Czech Republic: political system
According to COMPUTERMINUS.COM, the Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy under the 1993 constitution. The parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives with 200 members and the Senate with 81 members, who together elect the head of state, the President. The head of government is a prime minister elected by parliament. See AbbreviationFinder for more information about Czech Republic politics, and acronyms as well.
The official name of the country is:
The national anthem of a country is a piece of music that is usually underlaid with a text and is intended to express the state, lifestyle and national feeling of a country. It is played on special festive occasions, e.g. on state visits, on special holidays or to honor politicians, business leaders, etc. The national anthem of the respective winning country is also performed at the award ceremony on the occasion of international sporting events such as the Olympic Games, the Tour de France or World and European Championships. In most European countries, the national anthems and flags were introduced in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, after they achieved independence.
Based on flag descriptions by Countryaah.com, the text of the Czech national anthem was written by Josef Kajetan Tyl for the play “Fidlovacka – The Shoemaker’s Festival”, which premiered in Prague in 1834. Frantisek Skroup composed the music for it. In the following years the song “Kde domov muj?” (“Where is my home?”) Quickly and developed into a kind of national anthem that was sung on various occasions. Numerous attempts to introduce another anthem in the Czech Republic failed: in 1920 the song was officially named an anthem.
- Check top-mba-universities for public holidays, sports events, UNESCO world heritage sites and major places to visit in Czech Republic.
In Czech language
|Kde domov muj,kde domov muj?
Voda hucí po lucinách,
bory šumí po skalinách,
v sade skví se jara kvet,
zemský ráj to na pohled!
A to je ta krásná zeme,
zeme ceská, domov muj,
zeme ceská, domov muj!
And in the English translation
|Where is my home, my country?Where streams
rush through meadows, where forests rustle on rocks,
where an Eden enchants us
when the bilge decorates the corridors.
This country, so beautiful in front of everyone,
Bohemia is my homeland!
Writer and poet
- Max Brod (1884-1968)writer from Prague, worked as a writer, translator and composer. Was close friends with Franz Kafka and after his death became the administrator of his entire oeuvre.
- Karel Čapek (1890-1938)one of the most important Czech writers of the 20th century. His brother Josef Čapek invented the word robot (robota, Slavic word for compulsory labor), which Karel Čapek used in 1920 in his play “RUR” (“Rossum’s Universal Robot”).
- Karel Jaromír Erben (1811-1870)writer, poet, translator, literary historian and collector of Czech folk tales; Representative of romanticism.
- Jaroslav Foglar (1907-1999)author of books for young people
- František Halas (1901-1949)poet
- Jaroslav Hašek (1883-1923)writer; famous above all for his novel “The Adventures of the Good Soldier Schwejk”
- Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997)writer; is considered one of the most important Czech authors of the 20th century.
- Josef Jungmann (1773-1847)poet and linguist; was one of the leading figures of the so-called Czech National Revival. His most important work is the Czech-German dictionary, in which he created the basis for modern Czech vocabulary.
- Franz Kafka (1883-1924)German-speaking writer from Prague. He was one of the most influential authors of world literature in the 20th century.His works include numerous short stories (including “The Metamorphosis”, “In the Penal Colony”, “Researches of a Dog”) and novels (“The Castle”, “The Trial”) with their very own “Kafkaesque” style.
- Otto Katz (1895-1952)Austrian-Czech writer; wrote in exile after 1933 under the code name André Simone. Together with other comrades of predominantly Jewish descent, he was indicted and executed in the Rudolf Slánský trial in November 1952.His works include “Brown Book on Reichstag Fire and Hitler Terror”, “Brown Book II – Dimitroff contra Göring”, “White Book on June 30, 1934”.
- Egon Erwin Kisch (1885-1948)German-speaking writer from Prague; is considered one of the most important German-speaking journalists. During his exile in Paris in 1938, he said about his origins: “… nothing can happen to me.I’m a German. I’m a Czech. I’m a Jew. I come from a good family. I’m a communist. I’m a corps boy. Some of this always helps me. “
- Milan Kundera (born 1929)writer. He became internationally known for his prose works “The Book of Ridiculous Love” and “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”.
