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Czech Republic


Geography & Topography

Capital:  Prague

Population: 10,513,209

Area:  78,866 km2

Language:  Czech

Religion: 79.4% Atheist/Agnostic/No Religision, 10.3% Roman Catholic, 0.8% Protestant, 9.4% Other Religions

Currency: Czech Koruna

Ethnic groups: 63.7% Czechs, 4.9% Moravians, 1.4% Slovaks, 29.9% others & unspecified

History

The Czech Republic, formerly known as Czechoslovakia, is a country in Central Europe bordered 4 other countries. Poland lies to the North, Germany lies to the West, Austria is in the South and Slovakia is to the East. The capital and largest city of this nation is Prague. After WWII the country became part of the soviet sphere of power and experienced a short term democracy before the communist takeover in 1948 that would for more than 40 years. As communism was losing strength, it was overthrown in November 1989 resulting in the liberation of Czechslovakia which separated into two independent nations in 1993, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Today  the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrad Group. The Czech Republic is a pluralist multiparty parliamentary representative democracy, with the Prime Minister as head of government.The natural landscape of the Czech Republic is extremely varied. Bohemia, to the west, is a basin surrounded by low mountains. The country has a relatively temperate continental climate with hot summers and cold, snowy winters. Temperature differences between summer and winter can be quite extreme due to the nation’s landlocked geographical position.

Performing Arts

Music

The traditional music of this region is well defined and has drawn much influence from the work of famous Czech composers such as Leos Janacek & Antonin Dvorak. Arguably the most famous classical music pieces from the Czech Republic includes the New World Symphomy by Dvorak and Sinfonietta by Janacek.  The aforementioned composers represent the most famous artists from Czech Republic’s romantic era, however, the Classical and Baroque era did have their fair share of famous composers who should not be overlooked.

 

 

The most recognizable instruments in traditional Czech music are:

Cimbalom

A cimbalom is a concert hammered dulcimer. It is a type of chordophone which is a type of musical instrument that makes sound by vibrating strings which are attached between two points. The Cimbalom is most popular in Hungary however it is found throughout the rest of Eastern Europe and features prominently in the folk music traditions of these nations. The cimbalom is played by striking beaters against the strings.

Violin

The violin, while it has ancient origins, acquired most of its modern characteristics in 16th-Century Italy. The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments.

 

 

Clarinet The clarinet has its roots in the early single-reed instruments or hornpipes used in the Middle East and Europe since the Middle Ages. It is a woodwind instrument with a cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed. Clarinets comprise a family of instruments of differing sizes and pitches, with more than a dozen types, although the B♭ soprano clarinet is by far the most commonly played clarinet.

Dance

Arguably the most famous dance from the Czech Republic is the Bohemian Polka. The Polka is a dance and a genre of music with its origins in Central Europe. It is extremely popular throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the region now occupied by the Czech Republic in the mid 19th century.

 Interesting Facts:

  • The Czech Republic also leases the Moldauhafen, a 30,000-square-metre (7.4-acre) lot in the middle of the Hamburg Docks, which was awarded to Czechoslovakia by Article 363 of the Treaty of Versailles, to allow the landlocked country a place where goods transported down river could be transferred to seagoing ships. The territory reverts to Germany in 2028
  • There are 4 national parks in the Czech Republic. The oldest is Krkonose National Park.
  • The modern contact lens was invented by Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lim, both of Czech origin

 

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