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icoKal

Czech Republic

WELCOME TO THE CZECH REPUBLIC

Geographical information

Name: Czech Republic
Capital: Prague
Location: 12° - 19° eastern longitude, 48,5°-51° northern latitude
Area: 78.864 km2
Population: 10,6 mil. (2016)
System of government: republic (since 1993)
President: Milos Zeman (since 2013, born 1944)
Currency: 1 czech crown (CZK) = 100 heller
Language: czech

 

Bank holidays

1 January New Year´s Day
  Good Friday
  Easter Monday
1 May May Day
8 May Liberation from Fascism
5 July Cyril and Methodius
6 July Burning at Stake of Jan Hus
28 September Czech Statehood Day
28 October Establishment of the Czechoslovak Repulic
17 November Freedom and Democracy Day
24 December Christmas Eve
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Christmas Day

Except for Good Friday and Easter Monday, the dates of the holidays are fixed. The "sliding holiday" concept is not applied, i.e. when a holiday falls on a Saturday/Sunday, the following Monday is a normal business day.

About the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a small country in the very heart of Europe, which has been attracting visitors from its very beginning. Thanks to its location at the crossroads of various cultures, the Czech Republic has countless cultural and historical points of interest. Despite the complicated visa rules before the Velvet revolution in 1989, these destinations attracted a relatively high number of foreign tourists even that time. The country only recently has returned to economic and political freedom of democratic systems.

The country is situated in the centre of Europe and it is the hub of several major areas including Western and Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Scandinavia. Over the centuries, a whole number of Czech men and women have become famous throughout the world – the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV., the reformer John Huss (Jan Hus), the "Teacher of Nations" Comenius (Jan Amos Komensky), composers as Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak and Leos Janacek, writers as Jaroslav Hasek, Karel Capek and Franz Kafka, Nobel Prize winners Jaroslav Heyrovsky and Jaroslav Seifert, opera divas as Ema Destinnova and Jarmila Novotna, etc.

The Czech Republic is a country of a great historical and cultural importance, a country where historic monuments and entire towns have been included in the World Heritage List. When discussing tourism in the Czech Republic, we cannot naturally overlook the extremely popular tourist destination of Prague. The city is generally considered one of the most beautiful capitals in the world with an exquisitely preserved historical centre. A lot of other towns and historic monuments in the Czech Republic are well-preserved and are noted in the UNESCO register as world heritage sights, e.g.: Kutna Hora, Telc, Cesky Krumlov, the Church of St. John’s of Nepomuk, and the latest, the area of Lednice-Valtice. Some of the towns are also known as glowing assets of the Czech Republic due to the existence of curative mineral spring spas there.

Spas like Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) and Marianske Lazne (Marienbad) acquired their international eminence many years ago. Jachymov, another town in the countryside, is well known for its rare radioactive springs. Tourists often visit Terezin, but unfortunately its history is stained by World War Two. Since the end of the 18th century Terezin had been a fort town that was transformed into a Jewish ghetto by the Nazis during World War Two. The Czech nation went through good times and bad times when it was in the forefront of the world events and times when its national rights were denied through foreign oppression. The Czech Republic also has good venues available for congresses, cultural events, markets, incentives, and spa tourism.

Prague remains the greatest tourist magnet. It is beautiful all year round, but it is at its most beautiful in spring when its parks and gardens come into blossom. With the opening of the Prague Spring Festival, the concert halls and gardens of the city attract music-lovers from all over the world. However, winter is the period when people visit mountains. The Giant Mountains are the highest and most beautiful mountain range in the country. Summer is the period for hiking in the countryside or swimming in the countless ponds and lakes. During this season of the year, South Bohemia - with its ponds and extensive forests - is the place that is worth a visit. Autumn is the best time for a visit during the wine festival in South Moravia after the grapes have been harvested. The Czech Republic has much to offer tourists from all over the world. There is something for everyone here.

How to get to the Czech Republic

By plane:
There is one Czech air company to travel to the Czech Republic with, called the Czech Airlines (CSA). It is possible to fly from most world cities. Other world air companies fly to the Czech Republic too, e.g. British Airways, KLM, Air France, Lufthansa, Alitalia, Ryaniar, Wizzair, easyJet or Emirates. The main airport is Václav Havel Airport Prague (formerly Prague Ruzyně International Airport), other smaller ones are in Pardubice, Brno and Ostrava. Buying tickets in the Czech Republic will not save you much money; you should take advantage of a lower cost of a return ticket bought at home.

