At the center of Europe
When we speak of Central Europe, of “Middle Europe”, we also and above all speak of the Czech Republic: the westernmost territory inhabited by Slavic peoples, between German lands in terms of language and culture. For centuries, a country of contacts and contrasts, but deeply embedded in rich and developed Europe, the Czech Republic is quickly recovering its role of ‘hinge’ and its ancient prosperity
Woods and industrious ancient cities
According to topschoolsintheusa, the Czech Republic is made up of two regions, hilly and mountainous: to the west, Bohemia, where Elba and Moldava flow; to the east, Moravia, bathed by the Morava, a tributary of the Danube. Forests and pastures cover nearly half of the heavily cultivated country. The climate is continental, with rainfall mainly in the summer.
The Czechs are of Slavic origin, but their culture was influenced by the Austrian one; for this, they use the Latin alphabet and are Catholic. The birth rate is low and the population tends to decline. Among the main cities, Prague, the splendid capital on the Vltava, and then Brno and Ostrava, active industrial centers. The town, rich in minerals, had an early artisanal and industrial development. During the communist regime, the steel and chemical industries were preferred to the traditional ones – precision mechanics, glassware, porcelain, textiles – which are regaining importance also thanks to foreign capital, especially from Germany. The country is an important tourist destination and is experiencing strong economic growth, which has allowed it to enter the European Union.
A short but complex story
To understand the origins of the Czech Republic we need to go back to 1918, when from the ashes of that mosaic of peoples that was the Habsburg Empire Czechoslovakia was born, in which the Czechs and the Slovaks were reunited, who inhabited ex-Austrian and ex-Hungarian territories respectively, as well as some minorities of Germans, Poles and Ruthenians. This composition did not help the stability of the new state, which in addition to the millennial separation between Czechs and Slovaks, had to face the autonomy tendencies of the minorities and the related claims advanced by Germany, Poland and Hungary. In 1938 Nazi Germany invaded the regions inhabited by the Germans and the following year occupied the whole country. At the end of the Second World War, Czechoslovakia became a communist country, which became part of the Soviet bloc and was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1968.due to an attempt at liberalization of the regime (the famous Prague Spring).
Following the collapse of the USSR in 1989, the Czechoslovakians got rid of the communist regime and started the transition to democracy. Soon, however, the socio-economic difficulties exacerbated the ancient conflicts between Czechs and Slovaks, who came – by mutual agreement – to the decision to separate. Thus the Czech Republic was born on 1 January 1993, whose first president was the writer Václav Havel, one of the protagonists of dissent during the communist regime. The transition to the market economy, led by liberal-inspired parties, had a very positive start, but over time it led to growing popular discontent, which in 1998 led the Social Democratic opposition to win the elections. On the international level, the Czech Republic has pursued a policy of regional integration.