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   My Czech Republic

"Look! This is the fertile  country, this is our  home!"
said the forefather Czech when he saw the country known as Bohemia.
And the Czech tribes settled there to share their fate with the land.

Since the time when the forefather Czech conveyed there the Czechs, both the nation and the country experienced many good and bad periods. But whatever was going on, they loved their homeland and there was no force that could separate them.

   The Czech Republic is a splendid country of forests and mountains, valleys and rivers, nice people and mild climate. It is just perfect. You can find there mountains, but not too high. You can find there plains, but not too vast. And towns that are not too large.
    It is a special country too. Located in the middle of Europe, surrounded by mountains like by a wall, the most western Slavic country, on the border between East and West. This is my native country, the country I want to tell you about. I love it and I will talk about it from my perspective. If you want to get an objective information, read a textbook on geography. So, please, don't get angry when I extol it. There are many beautiful places in the world, but this one has a special position in my heart. I believe it's the same for you and you country. And it is as it should be.


Poznamka: Simek&G;Jak jsem se stal nezamestnanym, cajovny, 48-89

A bit of geography

    The Czech Republic is said to be in the Eastern Europe, but we prefer to call it the Middle Europe. And we like to say that we are in "the heart of Europe". Anyhow, by all its culture and history it's Western (well, except 1948-89). But sometimes we are proud of not being too Western. And, most of the time, we don't know whether we should turn to the rich, non-slavic West or to the "brother-like" East. As I said, it is a special country ...
    The Czech Republic consists of three 'countries': Bohemia -the western (approximately) half, Moravia -the eastern half (with the 'capital' Brno, formerly Olomouc) and Silesia - very small piece of land in the north of Moravia (the major part of Silesia is in Poland).

A bit of history

Old days

20th century


A bit of politics

    The Czech Republic is a pluralistic democracy. There are several political parties and the main person is the prime minister. The president has a representative role and his political power is small. The two main parties are Social Democrats (CSSD) (left wing) and Civic Democratic Party (ODS) (right wing). The other two powers are Communists (once they were the third strongest party; it may be surprising with respect to our history, unless you know more about the "transformational chaos" and needs of lower-class majority) and middle-right mixture of small parties, which mostly try to cooperate (the number is around 4 but it oscillates) and stay in opposition to CSSD and ODS (some call them "the Castle party" because mostly they are on the President's side).
    As any other political scene, the ours is full of scandals - unclear fund-raising of the parties (once knocked down ODS), questionable governmental orders, unacceptable behaviour of politicians, odd people on high posts, unqualified (and 1 megaloman) ministers ... You know. The two main parties support each other in the struggle for more power at expense of smaller parties, which involves a minimization of the power of the "disobedient" president who thinks that he is responsible for what's going on and does his best to do things right (instead of just signing laws without reading them and inviting other presidents for dinners). (Now I mean Vaclav Havel who was the president 1989-2002.) The Social Democrats tend to spend more many than they have, which terrifies all the people who see more far than to the end of the current election period, the Civic Democrats do not want to become a part of EU (may be there is something strange about Democrats? ;-), Communists are Communists and the small parties are not able to find an agreement on a common policy.
    So we do not elect the best party, but the least bad one and we devote ourselves to swear about the politics, which is something like a Czech national sport.

Some important people in our history:


Typical Czech ...

    What is typical Czech? I will mention some features that are said to be typical Czech, but personally I believe that they are, at least to some extent (and some of them entirely), only a part of the "national folklore" (or "national mythology") and do not reflect the present reality (similarly to "all Scots are niggardly [love money]"). Of course you never know ... .
    Typical Czech (person) is quite similar to a guy from Bavaria (country in Germany, west from CR): he's sitting in a pub, holding a beer (half litre) in one hand and a pork sausage in the other and singing traditional pub songs, accompanied by an accordion. Probably that's why we say "each Czech is a musician". (I must mention that a typical Moravian person is different - he hasn't beer, but "Slivovice" [plum brandy]. But, of course, he likes beer as well .) Indeed, pub is a favourite place. Men meet there, every day or e.g. once a week (depends whether you live in a village or in a city and what your wife is like :), drink beer and sometimes something stronger (for example "rum"), play cards for money (mostly very small amounts of money) and smoke (cigarette, cigar or pipe). The importance of pub in man's life is an everyday reality, not only a tradition. Come and see :-)
    Typical Czech is also said to be malicious and envious (of course this is just a slander, which, somehow, became a part of the 'mythology') and he is also a bit too practical and uninspired (Sancho Panza from Don Quiote would be a good Czech). But such people, I guess, are everywhere (maybe that in the Czech country they just had too often an opportunity to have a power over their wiser fellow-citizens).
    The Czech cuisine is sometimes very delicious, but most of the time very unhealthy. Meals are often fat and a piece of meat must not be missing (pork is the best). I wonder what they ate 200 years ago (when meat was very rare, for the ordinary people) ... . Vegetable and pasta are ignored. You can see it in the typical meal, which is pork+ dumplings ("knödel" in German, "knedlík" in Czech)+ stewed cabbage. (I really do not know why this meal is the national one, but everybody says it.) Nowadays this is not true anymore, people care for their health. But it is still true that it isn't usual to have a dessert after meal (unless you eat in a canteen). In contrast to Sweden, for instance, the main dish of the day is the lunch, around midday. And the Czech bread is made from rye and must contain cummin (caraway) seeds. The Czech breakfast consists, most of the time, of bread/rolls or buns and cheese/salami or something sweet (a piece of cake, for instance). You don't see corn flakes very often yet (but it's changing and we are getting "Westernized" or "Americanized"). You drink tea, coffee, milk or syrup.
    If you are a VIP, you could experience the traditional Czech welcome: a girl in a costume would offer you bread and salt (it's typical Slavic, I believe). Probably that is the reason why we didn't find a common language with Germans - we offered them bread and salt, while they offered us sword and fire (different culture, different habits ;-).
    We also used to praise the "golden Czech hands" (which means that Czechs are very skilful and can do lot of things by themselves). But nowadays it seems that we forgot them somewhere in the history (perhaps the Communists nationalized them too).
Note: some of my friends (especially the one who studies sociology) disagrees with my "typical Czech ...". But I've never said it's indeed true. Of course some of the things mentioned above come from the everyday life observation, but some of them are not more than a myth (e.g. the typical Czech). But every myth had to come into existance somehow ...


The Czech national tree is limetree (don't ask me why ...)


About CR



Jakub Holy 2002 AD