By train:
Trains travel daily to Prague from most major European cities. There are comfortable international trains signed "IC" (Intercity) or "EC" (Eurocity). They go e.g. from Berlin, Budapest, Dresden, Munchen, Vienna or Warsaw. The international railway stations are Prague Main Railway Station (Hlavni nadrazi) and Prague Holesovice.

By coach:
Going by coach is the cheapest way to get to the Czech Republic with RegioJet, Flixbus or Eurolines.

By car:
The Czech Republic is covered by a network of generally good roads, though old routes often lead through villages and small towns. The country has approx. 500 km of European-style motorways, the main one being the D1 or E50/E65 between Prague and Brno. Motorways and country roads have mostly traffic lights. The quickest way of taking your car over to the continent is to drive through the Channel Tunnel. The most direct route from Calais to Prague is via Lille, Brussels, Cologne, Frankfurt and Nuremberg, entering the Czech Republic at the border crossing Waidhaus - Rozvadov – a distance of over 1,000 km.

As in Continental Europe, you drive on the right-hand side of the road. The legal driving age is 18. The speed limit in built-up areas is 50 kph, on unrestricted single carriageway roads the limit is 90 kph and on motorways 130 kph. Children under 12 years of age are not allowed to sit in the front seat. Drivers from the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand need no international driving permit, only a full domestic license, along with the vehicle registration. In addition, you need a certificate of insurance or "green card", normally valid for three months, proving your full motor liability insurance. Your car shall be equipped with the first-aid kit and a red-and-white warning triangle.

Czech language

The Czech language is the language spoken by most inhabitants of the Czech Republic. It forms, together with Slovak, Polish, and High and Low Sorbian (also called Wendish), the western branch of the Slavic languages. Slovak, the language of Slovakia, closely resembles Czech. Both languages used the Czech literary language until the mid-19th century, when a separate Slovak literary language, based on a dialect of central Slovakia, was created. In the current usage, the two languages show only slight phonetic and syntactic differences. Slovak has a somewhat more archaic sound system, whereas Czech is somewhat more conservative in its inflexions.

Foreigners speak Czech
There has been an increasing interest for the Czech language in recent years as the tendency is to study various, mainly not well-known languages (nowadays everybody learns foreign languages). Czech can be the means of studies for a degree (young people from Asia, Africa or Latin America come to study at universities in the Czech Republic). What troubles must the foreigners overcome when they want to learn Czech? This depends on their native language - how much it is different from Czech (but sometimes it cannot be useful when the foreign language is similar to the native language as the students often show tendencies to confuse some expressions, etc.)

From the phonetic point of view, Czech is especially noted for its speech sound r acute. It is very difficult for foreign students to learn how to pronounce this consonant. Similarly, for Czech students it is difficult to articulate e.g. French r that is a rear sound in French but in Czech, this consonant is a fore sound (and the rear pronunciation of r is considered incorrect in Czech). But even other consonants as e.g. ch or c can make learning Czech unpleasant.

For good understanding, the national rate of speech can be also important. Japanese and Italians are generally considered awfully fast speakers. But some foreigners believe that even the Czechs have a very quick rate of speech.

Czech top phrases:

prosím pro-seem 1) please 2) here you are 3) you are welcom 4) what did you say?
děkuji dyeh-kooyee thank you
ano ah-noh ano
ne neh no
Dobrý den! dob-ree den hello, good afternoon
Na shledanou Nus-hle-dah-no Good bye
Ahoj Ah-hoy hi or bye
Kde je toaleta? Kdeh yeh toh-ah-le-ta Where is the toilet?
Kolik to stojí? Koh-leek toh stoh-yee How much is it?
Co je to? Tso eyh toh? What is it?

 

Medical Information

One of unpleasant risks that travellers take is the possibility of becoming ill in a foreign country. In case of a real emergency you should call for an ambulance. Dial 155. No card or coin is needed for this number from a pay phone. If you do not speak Czech it would be a good idea to have someone who acts as an interpreter to you.

If you don't need an ambulance but you need to get to the hospital, take a taxi to Na Homolce Hospital in Prague 5. The aliens' clinic there will be able to provide a physician who speaks English. If your medical problem is not an emergency, in Prague there are several clinics that treat English-speaking clients and which, for a fee, can provide the network of services from a simple examination to accompanying a patient to hospital.

To buy even just only aspirin it is necessary to go to a pharmacy, or lekarna. A good, convenient chemist is in Wenceslaus Square. Pharmacies that stay open 24 hours a day are listed in the Yellow Pages under "Lekarny s nepretrzitou pohotovostni sluzbou". One 24-hour pharmacy near the centre is Lekarna U Andela, Stefanikova 6, Prague 5, near Andel metro station.

