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The Czech Republic, located in central Europe, is a stunning country steeped in history, yet growing in modernity. Made up of Bohemia and Moravia, these two ancient lands have been at the centre of imperial ambition and various wars over the centuries. Countless castles dot the land. From the picturesque historic spa towns in the west, a huge ring of mountains encircle the north of the country, forming a natural border with Germany and Poland. In the south you’ll find lush orchards and vineyards and rolling plains. At its heart is Prague, the famed capital of Czech Republic, which has been the political, cultural and economic centre of the Czech state for over 1100 years.
Prague boasts one of the most beautiful and intact medieval centres in Europe and there’s so much to see – the 1000 year old Prague Castle, Lesser town, Jewish Quarter and, the Old Town Square where the mechanised antics of the Astronomical Clock’s glockenspiel delight onlookers each hour. As the sun starts to set, the place to be is on Charles Bridge. Elsewhere, ancient towns such as Cesky Krumlov, appear lost in time, eternally suspended, as if by magic, in the Middle Ages.
Prague has a diverse nightlife with everything from opera, theatre and ballet through to Europe’s largest music club, the five-story Karlovy Lázně, and a seemingly infinite range of cafés and bars. The abundance of famous Czech composers like Dvorak and Smetana means classical music fans will enjoy a wealth of concerts and festivals held in the main cities throughout the year. Jazz fans may want to board the ‘Jazzboat’ in Prague for a two hour cruise through the centre of the old city to the sounds of top jazz musicians.
Czech out the Church of Bones! One of the world’s most unusual chapels, the Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora contains an enormous chandelier of bones and garlands of skulls draping the vaults. You can also pay your respects at the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe, where residents of the ghetto were forced to bury their dead on top of one another up to 12 layers deep.
Av temp: 13˚C55˚F
Av temp: 23˚C73˚F
Av temp: 13˚C55˚F
Av temp: 2˚C36˚F
London GMT + 1hr
The Koruna (kc) or Crown = 100 Hellers
When to go: May-August for the best weather; November-December for amazing Christmas markets.
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