The Czech Republic: Western-Style Living for Less
Since the 1989 Velvet Revolution, the Czech Republic has rapidly approached Western living standards. However, costs are substantially lower than in the country’s western neighbors, Germany and Austria.
Tourists rediscovered its capital, Prague—which was compared to Paris in the 1920s—cheap and arty, with its history, culture, and architecture. Prices rose, of course, as the world’s writers, artists, tourists, and investors came in greater numbers. But few ventured outside the capital, and, even today, the Czech countryside remains somewhat undiscovered.
Prague the Golden, the City of a Hundred Spires—what Goethe called the “prettiest gem in the stone crown of the world.” No doubt about it, Prague (Praha to its citizens) is one of Europe’s most wonderfully atmospheric cities.
The Old Town is a bedazzlement of gilded statuary, Gothic spires, pastel-colored houses with russet roofs, and baroque palaces adorned with cherubs. Cross the Vltava River over Charles Bridge—lined with watchtowers and ornate statues turned to blackened stone—and you’re in the equally historic Castle district.
The Czech Republic divides into the regions of Bohemia and Moravia. Blessed with hot summers and Christmas-card winters, Bohemia is a spellbinding mosaic of romantic castles and towns straight from sword-and-sorcery tales.
Frescoed houses and Rapunzel-style turrets are fairly common throughout Central Europe—and Bohemia has its share.
The countryside is studded with wildflower meadows…dense forests of silver birch and spruce…and ponds full of fat, lazy carp. You’ll also see fields planted with hops, enough to meet the Czech thirst for beer.
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- Population: 10,627,448
- Capital City: Prague
- Climate: Temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters
- Time Zone: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
- Language: Czech
- Country Code: 420
- Coastline: Landlocked
- Location: Central Europe, between Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria
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