ATM
You can find them close to any bank in the centre of Prague, in the most tourist routes and also at the airport. VISA, EC/MC and Maestro cards are welcomed there.

Places of interest

In the Czech Republic, there are a lot of attractive places and all of them are worth seeing. We hope that everyone can find lots of information about tourist attractions on our pages. If you are interested in taking a spa vacation or just passing through some of the spa towns, your visit to the Czech Republic can start by bus or train west from Prague to Karlovy Vary or Marianske Lazne. Otherwise, proceed directly to South Bohemia stopping in such towns as Tabor, Ceske Budejovice and Cesky Krumlov. From here go east to Moravia with its metropolis Brno. On the way we highly recommend a stop in Telc.

In Prague, there are five major parts of the city centre of primary interest to tourists: Hradcany, the castle district atop a hill on the left bank of the Vltava River; Lesser Town, the lower district at the foot of Hradcany, also on the west bank of the Vltava River; the Old Town on the right bank of the river; Josefov, the old Jewish ghetto close to the north end of the Old Town; and the New Town (at least it was new in the 14th century when it was built), located south and east of the Old Town. The magnificent Hradcany includes St. Vitus’ Cathedral dominating the skyline, St. Nicholas’ Church as well as hundreds of other architecturally important buildings in the streets of Lesser Town. The Old Town is one of the largest and most beautiful gems in Europe where you can find Charles Bridge, the Church of Our Lady and the Old Town Hall.

The Czech Republic is not a large country but it looks back on a rich and eventful history. People have been living here for centuries and millennia, cultivating their land, working and creating the values that still deserve our respect. The people who have inhabited the Czech Lands, took the rough with the smooth, and who included Czechs, Germans, Jews as well as Italian stonemasons and stucco workers, French tradesmen and deserters from Napoleon's army, Irish doctors and eastern Europeans fleeing the Bolsheviks, have all left behind hundreds of chateaux, castles and monasteries, and even entire towns that are regarded as works of art.

The following sites have been included in the UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage List:

  • Historic Centre of Prague
  • Historic Centre of Cesky Krumlov
  • Historic Centre of Telc
  • Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk on Zelena Hora in Zdar nad Sazavou
  • Kutna Hora - Historical Town Centre with St. Barbara’s Church and the Cathedral of Our Lady in Sedlec
  • Lednice - Valtice Cultural Landscape
  • Gardens and Castle in Kromeriz
  • Holasovice Historical Village Reservation
  • Litomysl Castle
  • Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc
  • Tugendhat Villa in Brno

The fact that the Czech Republic has several sites that are regarded as having worldwide significance is a source of satisfaction and challenge at the same time, for the distinction by UNESCO inspires us to cultivate and preserve our towns as centres of culture and conferences, and to treat them with due respect.

The beauty into which Prague has evolved in the course of eleven centuries, the narrow zigzagging medieval streets in Kutna Hora and Cesky Krumlov, the Renaissance houses in 'white' Telc and very original sites as the Pilgrimage Church in Zdar nad Sazavou, Lednice-Valtice complex, Kromeriz, and Holasovice are a fairy-tale collection of artistic and historical values that help widen the horizons of every visitor. Whether you arrive in search of knowledge or entertainment, you are certain to find here what you were looking for and you will doubtless agree that the Czech Republic merits a place on the map of the world major cultural sites.

Emergency numbers

112

 

European Emeregency Number

(Police, Fire Service, Emergency Medical Service)

150 Fire and Rescue Service
155 Emergency Medical Service
156 Municipal Police
158 Police

Post
Post offices (posta) are generally open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. The main post office in Jindrisska 14 in Prague 1, just a few metres from Wenceslaus Square, is open 24 hours a day although it operates a reduced service during the night.

Postage (up to 50 g)

 

16 CZK letters nationally
32 CZK letters within EU
37 CZK letters outside EU

Apart from post offices, stamps (znamky) can also be bought at newsagents’ (noviny, tabak, trafika).

Czech Republic - Cesky Krumlov
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Czech Republic - Kutna Hora
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Czech Republic - Marianske Lazne
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Czech Republic - Praque
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Czech Republic - Karstejn
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Czech Republic - Prague
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Czech Republic - the best beer of the world
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Czech Republic - Hluboka
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Czech Republic - Holasovice
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Czech Republic - bodega in Moravia
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Vykukující lachtánek České Budějovice
+420 386 350 220
info-cb@quicktour.cz
Praha
+420 224 828 236
info-praha@quicktour.cz