- Karel Hynek Mácha (1810-1836)Romantic poet
- Božena Němcová (1820-1862)writer. She became internationally famous with the novel “Babi ? Ka” published in 1855.
- Jan Neruda (1834-1891)journalist, poet and writer; Employee of the newspaper “Tagebote” from Bohemia, from 1861 columnist of the newspaper “Národní listy”.The Chilean poet Neftali RR Basualto (1904-1973) wrote under the pseudonym Pablo Neruda out of admiration for the committed Prague national poet.
- Jaroslav Seifert (1901-1986)writer; received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1984
- Josef Škvorecký (born 1924)writer, translator and publisher; settled in Canada from 1970 and founded the exile publishing house “Sixty-eight Publishers” for Czech literature by authors critical of the regime such as Václav Havel and Milan Kundera
- Josef Kajetán Tyl (1808-1856)one of the most important Czech theater dramatists; including “The miners from Kuttenberg”, “Jan Hus”, “Drahomira and her sons”
- Ludvík Vaculík (born 1926)writer; he has received numerous peace awards
- Michael Viewegh (born 1962)author with a great sense of humor who finds many readers, especially in Germany; e.g. novel “Völkerball”
- Vinzenz Priessnitz (1799-1851)farmer. Although Priessnitz was not a doctor, he discovered the healing power of cold water long before Sebastian Kneipp described it. In 1831 he received permission to open a water sanatorium in Lazne Jeseniky, where he treated spa guests from all over Europe with cold showers and baths.
- Jan Evangelista Purkyne (1787-1869)physiologist; wrote two important works on physiological optics (“Contributions to the knowledge of seeing in subjective terms” (1819-25), “Observations and experiments on the psychology of the senses” (1823-26). He also researched the anatomy of humans and described parts of human nerve cells and the cerebellar cortex.
- Johann Schroth (1800-1856)farmer. He was not a doctor either, but in 1829 he founded a sanatorium in Lipova Lazne, where hot water treatment was used as a healing method. He also introduced the so-called “Schroth cure” for overweight people, a low-calorie diet made from porridge, gruel and dry bread.
Architects and builders
- Matthias von Arras (Czech Matyáš z Arrasu, 1290-1352)French architect and builder who worked in Bohemia. Among other things, he led construction work on the new Gothic building on St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague and on Karlstein Castle.
- Antonin Balsanek (1865-1921)architect, represents architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The influence of baroque and renaissance can be found in his works, at the same time he became a leading figure in Art Nouveau architecture. One of the most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings he was involved in is certainly the Obecni Dum (House of Representation) in Prague.
- Josef Go ? Ár (1880-1945)architect and town planner; important protagonist of modern Czech architecture; Works include the House of the Black Madonna in Prague and the Bank of the Czechoslovak Legions in Prague
- Frantisek Maxmilian Kanka (1674-1766)architect and leading representative of the classical baroque. From 1724 he worked as an imperial architect for the nobility and the church. His most beautiful works include the Cerninsky Palac (Czernin Palace) on the Hradschin, the Vrtbovska Garden on the Lesser Town in Prague, Chram Sv. Klimenta (Cathedral of Saint Kliment) in the old town of Prague.
- Jan Kotera (1871-1923)architect, designer and graphic artist. He is considered a pioneer of modern Czech architecture. Together with Frantisek L. Gahura, he created the city of Zlin on behalf of Tomas Bata (see below), which delighted the international architecture scene of the time with its modern urban planning concepts. Low prices with a high standard of living was the motto of the architect duo, who actually managed to avoid boring prefabricated buildings in a social housing estate.
- Josef Mocker (1835-1899)architect, restorer and builder. In 1873 he was commissioned with the final work on St. Vitus Cathedral. He was also responsible for the restoration of numerous important buildings, such as the Powder Tower in Prague, Hradschin, Karlstejn Castle and Konopiste Castle.
