Czech MotoGP

04.08.2019 | Brno - Automotodrom Brno

Key Facts

Location: Central Europe.

Area: 78,866 sq km (30,450 sq miles).

Population: 10,644,842 (2015).

Population Density: 135 per sq km.

Capital: Prague.

Government: Republic.

Geography: The Czech Republic is a landlocked country situated in central Europe, sharing frontiers with Germany in the west, Poland in the north, the Slovak Republic in the east, and Austria in the south. Covering only about one-third of the area of the United Kingdom, the country is hilly and picturesque. The western two-thirds of the country is known as Bohemia, and consists of a vast river basin fringed by hills and mountains. The Czech Republic's longest river, the Labe, rises in the Krkonoše Mountains in the northeast, on the border with Poland, and flows south, then west, then north into Germany where it becomes the River Elbe. These mountains are also home to the country's highest summit, SnÄžka which stand 1,602m (5,262ft) tall. Prague sits almost in the middle of Bohemia on the River Vltava, which flows into the Labe just to the north of the city. The Vltava rises in the forested Šumava hills that run along the country's southern border with Austria. The plains to the north of Prague are bordered by the Krušné Hory (Ore Mountains, named for the iron ore and other minerals found there). The eastern third of the Czech Republic is known as Moravia. This region is also based on a river basin, that of the Morava River, which rises in the northern hills near the Polish border and flows south to join the Danube at Bratislava. The main city of Moravia is Brno, the second-largest in the Czech Republic.

Language: The official language is Czech, but Slovak is also widely spoken. English and German are also commonly spoken.

Religion: Mostly Roman Catholic and some Protestant, including churches such as the Reformed, Lutheran, Methodist, Unity of Czech Brothers and Baptist. There is a small community of Jews, mainly in Prague. According to the March 2001 national census, 60% of the population were not affiliated with any religious beliefs.

Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).

Social Conventions: It is considered polite to say ‘dobrý den’ (good day) when you meet a stranger, including the person behind the counter in a shop or a pub. You should also say 'na shledanou’ (goodbye) when you leave. The Czech manner can feel a little brusque sometimes, but often a smile and a joke will lighten up most interactions. When greeting a new person, shake hands, and maintain eye contact. If you are invited to someone's house, it is polite to take a small gift - a bunch of flowers will do. Remember to remove your shoes when you enter. When attending a classical music concert, an opera performance or even the cinema, most Czechs will dress formally - you can usually spot the tourists by their casual clothes.

Electricity: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. European plugs with two round pins are standard.

Head of Government: Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka since 2014.

Head of State: President Miloš Zeman since 2013.

Recent History: The Czech Republic is one of Europe's youngest states, having come into existence only in 1993. Before that, it had formed the western part of Czechoslovakia, a country which itself had only been created in 1918, following the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire after WWI.

Czechoslovakia threw out its communist regime, which had been in power since 1948, in the Velvet Revolution of 1989 - so called because it took place without any violence. The dissident playwright Václav Havel became president and served until 2003, but he was unable to hold the country together. Disagreements with politicians in Bratislava led to the 'Velvet Divorce' in 1993, when Czechoslovakia split into two independent republics - the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek's multi-party, centre-right coalition scraped through in a parliamentary vote of confidence in January 2007. This was not his first attempt to form an administration: tricky coalition negotiations also had to take place after the 2006 general elections. Parliament also narrowly re-elected President Václav Klaus - who suceeded Havel in 2003 - in February 2008.

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