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Czech Republic

Official Name Ceska Republika (Czech Republic)
Capital city Prague
Official Language Czech
Money Basic unit--koruna (CZK)
Area 78,864 sq. km (30,450 sq. mi.)

Estimated population--10,500,000
Density: 133 per sq. km (344 persons per sq. mi.)

Elevation Highest: Snezka, 1,602 m (5,256 ft.) above sea level
Lowest: 115 m (377 ft.) along the Elbe River near the German border
Temperatures Temperatures range from an average of -5 C (23 F) in winter to 20 C (68 F) in summer.
Annual precipitation (rain, melted snow, and other forms of moisture) ranges from 45 to 103 centimeters (18 to 41 inches).
Chief Products Agriculture: barley, cattle, corn, hogs, hops, oats, potatoes, poultry, rapeseed, rye, sheep, sugar beets, wheat
Manufacturing: footwear, glass, iron and steel, textiles
Mining: coal

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Czech Republic is a country in central Europe. Prague, the country's capital, is also its largest city. This country is bordered by Poland to the north, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west.
About 80 percent of the people of the Czech Republic are Czechs, and about 15 percent are Moravians. Slovaks make up about 3 percent of the population and a small numbers of Germans, Gypsies, Hungarians, and Poles live in the Czech Republic. The official language of the Czech Republic is Czech and Moravians speak a form of Czech that is slightly different from that spoken in Bohemia. Slovaks speak Slovak, Gypsies speak Romany, and other minority groups speak their own languages at home. About 40 percent of the people are Roman Catholics. Other active churches include the Orthodox Church, the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, the Czech Brethren, and the Jewish population. The Czech Republic consists of five main geographic regions: the Bohemian Mountains, the Sudeten Mountains, the Bohemian Basin, the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, and the Moravian Lowlands.
The Czech Republic has a well-developed system of roads and railroads. There are about 56,000 kilometers (35,000 miles) of highways and 9,500 kilometers (5,900 miles) of railroads. Prague has a subway system and an international airport, but Ostrava, and Brno have also airports.
The Czech food is close to that of Germany. Pork is a popular dish, as are sliced, boiled dumplings and pickled cabbage. Apple strudel is a favorite dessert. Czech beer is world-famous and the main alcoholic beverage consumed in the Czech Republic. Additionally, several fine wines are made in Moravia.
Favorite forms of recreation in the Czech Republic include attending and playing in soccer matches, hockey, other sports, and watching motion pictures and television. Many people gather in pubs to chat, play games, and drink. Outdoors activities, including gardening, hiking, and such winter sports as skiing and skating, are also popular.
Czech law requires children to attend nine years of elementary school. One of the oldest universities in Europe is Charles University in Prague. Other universities are in Brno, Olomouc, and Opava.
There are many daily newspapers, journals, and magazines in the Czech Republic. Radio and television stations operate under both private and state ownership.
The area that is now the Czech Republic has been an industrial center since the 1800's, but in 1918, at the end of World War I, the area became part of the newly created nation of Czechoslovakia. From 1948 until 1989, the Communists ruled Czechoslovakia. In 1989, after mass protests, the country's top Communist leaders resigned, and non-Communists took over the Czechoslovak government. At this time tensions began to build between the Czechs and the Slovaks. In mid-1992, Czech and Slovak leaders decided to split Czechoslovakia into two nations, that's why on Jan. 1, 1993, the Czech Republic was formed. The Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy.

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