- Mikolas Ales (1852-1913)painter. His work was influenced by the growing self-confidence of the Czechs in the second half of the 19th century. He used himself in the selection of subjects for his patriotic-oriented works in Czech history. There are many buildings in Prague associated with his name, including the National Theater, the House of Representatives, the Vrtbovsky Palace and Wenceslas Square. Ales also made a name for himself as a book and magazine illustrator.
- Master Theoderich from Prague (2nd half of the 14th century)Gothic painter, in the 14th century in the service of Charles IV. His most important works are the 127 paintings of saints in the Holy Cross Chapel of Karlstein Castle. Some of his works can be admired in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.
- Frantisek Kupka (1871-1975)painter and illustrator, known at the beginning of his career for satirical drawings, was one of the first artists to switch from Art Nouveau to abstraction. He is one of the founding members of the “Abstraction-Creation” group, of which he became a board member.
- Josef Lada (1887-1957)illustrator and children’s book author; became known primarily through his characters like the cat Mikesch and the illustrations for Jaroslav Hašek’s “The Adventures of the Good Soldier Schwejk”.
- Josef Manes (1820-1871)painter and illustrator. His works belong to the Italian Renaissance, known is his so-called “certain types of folk figures”, i.e. the images of normal mortals from everyday life who represented the Slovak people. There are many of his works in Prague, for example in the National Gallery in the Sternberg Palace, the Old Town Hall.
- Alfons Mucha (1860-1939)world-famous Art Nouveau painter and poster maker. His work “Slavic Epic”, which is probably the most monumental work of Art Nouveau, can be admired in Moravsky Krumlov (Moravian Kronau, 30 km from Brno).
- Josef Vaclav Myslbek (1848-1922)one of the most important Czech sculptors of the 2nd half of the 19th century. Inspired by Gothic, Baroque, but also ancient times, he created works that reflect the political and cultural rise of the Czech nation. His statues and groups of statues can be admired in the National Theater, St. Vitus Cathedral, on the Palacky Bridge or on Wenceslas Square.
- Ladislav Saloun (1870-1946)sculptor, representative of Czech Art Nouveau. Many of his works have monumental character, such as the monument by Master Jan Hus on the Old Town Ring in Prague.
- Karel Skreta (1610-1674) animportant painter of the Czech Baroque. His works include altarpieces, mythological pictures and portraits in which he masterfully immortalized the mood of the person portrayed. His works adorn the St. Nicholas Cathedral and St. Tomas Cathedral in Prague.
- Max Svabinsky (1873-1962)painter and graphic artist, an important representative of Czech modernism. Among other things, his monumental works such as the design for the window decoration of St. Vitus Cathedral are known.
- Jan Zrzavy (1890-1977)painter, graphic artist and illustrator, an important representative of the Czech avant-garde of visual arts at the beginning of the 20th century. During the German occupation, his works were considered “degenerate art” and also contradicted communist ideologies. It was not until the 1960s that he was recognized in the CSSR, and in 1965 he was given the honorary title of “National Artist” (Narodni Umelec).
- Karel Ancerl (1908-1973)conductor. Until the outbreak of the Second World War he worked, among other things, as head of the Opera of May 5th and employee of the Czech radio. After the German invasion he lost his job and was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1942 and later to Auschwitz. He was the only one in his family to survive. Ancerl was the conductor of the Czech Philharmonic from 1950 to 1968. During the Prague Spring he emigrated to Canada, where he directed the Toronto Symphony Orchestra until 1972.
- Ema Destinnova (born Emilie Kittlova, 1878-1930)soprano, in her day she was the most famous star of the opera world. Although she was excellently trained and talented, she did not find a permanent position in the first few years of her career. It was not until 1898 that she came to the stage at the Royal Court Opera in Berlin. Her successful years began in 1908 with an eight-year engagement at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. There she sang the role of “Marenka” in Smetana’s opera “The Bartered Bride” which was performed for the first time in the United States. Puccini composed the opera “The Girl from the Golden West” for Destinnova, which was a great success. In 1916 Ema Destinnova returned to Bohemia, in 1923 she ended her career.
- Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)composer and, together with B. Smetana, the main exponent of Czech classical music. His works include “Rusalka” (opera, 1900), “Requiem” (church music, 1890), numerous symphonies (“From the New World”, 1893), chamber music, piano works and choirs.
- Zdenek Fibich (1850-1900)composer, wrote numerous operas, chamber music, three symphonies, songs and vocal duets. In 1899 he was appointed opera dramaturge at the National Theater in Prague. Fibich was buried on the Vyšehrad after his death.
- Karel Gott (born 1939)popular pop singer, also known as “the golden voice from Prague”
- Leos Janacek (1854-1928)composer; Breakthrough with the opera “Jenufa” (first performance in Prague 1916); further works include operas “Katja Kabanowa”, “The clever little fox” and “From a house of the dead”, two string quartets, Sinfonietta and the Glagolitic Mass.
- Jeroným Rafael Kubelík (1914-1996)conductor and composer of Czech origin with Swiss citizenship. Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic from 1942 to 1948. Rafael Kubelík is buried in the Vyšehrad cemetery in Prague.
- Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959)modern composer
- Josef Myslive ? Ek (1737-1781)composer; wrote numerous masses, cantatas, psalms, oratorios, operas and orchestral music
- Václav Neumann (1920-1995)conductor, violin and viola player; Co-founder and first violinist in the Smetana Quartet, conductor in Karlsbad and Brno. In 1956 he became conductor at the Komische Oper in Berlin and in 1964 conductor of the Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig. From 1968 to 1990 he was the conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. During the fall of the Wall, Neumann became the artistic figurehead of the gentle revolution in Prague.
- Otakar Ostr ? Il (1879-1935)composer and conductor; Student of Zdeněk Fibich. From 1920 to 1935 he was the conductor and head of the Prague National Theater.
- Libor Pešek (born 1933)conductor, pianist, cellist and trombonist; Chief Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic 1980/81, Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Orchestra 1987-1997
- Jakub Jan Ryba (1765-1815)teacher, cantor and composer; mainly wrote church music (masses, e.g. “The Bohemian Shepherd Mass”)
- Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884)composer. His works are a synthesis of passionate warmth and folk poetry, which is probably best expressed in the cycle “My Fatherland”, from which the famous work “Moldau” comes. His most famous opera is “The Bartered Bride” (1868), he also wrote “Dalibor” (1868), “Libuse” (1881) and other operas. Because of progressive deafness Smetana withdrew from public life in 1874, in 1882 he fell into mental derangement.
- Josef Suk (1874-1953)composer and violinist, studied composition with Dvorak and later married his daughter. His works include orchestral compositions, stage music and choral music.
- Vaclav Talich (1883-1961)first conductor of the Czech Philharmonic from 1919 to 1941
- Jaromir Vejvoda (1902-1988)composer and Kapellmeister, who became famous for the 1927 hit “Skoda Lasky” (“Rosamunde”, in English “Beer Barrel Polka”). There is a small memorial for Jaromir Vejvoda on the main square in Zbraslav near Prague. In the Skoda lasky restaurant, where the hit of the same name is said to have originated, you can eat very tasty.
- Prokop Divis (1698-1765)devoted his life to researching electricity. He studied the effect of electricity on plants and used it to heal rheumatism and paralysis. His greatest discovery is the grounded lightning rod, which he installed on July 17, 1754 in a garden in Primstice near Znojmo.
- Jaroslav Heyrovský (1890-1967)physical chemist; developed the electrochemical analysis method of polarography using the mercury drop electrode and received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1959.
- Frantisek Krizik (1847-1941)explorer and electrical engineer, also called “Czech Edison”. He became famous for his development of the differential arc lamp, which he exhibited in Paris in 1881 and won the gold medal for it. He later built electric cars, electric threshers, and electric locomotives.
- Johann Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)Austrian-Czech Augustinian monk and naturalist; he was an avid beekeeper and studied the inheritance of traits in peas. In doing so, he discovered the rules of inheritance and is therefore considered the father of genetics.
- Kaspar Graf Sternberg (1761-1838)theologian, politician, mineralogist and botanist; He founded the Fatherland Museum of the Kingdom of Bohemia in Prague (today: National Museum) and is considered the founder of modern paleobotany.
