Whenever you travel to a country, it's always nice to know a bit about it beforehand. That's why I create these posts with interesting things to know. Below, you can find some fun facts about Czech Republic.
Interesting facts about Czech Republic
This post is part of a series of fun facts posts I'm doing for every country I have articles about here on the blog. Given their nature, these posts are research-based and even though a lot of time has gone into them, it's still possible a mistake has snuck in. If you see something that looks incorrect, please let me know at sofie [at] wonderfulwanderings.com and I'll look into it. Thanks!
1. Emil Zátopek, famously known for his unprecedented win of gold in the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games in the 10,000 meter, 5,000 meter, and the marathon track events, was from Czech Republic. He was born in Kopřivnice.
2. During the second world war, underground factories were built in the Czech Republic to avoid the air raids of the Allies. Some of these passages can still be visited today.
3. Geneticist Johan Gregor Mendel, the man who set the groundwork for genetics and inheritance principles still studied in biology classes around the world today, was born in Hynčice.
4. Like Germany, Czech Republic is known for the Christmas markets scattered throughout the country, the biggest of which can be found in Prague.
Read more: 14 top things to do in Prague
5. The Czech Republic is home to the largest ancient castle in the world – Prague Castle – at 570m long and 128m wide. For reference, that’s bigger than seven football fields combined!
6. On the retaining wall by Prague’s famous Charles Bridge sits a stone head called Bradáč or Bearded Man. In medieval times, this marker served as a flood level warning for residents to retreat to nearby hills when water levels from the river rose above it.
7. The largest monastic library in the country, Strahov Library, is found in Prague with 17th and 18th-century halls featuring Baroque styling.
8. The city of Karlovy Vary, known for its health-restoring sulfurous waters and spa services, was frequented by Tsar Peter the Great in the 18th century for healing treatments.
9. Pramen Vřídlo geyser, located in the Czech Republic's most visited spa town of Karlovy Vary, spouts water 12 meters high.
10. The Pančavský waterfall is the highest in the country, at 148 meters.
11. The Czech Republic’s highest point of elevation is Sněžka, a mountain peak reaching 1,603 meters or 5,259 feet.
12. The Krkonoše Mountains, home to Sněžka mountain peak, create the Czech-Polish border, dividing Bohemia and Silesia.
13. The source of the Elbe river, one of the major rivers in Central Europe with a river basin spanning four countries (Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, and Poland) is within the Krkonoše Mountains of Czech Republic.
14. The Czech Republic is home to six biosphere reserves – protected ecosystems as part of UNESCO’s initiative to improve human relationship with the environment.
15. The country is home to over 2000 castles and chateaux, more than any other country in Europe.I think it's one of the coolest things about Czech Republic.
16. Oskar Schindler, famous for saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust, grew up in Zwittau, Moravia.
Read more: Wandering through Prague's Jewish Quarter
17. The Czech Republic contains the historic regions of Bohemia to the west, Moravia to the east and Czech Silesia to the northeast. Most of Czech Silesia is actually in modern Poland.
18. Prague’s Old Town is home to the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world. Every hour, it’s mechanical processional of apostles delights tourists.
19. The first big Hollywood blockbuster filmed in Prague was Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible. Other notable films include The Illusionist, Yentl, Les Misérables (1998 version) and Casino Royale of the James Bond series.
20. Beer is a big deal in the Czech Republic as it is home to the first Pale Lager, Pilsner Urquell, brewed in the city of Pilsen.
21. Czech Republic is home to 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites, scattered throughout the country.
22. The National Gallery in Prague is an art museum displaying works of art in historic buildings throughout the city and is one of the largest museums in Central Europe.
23. The currency used in Czech Republic is the Czech Crown (Koruna). In general, you can't pay with Euro in Czech Republic at the time of writing.
24. The town of Písek is home to the Czech Republic’s oldest bridge – 900 years old!
25. Prague often finds a place on “Top 10 Beautiful Most Beautiful Cities in the World” lists.
26. When Prague received its nickname “The city of a hundred spires” by author Josef Hormayer in the 19th century, the city truly had 103 spires. Prague has lived up to this name and more, as today there are over 500.
27. Several ossuaries (chapels and caves where old bones are stored) are found in the country, including one inside the Church of St. James, the second largest ossuary in Europe, after the catacombs in Paris.
