Information on Czech Republic
Since 1989 when the country asserted its independence in the 'Velvet Revolution', the Czech Republic has been welcoming visitors in increasing numbers each year, with its capital, Prague, continuing to have the greatest appeal.
The country boasts numerous attractions in addition to the architectural splendours found in the capital. Although the Czech Republic is rather small, it comprises a variety of landscapes from the Sumava Mountains to canyons, rivers and lakes that are hidden away in pristine forests. There are lovely wine-growing regions and traditional villages to be found in places such as Moravske Slovacko.
Prague is the highlight for most visitors to the Czech Republic. It is the country's showcase, internationally-known for its buildings, culture and history. The capital is often referred to as a 'living museum' in that it boasts the monuments of nine centuries of architecture, from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau periods. Among the main architectural attractions are Hradcany Castle, the largest castle in the world, and the magnificent St Vitus Cathedral.
The capital's old town, known as Stare Mesto, is located across the Vltava River and reached by crossing the magnificent Charles Bridge. The old town is centred on Wenceslas Square (Vaclavske Namesti) where visitors will find busy market stalls, buskers entertaining the crowds and numerous cafes and restaurants.
The city's old Jewish Quarter is also a popular tourist attraction, and is situated in an atmospheric part of the city that's perfect for a leisurely stroll. Several historical districts surround the centre, such as Hradcany and Mala Strana (the 'small quarter'), both of which have largely remained unchanged for centuries. Prague has been a centre for music and the performing arts for centuries and is particularly well-known for its classical music and opera.
Karlovy Vary, a stately Victorian-era spa town set in a lovely river valley, is an easy drive from Prague. It was founded due to the hot springs on the site, which are believed to have potent medicinal properties. This is the oldest of the spas in Bohemia and remains popular with people who come for its waters as well as thousands of tourists who come to see the lovely Art Nouveau architecture.
Telc, situated in southern Moravia, is an ancient town dating to the 13th century. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its buildings have never been modified, giving the place a magical, fairytale-type atmosphere.
Another UNESCO World Heritage site is the town of Cesky Krumlov. Located on the banks of the Vltava River, it is considered one of the loveliest towns in Bohemia. The centre is pedestrianised, and boasts splendid architecture. The Cesky Krumlov Chateau can be reached by a moderately-strenuous climb and the effort is rewarded with the beauty of the structure itself and the magnificent views of the town below from a walkway known as Most Na Plasti.