Politicians and rulers
- Madeleine Albright (born Marie Jana Korbel; born 1937)daughter of the Czech diplomat Josef Korbel, who worked as a UN diplomat in the USA and who later applied for political asylum. In 1957 Madeleine became a US citizen. She began an academic career as a professor. Her political career culminated under President Bill Clinton, who appointed her Secretary of State in 1997.
- Edward Benes (1884-1948)Co-Founder, Foreign Minister and President of Czechoslovakia. In 1938 he went into exile in London, where he founded the Czech government in exile in 1940. On December 12, 1943 in Moscow he signed a Czechoslovak-Soviet assistance treaty with Stalin, which also enshrined post-war cooperation. After the Second World War, the so-called Beneš Decrees determined the partial nationalization of the Czechoslovak economy as well as the expropriation and resettlement of the Sudeten Germans.
- Alexander Dubcek (1921-1992)Slovak politician, First Secretary of the Communist Party and leading figure of the Prague Spring of 1968. After the reform movement was crushed, Dub ? Ek had to resign as head of the CPČ in 1969. In 1989 he was rehabilitated and elected President of the Czechoslovak Parliament.
- Emil Hácha (1872-1945)President of Czechoslovakia 1938/39 and from 1939 President of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
- Charles IV (1316-1378)Roman-German King from 1346, King of Bohemia from 1347 and Roman-German Emperor from 1355. He is considered the most important emperor of the late Middle Ages.
- Václav Havel (1936-2011)writer and politician, one of the leading critics of the regime in the ČSSR. After the reunification he was President of Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992 and President of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. Havel died a few days before Christmas of the consequences of his lung cancer
- Václav Klaus (born 1941), conservative-liberal politician. He has been the country’s president since 2003
- Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937)founder and first President of Czechoslovakia
- Antonín Novotný (1904-1975)President of the ČSSR from 1957 to 1968. He pursued a tough policy of repression against the regime critics and continued the Stalinist policy well into the 1960s. At the beginning of the Prague Spring on January 5, 1968, he was forced to resign as head of the Communist Party and as president.
- František Palacký (1798-1876)historian and politician; he was involved in the Czech national movement of the 1830s/40s, e.g. for the establishment of the national theater). He was also politically active, for example as President of the first Slav Congress.
- Rudolf Slánský (1901-1952)from 1945 to 1951 General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. After the Second World War he was involved in the Communists’ seizure of power in 1948 and in this context was responsible for the persecution of numerous opponents of the Communist Party. In 1951 he was arrested and charged with high treason. In addition to political reasons, anti-Semitic motives probably also played a role in the indictment. Slansky was sentenced to death in a show trial for allegedly “head of an anti-state conspiracy center” and executed in 1952. In 1963 he was legally rehabilitated.
- Ludvík Svoboda (1895-1979)General and after the Prague Spring from 1968 to 1975 President of the Czechoslovak Republic.
- Jan Zizka von Trocnov (around 1360-1424)the most important military leader of the Hussites
- Věra Chytilová (born 1929)film director and screenwriter
- Miloš Forman (born 1932)Director, actor and screenwriter; including director of “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” and the film adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s play “Amadeus” (both awarded numerous Oscars).
- Miroslav Horní ? Ek (1918-2003)actor, writer, director, visual artist and theater theorist
- Jan Svěrák (born 1965)film director, actor and screenwriter; is considered one of the most important Czech film directors since the 1990s. In 1997 he received an Oscar for best foreign film with “Kolya”.
- Tomas Bata (1876-1932)important Czech industrialist, founder of the Bata concern, one of the world’s largest shoe manufacturers. He is therefore considered the Czech “shoe emperor”.
- Josef Dobrovský (1753-1829)philologist and Slavist; is considered the founder of the modern written Czech language
- Jan Palach (1948-1969) and Jan Zajic (1950-1969)students who burned themselves to death in public on January 19 and February 25, 1969, respectively, on Wenceslas Square in protest against the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops during the Prague Spring of 1968.
