local population opting to maintain its currency, the Czech Koruna, for the time being).


According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), tourism currently makes up 8.5% of Czech Republic’s GDP (generating over 200,000 jobs in that country). Given Czech Republic’s tourist-friendly attractions – ranging from medieval era castles and other sites, to its natural beauty, this is no surprise. It is also proximate to wealthier European countries like Germany, Austria, and reachable by train, highway and air from countries like UK, France, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, Russia, and elsewhere.


As was the case with nearby Hungary by the early 2000s, Hollywood film studios, impressed with Czech Republic’s historic buildings and other sites, as well as the low economic costs of making films there (perhaps because of its non-adoption of the Euro as its official currency), began making a variety of movies there, such as the Eddie Murphy / Owen Wilson film “I Spy”, which prominently showcased various local sights.