The Czech Republic (i CHEK; Czech: Česká republika, pronounced [ˈt͡ʃɛskaː ˈrɛpuˌblɪka] ( listen), short form Czechia (Czech: Česko [ˈt͡ʃɛsko]), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the north. Its capital and largest city, with 1.3 million inhabitants, is Prague. The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as a small part of Silesia.
The Czech state, formerly known as Bohemia (Čechy), was formed in the late 9th century as a small duchy around Prague, at that time under the dominance of the powerful Great Moravian Empire. After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power was transferred from Moravia to Bohemia, under the Přemyslids. Since 1002 it was formally recognized as part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1212 the duchy was raised to a kingdom and during the rule of Přemyslid dukes/kings and their successors, the Luxembourgs, the country reached its greatest territorial extent (13th–14th century). During the Hussite wars the kingdom faced economic embargoes and crusades from all over Europe. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the Kingdom of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg monarchy as one of its three principal parts, alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Bohemian Revolt (1618–20) lost in the Battle of White Mountain, led to Thirty Years' War and further centralization of the monarchy including forced recatholization and Germanization. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian kingdom became part of the Austrian Empire. In the 19th century the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia which was formed in 1918, following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. After 1933, Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in central and eastern Europe.
Following the Munich Agreement and the Polish annexation of Zaolzie, Czechoslovakia fell under German occupation during World War II. By 1945, a major portion of the country was liberated by the Red Army, and the subsequent gratitude towards the Soviets, combined with disillusionment with the West for failing to intervene, led the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to the majority of seats in the 1946 elections. In the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a communist-ruled state. In 1968, the increasing dissatisfaction culminated in attempts to reform the communist regime. The events, known as the Prague Spring of 1968, ended with an invasion by the armies of the Warsaw Pact countries (with the exception of Romania); the troops remained in the country until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved into its constituent states, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
In 2006, the Czech Republic became first former member of the Comecon to achieve the status of a developed country according to the World Bank. In addition, the country has the highest level of human development in Central and Eastern Europe, ranking among the top 30 nations in the world. The Czech Republic ranks as the ninth-most peaceful country in Europe, while achieving the best performance in democratic governance and infant mortality in the region. It is a pluralist parliamentary representative democracy with membership in the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group.
Topography of Bohemian Forest
The Bohemian Forest is a low mountain range in Central Europe. Geographically, the mountains extend from South Bohemia in the Czech Republic to Austria and Bavaria in Germany. They create a natural border between the Czech Republic on one side and Germany and Austria on the other. For historical reasons, the Bohemian and German sides have different names: in Czech, the Bohemian side is called Šumava and the Bavarian side Zadní Bavorský les, while in German, the Bohemian side is called Böhmerwald (literally, 'Bohemian Forest'), and the Bavarian side Bayerischer Wald (literally, 'Bavarian Forest'). In Czech, Šumava is also used as a name for the entire adjacent region in Bohemia.
This article deals primarily with the Bohemian side of the Šumava; for additional information on the Bavarian side see Bavarian Forest. The Bohemian Forest comprises heavily forested mountains with average heights of 800-1400 metres. The highest peak is Großer Arber (1456 m) on the Bavarian side; the highest peak on the Bohemian and Austrian side is Plechý (Plöckenstein) (1378 m). The range is one of the oldest in Europe, and its mountains are eroded into round forms with few rocky parts. Typical for the Bohemian Forest are plateaux at about 1000-1200 m with relatively harsh climates and many peat bogs. Jezerní slať (literally: lake moor) holds the record for the lowest average and absolute temperature in Bohemia, with a 2 °C annual average and a record low of -41.6 °C in 1987.
Pavel Nedvěd is a retired Czech footballer, who played as a midfielder. He is one of the most successful Czech players to emerge from the newly formed Czech Republic, winning numerous accolades with Lazio and Juventus, including the last ever Cup Winners' Cup. Nedvěd was a key member of the Czech Republic team which reached the final of UEFA Euro 1996, during which he garnered much international attention. He was later given the international captaincy. Well known for his energy and tireless runs, refined dribbling, as well as his powerful shooting and goal scoring abilities, Nedvěd was nicknamed Furia Ceca by Italian fans and The Czech cannon in English-speaking media.
Winning the Ballon d'Or as the European Footballer of the Year in 2003, Nedvěd became only the second Czech player to receive this honour, and the first since the breakup of Czechoslovakia. He was also the recipient of the second Golden Foot award in 2004. Throughout his career, Nedvěd won numerous awards, including being named Czech Footballer of the Year four times and receiving the Golden Ball (Czech Republic) six times. Nedvěd retired after the 2008–09 season after 19 years as a professional. He played 501 league matches at club level, scoring 110 goals, and was capped 91 times for the Czech Republic, scoring 18 times.