- Emil Skoda (1839-1900)founder of the legendary Skoda factory in Pilsen. The Skoda-Werke first became the most important arms factory in Austria-Hungary and later the most important mechanical engineering factory in what was then Czechoslovakia. The group was briefly (1925-45) merged with the Czech car manufacturer Skoda, which produces one of the oldest car brands in the world – alongside Mercedes Benz and Peugeot – the Skoda.
- Josef Skupa (1892-1957)gifted doll maker, whose characters Spejbl and Hurvinek are also very popular in Germany.
- Max Wertheimer (1880-1943)psychologist; together with Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka is considered to be the founder of Gestalt psychology and Gestalt theory
- Věra Čáslavská (born 1942)gymnast; seven-time Olympic champion. She dedicated her international medals to the heroes of the Prague Spring of 1968. Because she wrote the “Manifesto of 2000 Words”, one of the most important texts of the Prague Spring (aka “2000 Words, addressed to workers, farmers, civil servants, artists and everyone.” are “), initially did not get a job after completing her sports career. After the fall of the Wall, she was rehabilitated.
- Helena Fibingerová (born 1949)athlete, shot putter; World champion and former world record holder
- Ivan Hlinka (1950-2004)one of the most famous ice hockey players in the world. Triple world champion, coach of the Czech Olympic champion in Nagano in 1998.
- Jan Kodeš (born 1946)tennis player; won three Grand Slam tournaments
- Jan Koller (born 1973)footballer
- Jarmila Kratochvílová (born 1951)athlete, middle distance runner; Twice world champion, current world record holder over 800 m and world record holder over 400 m, whereby she was the first woman in the world to run under 48 seconds.
- Ivan Lendl (born 1960)tennis player, won eight Grand Slam tournaments in his career
- Martina Navrátilová (born 1956)American tennis player of Czech origin, is considered one of the best tennis players of all time; including nine-time Wimbledon individual winner and countless Grand Slam tournament victories
- Pavel Nedved (born 1972)footballer
- Kateřina Neumannová (born 1973)cross-country skier; won her first Olympic gold medal (over 30 km) at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, probably her last Olympic race
- Tomáš Rosický (born 1980)footballer
- Roman Šebrle (born 1974)athlete, decathlete; Olympic champion and current world record holder; the first to score more than 9,000 points
- Helena Suková (born 1965)tennis player
- Emil Zátopek (1922-2000)athlete, long-distance runner; Four-time Olympic champion (1948 in London over 10,000 m and 1952 in Helsinki over 10,000 m, 5,000 m and the marathon). He commented on his performance in 1952 with the now famous words: “Fish swims, bird flies, man runs.” Zatopek was also a multiple world record holder and was considered a popular hero in Czechoslovakia.
- Dana Zátopková (born 1922)athlete, javelin thrower; Wife of Emil Zatopek. She became Olympic champion in Helsinki in 1952.
- Jan Železný (born 1966)athlete, javelin thrower; three-time Olympic champion and current world record holder
Theologians and philosophers
- Hroznata (around 1170-1217)Bohemian martyr; joined the Premonstratensian Order in Rome in 1198 and founded a monastery for the Premonstratensians. Later he was imprisoned by knights from the Egerland in the castle Königsberg an der Eger and died there. In 1897 he was declared a martyr by the Pope.
- Jan Hus (around 1369-1415)priest, Christian reformer and martyr. The Hussite movement named after him was initiated by him. In his teachings he criticized the secular possessions of the church and the greed of the clergy.
- Jan Amos Komensky (Latin Comenius, 1592-1670)theologian, educator, philosopher, religious thinker. He developed a coherent school concept in which the natural development of children was taken into account, and described childlike thinking and behavior in his work. His works include “Orbis Sensualium pictus”, “Schola ludus” and “Didactica magna”.
- Karl Klemens Serol (1740-1801)philosopher; he developed the principle of dyadic dialectic, a special theory of progress.
- Cardinal František Tomášek (1899-1992)Archbishop of Prague
Czech Republic: animals
Most of the animals in the forests in the Czech Republic are roe deer and deer. Mouflons, wild boars, lynxes, wild cats, brown bears and wolves also live in the forest areas, although these are rare.
