The Czech Republic The Czech Republic is a small country with market economy, located in Central Europe. Its territory totals 78,866 sq km (approximately like the area of Southern Carolina).
It has 1,881 km of land boundaries and borders on Germany in the west, Poland in the north, Austria in the south and Slovakia in the east. Countrys area is mostly covered with hills and low mountains, the highest point of which is Snejka Mountain (1,602 m), but there are rather plain territories in the west. Climate of the country is temperate and very humid, with cold, long winters and warm, but rainy summers. Big rivers Elbe, Oder and Vltava are the main water sources of the Czech Republic, because the country is inland.
Natural resources are coal, graphite, kaolin, etc. Economy of the Czech Republic is one of the most prosperous and stable among the ones of young states in Central Europe. GDP rate in 2004 was 3.7%, purchasing power parity totaled $172.2 billion. The most advanced branches of economy are industry (40%) and services (57.3%).
Services are mainly tourism and public, and the main sectors of industry are metallurgy, heavy machinery, glass and ceramics, pharmaceuticals, etc. Labor resources of the country exceed 5 mln people, the majority of who work in services. In 2004 unemployment rate was above 10% and inflation rate reached 3.4%.
Exports of the Republic total $66.51 billion; imports are $68.19 billion, mostly from and to the countries of EU. Money unit of the Republic is Czech crown (Kc): 1 USD is about 23 Kc. Population of the country is estimated at 10.25 mln people. Population density is 130/km. Population growth rate is quite neutral: -0.05%. 91% of population is ethnically Czech, 3.7% is Moravian, 2% are Slovak, and the others are Germans, Romans, Poles, Ukrainians, etc. The majority of population (59%) is atheists and agnostics. 27% of people are Roman Catholics, 2% is Protestants, and almost 9% is unspecified.
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The Czech Republic has rich and ancient history; the roots of this ethnicity go back into IX century. In the mid centuries the Bohemian Kingdom was a significant power in Europe, but frequently it was involved into different conflicts on religious basis. In XX century, after the World War I, ethnic groups of Czech and Slovak nations united, and in 1918 the Republic of Czechoslovakia was founded. In 1945, after the World War II, Czechoslovakia joined Western Block of Soviet States and started its development according to soviet ideology. Nevertheless, in 1968 a movement took place, which resulted in liberation of Czech leaders from deep communistic influence. Finally, in 1989, with the collapse of Soviet Empire Czechoslovakia also gained independence by so called Velvet Revolution and became a new state, which in 1993 was spit into two separated countries, known as modern Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Since 2004 the Czech Republic is a member of European Union.
Constitution of the Czech Republic established a parliamentary democracy, so the main governmental body of the country is Parliament, which consists of Chamber of Deputies (about 200 deputies) and Senate (81 members).
The leader of the country is President, who is elected by members of the Parliament every five years. President appoints the Prime Minister: an official, who forms cabinet of Ministers and creates external and internal policies of the country. Besides, President has right to appoint members of Constitutional Court, which rules on all constitutional matters. The highest court, which solves civil and public matters, is the Supreme Court of the Republic. The country consists of two principal regions, Moravia and Bohemia, and one small region named Silesia.
There are 13 administrative divisions in the Republic, every one of which has own governmental structure. The capital of the country is a beautiful city Prague. In 2005 its population reached 1.2 million people. The other principal cities are Brno, Karlovy Vary, Hradec Kralove, Plezn, Ostrava, etc..
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