Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a cool little landlocked country south of Germany and Poland, with a national addiction to pork and beer. Potatos, cabbage, and dumplings are close behind them, and they also have this great bar food called "utopenec." It means "a drowned man," it's pickled sausage with onions, perfect with some dark wheat bread and beer. The Czech bread is legendary, like a meal all by itself.

Czechoslovakia first became a sovereign state in 1918 when it declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The state of Czechoslovakia lasted until the "Velvet Divorce" of 1993, which created Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

It was occupied by Germany in WWII but escaped major damage, unlike most other European cities. The nation's capital, Prague, retains some of Europe's most beautiful Baroque architecture as well as one of the largest medieval castle complexes still standing. The President of the Czech Republic has his offices in the Prague Castle even today.

There was a coup d'etat in 1948 and Czechoslovakia fell under Soviet rule. For fifty years Czechoslovakia was a Socialist state under the USSR, subject to censorship, forced atheism and even the arrest of jazz musicians!

In 1989, communist police violently squashed a pro-democracy demonstration and pissed everybody off so bad that a revolution erupted over it, finally ending the Communist rule.

The next twenty years saw rapid economic growth and westernization. Today in Prague you can eat at McDonald's or KFC, shop for snowboarding boots and go see a punk rock show.

The Czech Republic took over the presidency of the European Union in January 2009. This instantly created lots of political drama because the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, is a renowned Euroskeptic.

We anxiously await the outcome of "President Klaus vs. the Lisbon Treaty", a world heavywieght fight sceduled for spring 2009.

Text by Steve Smith.

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Troja Palace, Prague
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Strahov Monastery and Strahov Stadion
Jeffrey Martin
Prague Winter Sunrise from Pisecka Brana January 2015 100 meters G0018086 G0018389 158
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Railway Property Pilsen
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Strahov Stadion, Prague Czech Republic, Aerial View
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Prague Exibition Ground, Aerial View
Jeffrey Martin
Vaclav Havel, 30 June 2006
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Pilsen Steel, Aerial View
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Pilsen River Mze
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Railway Property Pilsen2
Jeffrey Martin
Winter in the Czech Countryside - 10
Tomas Kysela
Hejnice - The Pilgrimage Basilica from Across the River
Tomas Kysela
Hejnice - The Pilgrimage Basilica from Across the River
Jeffrey Martin
Czechtek Demonstration at the Ministry of the Interior in 2005 - 18
Jeffrey Martin
Field of Yellow Flowers
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Karel Schwartzenberg Painting on the Side of an Abandoned Factory - 2
Jeffrey Martin
Panoramic Timelapse between Winter and Spring
Jeffrey Martin
The Strange Old Library (Místodržitelský letohrádek) - 3
Libor Fettr
Rejviz World War Memorial
Tomas Kysela
Liberec - hradby