Mouflons are also known as European wild sheep. They reach a size of 65 to 90 cm and live on average 8 to 10 years. Typical are the gray to yellowish colored saddle spots on the brown fur and the horns of the males, which grow throughout life and can reach a length of 0.45 m. The horns of the females are much shorter or nonexistent. The mouflons have a well-developed sense of hearing and smell, but the sense of sight is best developed. Their diet includes grasses, herbs and woody plants, but also mushrooms and fruits.
The mammals found in the Czech Republic also include marmots, Otters, various species of marten, the European ground squirrel, which belongs to the squirrel-like family, foxes and mink.
The largest lizard in Europe, the green lizard, lives in the Bohemian Central Uplands. With a body length of around 50 cm, it is one of the four largest lizards in the world, even if 2/3 of them are on the tail.
Their diet consists of insects, spiders, worms and snails. A special feature that it has in common with some other lizard species is that it can actively detach its tail from its body in a dangerous situation. This wriggles for around 20 minutes and thus distracts the robber from the fleeing lizard. After a while the tail grows back, but then it can no longer be separated. The green lizard inhabits mostly dry terrain with a lot of sunlight, meadows with bushes, scree slopes, light hedges and rocky slopes.
The amphibian and very frightening water frog can also be found at the smallest water points.
The European pond turtle can be encountered in the east of the Czech Republic. It has a shell length of less than 25 cm, rarely 30 cm. Her belly armor has a transverse joint, which enables her to fold this armor in front and behind in case of danger and thus protect herself from predators. Their habitat is limited to standing or flowing water with dense bank vegetation. Their diet consists mainly of animal food such as tadpoles, small frogs, newts, water snails, crabs, dead or dying fish.
Besides the Czech Republic she is also in Israel,Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, the Iberian Peninsula, Corsica, Sardinia, Italy, Sicily, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, northern Iran, Cyprus and northern Lebanon. But despite this widespread distribution, the European pond turtle is in decline.
Among the non-poisonous snakes one can find the grass snake and the Aesculapian snake and the common viper as a venomous snake.
Marsh harriers, black-headed gulls and pochards can be found in the pond and wetlands north of Prague.
Black-headed gulls are often seen on coasts and inland, where they breed at “Lachen”, which is where they get their name from.
In the breeding season from spring to summer, you can recognize them very well by the black hood on the head, which is otherwise replaced by a black spot on the ear. The beak and legs of the smallest of the most common seagulls are red. Black-headed gulls breed in colonies in the reeds or in calm, stagnant waters; they can also often be seen looking for food in freshly mown or plowed fields. They look for earthworms, beetles and larvae. But they also feed on crabs and small fish. The black-headed gull is widespread almost everywhere and is only absent in Antarctica.
Common migratory birds in this area include terns. The birds of the wetlands near the Austrian border are warblers, herons, black kites and the white storks, which can often be seen on the roofs of the surrounding villages.
In the Krkonoše National Park you can hear the common pine jay, titmouse, water pipit and alpine brown ella.
Common forest birds include hazel grouse, wood grouse and flycatcher. Crossbills and siskins can also be seen in the Bohemian Forest.
Other birds are pheasants, partridges, woodpeckers and the great bustard in the lowlands of the south.
The latter belongs to the order of the crane birds and is a very shy and sensitive bird. It lives in the steppe areas that have remained originally or in areas used for agriculture.
But despite this closeness to humans, you rarely see them, not least because of the inconspicuous coloration outside of the courtship. Both males and females have brown-black patterned plumage and a light gray head and neck. The main difference between the two is in size.
The males weigh 8-16 kg, while the females weigh just 3 – 5 kg.
However, during courtship the male changes significantly. Its underside is colored white, and this is turned upside down, so that it finally turns into a white pile of feathers.
The food of the great bustard includes buds, shoots, leaves, seeds, but also mice, lizards, grasshoppers and other small animals. Despite its relatively wide distribution, the Great Bustard is on the red list.
