Czech Republic in a nutshell


     C Z E C H   R E P U B L I C

      Click for history of the Czech Republic


 

 Location

   The Czech Republic is situated in the middle of Europe.
The neigbouring countries are Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria.

Size

78,866 km2 / 30,450 sq miles (2% is water)

(about the size of the state of Maine in the USA or about the size of Scottland)

Population
10,512,000 people – density is 134/km2 – 341/sq mile
Name Czech Republic is named after a legendary figure, praotec Cech (grandfather Cech) who is believed to have come to the area in the 6th century ad.
Language Czech is a Slavic Language, similar to Polish, Slovak, Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, Ukranian and Russian

Foreign Languages

English is taught in school as a mandatory second language so most people should be able to communicate with you.  This is especially true in the tourism industry. 

German is also spoken and lately Russian has experienced a comeback due to the many Russian tourists.

Asian languages are hard to find however we do have guides that speak Chinese (Mandarin), Korean and Japanese.

 

Since the CR was a part of 2 German speaking empires (the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and the Austro-Hungarian Empire), German has a historical presence here.  For years both Czech and German were together part of the culture.  During the Soviet era, the Czechs were forced to learn Russian so many still speak it.  English has come in only after democracy came back in 1989.

Money

We are still on the Czech Crown – Koruna Ceska - CZK

Below are approximate rates at the end of 2012, however, please check for current rates.  www.oanda.com

1 USD = KCK 20/1 EUR = CZK 25/ 1 GBP = CZK 25

Unfortunately, it is not known when and if we will be joining the EURO zone.

Transportation

 

 

The CR has an extensive network of modern roads and it is driven on the right (same as in all of Central Europe).  Car rental is widely available and renting or bringing your own navigational system is advised.  The roads are not marked with English names.  Make sure you request an automatic transmission when ordering your rental, should you need one.  Manual transmission is still a norm on most cars.

50 km/h – about 30 miles/h is the speed limit in the city.

90 km/h – about 56 miles/h is the speed limit on the highway

130 km/h – about 80 miles/h is the speed limit on the freeway

It is necessary to have a “vignette” on your windshield when driving on the freeways/expressways.  This is the road tax sticker and one can be purchased in a gasstation.  Different amounts are available depending on how long you will be driving in the CR.

Reststops are abundand along the freeways/expressways.  Not easily found however on the highways.

Gas/petrol stations are abundand and gasoline prices are at about CZK 40 per liter (USD 8 per US gallon), EUR 1.60 per liter (winter 2012)

Trains and busses cover most of the country and their schedules can be viewed at www.idos.cz.  They range from being very comfortable and modern to somewhat seedy, depending on the train.  However, they are inexpensive and will get you there comfortably.

For distances, please consult www.mapy.cz or www.google.com/maps.

 


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