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5 - THE CZECH REPUBLIC - SIGHTSEEING
The Czech Republic is a small country in Central Europe and that's why we call it "the heart of Europe". It has a
population of about 10 million inhabitants and occupies an area of 78 864 km2.
The Czech borders are one of the oldest in Europe and they are mostly defined by mountains. The Czech Republic
borders on Germany in the west, on Austria in the south, on Slovakia in the east and on Poland in the north. Our country
consists of 3 main regions: Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia.
The most famous mountains in Bohemia are propably the Krkonoše Mountains with the highest peak of the Czech
Republic called Sněžka (1602 m). In the south prevail the Šumava Mountains with two glacier lakes. Northward from
the Šumava Mountains are the Krušné hory Mountains which are quite destroyed with the acid rains. Very popular are
also the Beskydy Mountains. We should mention also the Jeseníky Mountains and Orlické hory Mountains.
Wecan find also many rivers in our country. The biggest ones are the Vltava and the Labe which flows to Hamburg
and empty itself into the Nort Sea. On the Vltava there are many dams. We use them to made the electricity and it's a
popular place to bath. In Moravia the biggest rivers are the Dyje and the Morava which flows through the lowlands and
the Odra which flows to Poland. Through our region flows the Ohře river.
The speciality of the Czech Republic are the ponds in the southern part of the country. The biggest one is the
Rožmberk. The ponds are used for breeding fish (?). The well-known place is also Mácha's lake which is actually a pond
and we can find it in the south near the town Česká Lípa.
Our republic has a temperate climate with the unpredictable weather. The summers are warm and the winters are
There are many places of natural beauty in the Czech Republic. The most beautiful ones are in the Czech
Paradise, the Děčín rocks, the Czech Switzerland and the Moravian karst. There are also several national parks such as
the Šumava, the Pálava or the Krkonoše.
There are also many places associated with our history - we can find here a lot of historical towns, castles, chateaus
(?) and ruins.
But the most beautiful place is our capital Prague, I think. It has about 1,2 million inhabitants and it is the biggest,
oldest, cultural and industrial city and it is also the seat of the president and the government.
We can see almost all the architectural types of houses and monuments. The most famous gothic monuments in
Prague are the Charles Bridge and St. Vitus's Cathedral. Very attractive is also Renaissance Royal Summer Palace called
also Belveder) with its Singing Fountain. As to baroque buildings, both churches of St. Nicolas by Kilian Ignaz
Dietzenhofer rank among the most clean-cut ones.
Prague is also famous for its Jewish Town which means the Jewish musieum, cemetery and mediaeval synagogues.
The 19th century was very rich in monuments - the National Theatre, the National Museum and the House of Artists
(Rudolfinum) were built in this period.
To my favourite places in Prague belong Dancing House, Wenceslas Square, Charles Bridge and Kampa. I love the
gallery "At the golden ring" near the Old-Town Square.
Also many movies have been inspired by Prague - e.g. Prague through the eyes..., The Loners, Dead Beetle, The Prague
Five, Whisper or the Rocky Bridge.
Very popular for the young people are the clubs such as Charles's Spa or Roxy. I love also the theatres like The Arch
or The Cellar.
The place where I live is called Sokolov. It's located in the Western part of Czech Republic. Sokolov has about 30 000
inhabitants so it isn't small but it isn't big. It was founded in 13th century but the buildings from that period weren't
saved. The oldest buildings in Sokolov was built in renaissance period. The other old buildings come from the last century
and the blocks of flats were built between 50's and 90's. Visitors will see maily new buildings. Sokolov is quite famous
for its chemical factory.
There are not many monuments in Sokolov but the most remarkable ones are the catholic church on the Old Square
Sv. Jakub and protestant church Sv. Tomáš. There is also a building of a monastery which doesn't serve to its original
purpose; unfortunately there are some offices.
The countryside around Sokolov is quite nice. Man can find here clean deep woods and hills. In Loket you can find a
famous rock formation Svatošské skály where you can climb or just go for a walk to Karlovy Vary. There's a very nice
nature and in the summer you can find here many people walking and riding bikes. In Březová there's a ski lift on
Březová hill. If you like skiig, you can go to Stříbrná or Bublava. These are very popular places to go skiing and
Sokolov is not so famous for the people who lived or have been living here. But if you turn over the leaves of the
Vladimír Prokop's book about the famous people of Sokolov region, you will find some interesting information. For
example the renowned writer, scientist and linguistic Josef Dobrovský spent the time limited by years 1776-1787 in
Sokolov (Falkenau). He was working for the Nostic family in our castle as a schoolmaster and teacher of Mathematics
and Philosophy. If we want to find some famous people from abroad, we can begin at Johann Wolfgang Goethe. His name
is closely connected with Loket but he visited also Sokolov. He wanted to see the collection of minerals of Ignac Lössel
and he also spent the night in house No.25 at the Old Square. From the nowadays people I can name Václav Mareš, the
actor who comes from Sokolov. He is the member of Comedy Theatre and one of his film roles was "Erderly Man" in cult
movie Šeptej (Whisper). One of the famous jazz musicians was Rudolf Jelínek who was born in Sokolov too.
The most favourite place for young people is the pub called Maska. It is a place situated almost in the center of
Sokolov right near the river Ohře. There is a wide choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The interior of this pub is
quite strange - in the ceiling there are hanging chairs and tables but on the walls there are many pictures and
photographs. The tables and chairs are different size, shapes and colors.