The Czech Republic comprises the historical regions of Bohemia and Moravia and part of Silesia in central Europe. It is bounded in the north by Poland, in the east by Slovakia, in the south by Austria and in the west and north by Germany. The Czech Republic has an area of 78 000 sq km (30,45 sq ml) and about 10 000 000 inhabitants. The capital and largest city is Prague (Czech Praha).
In the 6th century a branch of the Western Slavs came to the area of the Czech Republic and they formed the first state organ, called the Samo Empire. Later there existed the Great Moravia Empire. During the 9th century AD the population was converted to Christianity. The kingdom of Bohemia was founded shortly after the year 900. In the 14th century Bohemia achieved great political and cultural prominence under King Charles I (also known as Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV). In the 15th century the Czech lands were convulsed by the great Hussite Reformation led by reformer John Huss (also spelled Jan Hus), who was burned in 1415. In the 16th century Czech lands became a part of the Habsburg Empire. After the World War I on 28th October 1918 independent Czechoslovakia arose and Tomáš Garigue Masaryk became the first president. Between the two world wars was Czechoslovakia one of the most prosperous and industrialised nations in eastern Europe. In the World War II the Nazis invaded into Czechoslovakia and established a protectorate in Bohemia and Moravia. After the war in 1945 Czechoslovakia fell under the control of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In November 1989, after 44 years of Communist domination, a revolution (also called 'Velvet revolution') came in response to massive demonstrations. The first president after the revolution was Václav Havel. On 1st January 1993 Czechoslovakia was divided into two independent republics - the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. In the 1998 Czech Republic became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The Czech Republic ranges on elevated tablelands known as the Bohemian Plateau, which stretch west to the German border and east to Slovakia. Mountains (including the Bohemian, Sudeten and Carpathian ranges) rise along the plateau's edges, primarily to the north and east. The Bohemian Forest forms the southwest border with Germany. The central part of the plateau consists primarily of rolling hills, farmland, and fertile river beds. The republic's primary rivers include the Elbe, Vltava, Morava, and Oder. The country's highest point is Sněžka, which rises 1602 m (5256 ft) in the Sudeten Mountains. The lowest point is the Elbe, which at the border with Germany is 117 m (384 ft) above sea level.
The republic's official language is Czech, which is closely related to Slovak and belongs to the Western Slavic subgroup of the Indo-European family of languages.
About 40 percent of the population profess atheism. Of those adhering to a religion, the largest segment is Roman Catholic, representing about 39 percent of the population. Some 5 percent are Protestant, and 3 percent are Eastern Orthodox. About 13 percent report following other religions, primarily nondenominational Christianity.
The Czech Republic has rich and diverse culture with distinct art, music and literature. The culture is combined from Germanic, Jewish and Czech. Famous writers are Václav Havel (a new republic's president was a famed playwright and leader in the Czech art world before becoming a president), poet Jaroslav Seifert, who won the Nobel Prize for poetry in 1984, Franz Kafka and Bohumil Hrabal. Famous music composers Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček and Bohuslav Martinů and film director Miloš Forman came also from the Czech republic.
The Czech Republic is usually visited because of its beautiful historical monuments and also because of its natural beauty. Worth visiting are Prague, the Karlštějn castle, north Bohemia, national park Šumava on the border with Germany and monuments, which are registered in the UNESCO list of monuments - towns Telč, Kutná Hora, Kroměříž, Český Krumlov, Holašovice, chateau Lednice and the church of St. Jan Nepomucký on the Green Hill near town Žďár nad Sázavou.
Gymnázium Matyáše Lercha