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Obec (plural: obce) is the Czech and Slovak word for a municipality (both in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and abroad). The literal meaning of the word is "commune" or "community". It is the smallest administrative unit that is governed by elected representatives. Cities are also municipalities. The council is called "obecní zastupitelstvo/obecné zastupiteľstvo" or "zastupitelstvo města/mestské zastupiteľstvo" or "zastupitelstvo městyse", the office is called "obecní úřad/obecný úrad" or "úřad města/mestský úrad" or "úřad městyse". An obec can have its own flag and coat of arms. An obec is composed of one or more cadastral areas ("katastrální území/katastrálne územia"). Obec can have several settlements or parts whether villages or hamlets.
After meeting certain conditions such as population over 5000, being well accessible, having cultural or economical significance and having an urban style of settlement an obec can be declared a town ("mesto").
The number of municipalities (obcí) in the Czech Republic is 6250 (in 2010).
Whole area of the republic including mountains, forests and national parks is divided into municipalities (excepting military grounds). Smallest municipalities are shaped only by one small village, some by two or more villages or by the city and several villages. Mostly a municipality has the same name as the settlement where is the municipal office, but there are many exceptions: some municipalities have double name (Sedlec-Prčice, Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav), some municipalities have a name which have no its settlement (Orlické Podhůří) and some municipalities have the office in other part than in the "nominal".
The smallest Czech municipalities are Závist (0,42 km2) and Karlova Studánka (0,46 km2). The lowest number of the population has Vlkov (České Budějovice District) (16 inhabitants by ČSÚ, 2007) and Vysoká Lhota (22 inhabitants), many small municipalities have populations only of tens. Typical country municipality has hundreds of inhabitants.
The biggest are Prague (496,09 km2, 1,3 mil. inh.), Brno (230,19 km2, 405 thous.), Ostrava (214,22 km2, 313 thous.) and by extent is the fourth Ralsko (170,23 km2, including a former military area, only 2 thousands inhabitants).
Every city (město) or town (městys) is a "obec" (some separately, some along with attached villages). Not even the biggest cities are divided into more municipalities, but several biggest cities ("statute cities") can have self-governing subdivisions, so-called city parts (městská část) or sup by city circuits (městský obvod) which have standing partly similar to small municipalities.
Some of municipalities have only basic status of municipality, some have extended competencies of delegated state administration (pověřená obec, obec s rozšířenou působností) for yourself and for surrounding lowly municipalities.
Město (a city) and městys (a town) is currently above all ceremonious honorary degree. Some municipalities have such title for historic reasons, though they are small. Smallest cities are Přebuz (population of 69 inhabitants) and Loučná pod Klínovcem (87 inhabitants). The law makes it possible to restitute by request a status of city or town for every municipality which lost it (during communist period). But a municipality which want to acquire status of city (město) firstly, must have population over 3000 and the improvement in status is subject of assessment by chairman of the parliament. For městys (town) is no definite population. The biggest of cities are "statute cities" and can have self-governing subdivisions. A special type of municipality is the capital Prague, which has simultaneously a status of municipality and a status of region and which is treated by special law.