Jindřichův Hradec Castle and Chateau, originally feudal castle builted around 1200, represents one of the most monumental as well as one of the most beautiful castle areas in Bohemia. The castle was ambitiously reconstructed into a comfortable Renaissance seat in the late 16th century during the reigns of the last of the Lords of Hradec. The best known parts of the castle area, such as the Jáchym´s and Adam´s buildings, the Large Arcades of Adam ´s buildings, the Small Arcades and the unique Rondel musical pavillion, were builted by the italian builders at the same time.
The area of the Castle and Chateau Jindřichův Hradec is, after the Prague Castle and Český Krumlov Chateau, the first largest in the Czech republic. It has 320 rooms for which opening one needs 500 keys. Throughout the halls and chambers are 10 000 objects of art.
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.