28. A man-made mining crater at the site of the Velka Amerika Quarry has become a sought-after place of beauty after deep blue water was allowed to fill in the gorge. The area is referred to as the “Czech Grand Canyon”.
29. A stone lookout tower – The Spirálovitá Rozhledna – with a spiraling outdoor staircase can be visited in Krásno. It is one of the most unusual lookout towers in the entire country and offers stunning views of the countryside.
30. Karst landscape is formed with the flow of acidic water through soft rock and can be seen firsthand at the Machocha Gorge…also called the Macocha Abyss, the deepest sinkhole in Central Europe.
31. Prague is home to an unusual collection of over 2,000 historical chamber pots, toilets, and loos that range from historical to famous celebrity use, including a seat from the Titanic. All can be viewed at the odd, yet unique Hygiene Museum.
32. Vojan Gardens, the oldest garden in Prague, was once part of a medieval orchard in 1248.
33. A gothic church in the town of Most was completely moved a mile from its original location in order for the town to mine lignite found underground. This earned it a place in the Guinness World Records.
34. The walls of the Vrbice Wine Cellars, built into the city’s sandstone hillside, are covered with a type of mold that helps the wine mature.
35. St. James Church in Brno features an interesting adornment – a sculpture of a two-headed man showing his bare bottom to any passerby who can spot him.
36. Czech Republic ranks as the sixth safest country to live in the world according to the 2017 Global Peace Index.
37. The sweet little sugar cube was invented in Moravia by Jakub Kryštof Rad (patented in 1843), to the delight of tea drinkers the world over.
38. The Czech Republic joined the European Union in 2004 after many changes in its territories and leadership.
39. The country ranks 27th in most environmentally conscious in the world, with 4 National Parks and over 20 protected land areas.
40. Jan Janský, a Czech neurologist, was the first to classify human blood into the four blood groups, paving the way for modern blood donations and typing.
41. The country is a popular pilgrimage destination for those of the Christian religion, with 12 churches and 15 cathedrals holding the title of “basilica” as awarded by the Pope in addition to the number monasteries open for visiting.
42. According to a census from 1930, 118,000 Jewish people lived in the Bohemia and Moravia regions and only 14,000 remained alive in these lands by 1945 after the Holocaust.
43. Despite such a strong historical tie to Christianity and the buildings that pay tribute to it’s one-time importance to the country, the Czech Republic is one of the least religious countries in the world.
44. With all the castles in Czech Republic, a few stand out among the best. Litomyšl Castle is one of those, with UNESCO World Heritage status, this Renaissance arcade style castle showcases a neoclassical wooden theatre – it’s truly one of a kind!
45. Looking for a souvenir to bring home? Beer cosmetics by a traditional Czech brand called Manufactura are all the rage in Prague. We told you beer is popular here!
46. Puppetry is a popular pastime and has a long history in Prague’s entertainment industry, tracing all the way back to the middle ages. Here you can visit the National Marionette Theatre and even pick up your own puppet in the city’s Old Town.
47. Bohemia is known for its Bohemian glass or crystal, popular for its craftsmanship, beauty and high quality. The tradition of glassmaking started in the Renaissance and has continued to modern day.
48. Czech is the official language of the country, but other languages spoken are Slovak, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian and even Vietnamese. The other non-official languages stem from the country’s largest national minorities.
49. If you are deaf, Italian or Austrian sign language are the closest to Czech sign language.
50. Czech has been classified by scientists as one of the most difficult languages in the world, so don’t stress if it’s hard to pick it up quickly!
51. Important Czech words to know: Hello = Ahoj, Thanks = Děkuji, and we can’t forget Beer = Pivo
52. Have you ever heard of the word “robot”? It was first used by Czech author Karel Čapek in his novel R.U.R.. It was his brother Josef Čapek who is actually credited with creating the word.
53. One of the five national traditions in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage for the Czech Republic is Falconry. Hunting with the assistance of these birds of prey is truly an art, passed on through generations.
54. Czech Republic is a country of architecture. Styles that have survived over 1000 years mark periods in history. Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance, Romanesque, Classicism, Art-Nouveau, Cubism, Functionalism and even architecture of the Communist era are all on display.
55. Okladruby nad Labem is home to one of the oldest stud farms in the world. Here, the white horses of the Old Kladruby breed were originally promoted in 1579, and they are still thriving there today.
And that's it! I hope you learned some new facts about Czech Republic :-)
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