GeographyCzech Republic, as a part of Middle (Central) Europe, is squeezed between Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland. The capital Prague is on the half way from Berlin (Germany) on the North to the South East to Vienna (Austria). Country is bordered by the mountains (Krusne hory, Jizerske hory, Krkonose and Orlicke hory from the North; Cesky les and Sumava from the South). Its area is almost 79.000 sq. km (30.000 sq. miles), as same size as South Carolina, Belgium or the island of Ireland. The highest point is Snezka, 1602 m (5222 ft), as same high as the highest points of Maine, New York County or Quebeck. The capital Prague is just in the middle of the western part of the country, 244 m (801 ft) above sea level, as same altitude as Luxembourg or Minneapolis.
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PeopleThere are over 10,5 million people (10.504.203 on Dec 31, 2012) living in the Czech Republic, as same number as in Michigan or in Belgium. There are 1,3 million people living in Prague, as same as in Dallas, Texas or in Millan, Italy or in Munich, Germany. Most of them are Czechs and they speak Czech language. They tend to be polite, mild-mannered with a good sense of humor, not incline to argue or fight. They are intelligent, creative, well educated and can be quite conservative. If you are invited into home, you will find them friendly and very hospitable. Do bring flowers or a box of chocolate for your female host or bottle of wine for your male host and remember to remove your shoes when you enter the house. The largest Church is Roman Catholic but Czechs often do not belong to any Church, because of the systematic oppression of religion during 40 years of Communism (1948-1989). It is good chance for New Age, it became as same popular as in California.
Recently there are many young American people in Prague. For reference about the Czech Republic check out the US Consular Information Sheet (updated January 2012).
EconomyUnemployment in the Czech Republic is 8,2% (March 2014). Inflation is 1,1% (March 2014). The average wage is 26.637 Kc = $1332 a month (March 2014), GDP is 365.955 Kc = $18.297 (March 2014). Get more and the latest economic data from the Czech Statistical Office.
Czech industries include car manufacture, power engineering, metallurgy, glass, leather, plastics, chemicals, ceramics and of course beer.
There is a nice weather from May through September. The most recommended month for the visit is June. There is nice weather and there are not so much tourists as in July, August and September.
Daily weather forecast is available at CNN.
Time ZoneCzech Republic is on Central European Time as well as Berlin, Bonn, Budapest, Frankfurt, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Warsaw and the others. It is: Just add or deduct the above hours from your present local time to get the time in Prague or visit the WorldTimeZone.
Visitor CentersPick up free maps and tourist guides at the visitor centers:
English NewspapersOne of the most informative English language paper is the weekly paper The Prague Post, written by English and American staff. You can find there news, concert, gallery, museum, cinema, theater, club schedules as well as restaurant reviews and excursion ideas. It is an excellent source of local information.
There is another great source of information The Fleet Sheet. It is daily English language bulletin devoted to the business and political activities in the Czech Republic provided by Erik Best, American journalist living in Prague since 1991.
English RadioIn the 90s there were BBC World Service and Voice of America, both in English language with Czech and Slovak language inserts. Voice of America finished broadcasting to the Czech Republic in 2004 and BBC finished in 2006. There is no foreign English language broadcasting available now except some English language inserts on BBC/Radio Cesko (101,1 MHz). But there is local Czech Radio Praha CR07 in English. Find online broadcasting and onair frequencies at http://www.radio.cz/en.
There is also Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) run by American Government based in Prague. This station is broadcasting in 28 languages especially to the Middle East and Asia but is not broadcasting within the Czech Republic. Find more at http://www.rferl.org. RFE/RL moved from the Wenceslas Square to the new very secure building close to metro station Zelivskeho at the beginning of 2009.
EmergencyIn an emergency dial the following numbers 24 hours a day.
CrimeCzech Republic ranks as the 14th most peaceful country. Compare with ranks of Iceland-1st, Switzerland-5th, Germany-15th, United Kingdom-44th, France-53rd, USA-100th and Afghanistan-162nd closing the list.
So violent crime is rare by the standards of the United States, France or the United Kingdom but there is a great deal of theft. Lock your car and put your valuables in the hotel safe. Be alert to the danger of pickpockets in crowded places, particularly on trams (especially tram number 22 between Karlovo namesti and Malovanka) and on metro.
Prague had been plagued with unscrupulous cabbies 15 years ago. Hailing taxi on the street might still be inviting trouble, but calling through the operator is absolutely safe now. Dial 14014 for AAA Taxi operator and do not forget to ask for the cheapest car available.
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