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Friday 29th August
Czech Republic Facts
Mount Snezka (1,602 m) is the highest point in the Czech Republic.

Moravian Karst belongs to an important karst area in Europe. Caves include Punkva Caves and Catherine's Cave.

The Vltava is the longest river in the Czech Republic. Its name is said to have come from the Celtic for wild (vlt) and water (va).

A goddess statuette found at Dolni Vestonice in the Czech Republic is one of the oldest known clay figurines. The artwork, discovered in a Paleolithic site in 1986, dates back around thirty thousand years.

A network of over one hundred and fifty temples, built between 4800 BC and 4600 BC, has been discovered beneath the countryside and cities of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Austria and Hungary.

Bohemia was named after the Celtic Boii tribe who lived in the area before the Slavs. The Latin name for the country was Boiohaemum.

Saints Cyril and Methodius, known as the Apostles of the Slavs, arrived in the Great Moravian Empire in 863.

Wenceslas (Vaclav I) is the patron saint of the Czech Republic. At the beginning of the tenth century, Wenceslas was murdered by his brother, Boleslav.

The historic centre of Prague was built between the eleventh and eighteenth centuries.

In the sixteenth century the Czech king, Fredinand I, ordered beer brewers in Ceske Budejovice to provide Budvar beer for the royal household. Ceske Budejovice is the home of Budweiser.

From the early twentieth century the American company Anheuser-Busch (AB) fought Budweiser Budvar in the courts over the "Budweiser" trademark.

Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884), the biologist and botanist, established the basis of modern genetics. Mendel was born in Hyncice in the present-day Czech Republic; at the time of Mendel's birth Hyncice was within the Austrian Empire.

Sigmund Freud, the famous psychologist and psychoanalysis, was born in Freiberg, Moravia, in 1856.

Karel Capek, a famous early twentieth century Czech playwright, introduced the word "robot" to the English language. It was used in his play "R.U.R" (Rossum's Universal Robots). The word for robot comes from the Czech word "robota" which means servitude.

Jean Comenius (J.A. Komensky) who lived in Czech lands in the seventeenth century is said to be the founder of modern teaching.

In 1938 the Munich Agreement between Britain, France, Italy and Germany forced Czechoslovakia to surrender the Sudetenland territory to Adolf Hitler. Within six months of the Agreement the German army occupied all of Czechoslovakia.

During the Second World War (1939-45) Jews living in Czechoslovakia were sent to concentration camps.

Robert Maxwell was born Jan Ludvik Hoch (1923) in Slatinske Doly in Czechoslovakia. Hoch was a Jew who fought the Nazis through the Czech Resistance Movement. He was captured and escaped joining the British Army. Hoch changed his name to Robert Maxwell and went on to become one of the most powerful media owners in the UK.

Czechoslovakia was a member of COMECON, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (1949-91) and the Warsaw Treaty Organization.

The Warsaw Pact (1955-1991) allowed the Red Army to have bases in member states. (Warsaw Treaty Organization member countries were Albania (until 1968), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic), East Germany (DDR), Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union).

In 1968 Alexander Dubcek's government tried to introduce a more liberal form of communism - this was known as the "Prague Spring". In August the USSR occupied Czechoslovakia and removed Dubcek and government leaders from office.

Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania intervened on behalf of Czechoslovakia during the Soviet invasion in 1968. Josip Broz "Tito" of Yugoslavia (not a Warsaw Pact country) was also against the Soviet action. Following the invasion, Albania left the Warsaw Pact although it had not been an active member since the early 1960s.

John Lennon was a pacifist hero to young Czechs. After Lennon's death (1980) the "John Lennon Peace Wall", at the back of a fourteenth century churchyard in Prague, became somewhere for the youth of Czechoslovakia to write their views. After the "Velvet Revolution" (1989) the Lennon Wall became a tourist attraction.

In 1993 the Czechs and Slovaks decided to separate (the Velvet Divorce) forming the countries of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

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