A main reason for the massive decline is the increasing industrialization of agriculture.
Czech Republic: plants
The most common deciduous trees in the Czech Republic are beech, oak, chestnut, willow, birch, poplar, linden and maple. The most common conifers include pines, spruces and firs.
The upper tree line extends to 1,200 – 1,300 m, above which is the subalpine zone with mountain pines.
The most important crops in the Czech Republic are potatoes, cereals such as wheat, barley, rye, oats and maize, and hops in northern Bohemia. Sugar beet, rapeseed, various forage crops as well as tobacco and fruit are also grown.
A well-known medicinal plant is arnica, which is popularly called “Bergwohlverleih”.
It belongs to the sunflower family and grows above 800 m in the Ore Mountains. Its flowers and the rhizome are used for homeopathic tinctures. The ingredients have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Arnica is therefore used for bruises, joint inflammation, rheumatism, varicose veins, heart problems, bruises and sprains. The plant is a very powerful remedy, so it is advisable to use it only externally and only very diluted, as otherwise skin irritation can result.
In the Bohemian Central Uplands, the Adonis flower, which belongs to the buttercup family and has become very rare, grows. It is also known as the “devil’s eye”. The perennial herb, up to 30 cm in size, has a strong and dark rhizome and a yellow single flower that appears in early spring.
They can be found on calcareous soils, on sunny slopes, on dry meadows and in pine forests.
The distribution area includes not only Europe but also Asia and America. Although all parts of the plant are poisonous, the leaves are collected and dried during the strongest flowering period (April – May), as they also contain heart-active glycosides.
Therefore, the Adonisröschen is used as a cardiac tonic, but also as a sedative for dry coughs, asthmatic and epileptic attacks, cramps and rheumatic pain.
However, teas and infusions should only be consumed according to a doctor’s prescription, otherwise there is a risk of poisoning.
The mullein from the fig family grows up to 2 m tall and has large yellow flowers, which are used in medicine. When dried, they help with dry coughs, bronchitis, inflammation of the upper airways and asthma, as the active ingredients of the plant are known to be expectorant and cough-relieving.
The mullein grows in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe as well as in Asia Minor, North Africa and Ethiopia.
The globe flower with the yellow spherical flowers at the end of the stem belongs to the buttercup family.
These bloom May – June and reach a diameter of 3 cm.
It grows in moist meadows, but mainly in the mountains, Alps and Northern Europe.
Due to the alkaloid magnoflorin, it is slightly toxic and causes burning of the oral mucous membranes, gastrointestinal complaints, diarrhea and severe cramps. Circulatory problems and fever can also occur, as well as skin irritation and blisters on the skin.
The globe flower owes its name to the spherical appearance of its flowers, since the Latin translation of “trulleus” means “round vessel” and the name was slightly modified in Old German. The globe flower is protected.
The Adonis is poisonous, but it is also a well-known medicinal plant.
The rare holly from the holly family is an evergreen shrub or tree that can reach a height of 6 m and live up to 300 years. Other names are piercing sleeve, piercing oak and palm thorn. It is named after its leathery and thorny toothed leaves, which are brightly colored on the underside and dark green on the upper side. It blooms with inconspicuous small white flowers between May and June, so that the fruits ripen in autumn. These are first green, later coral red. Both the leaves and the fruit are poisonous, and children in particular should be careful as a dose of 20-30 berries is considered fatal to them. The symptoms of poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea and drowsiness. The holly can be found in beech and spruce forests on moist, lime-poor soils.
The Bohemian Karst grows the hornbill, the monkey boy herb and the yellow lady’s slipper.
This plant grows to between 20 and 60 cm, and its clog-like flowers are golden yellow and purple-blue veined. It grows mainly in light mixed forests as well as on the edges of forests and bushes.
This orchid is common and very rare in the Alps, the Pyrenees and Norway.
The Bohemian Central Uplands is a nature reserve with numerous protected plants.
These include various types of cuckoo flowers, adonis, forest anemones, irises, mullein, alpine roses, Ivan’s awl grass, moon violets, daisies, cuckoo peacock and rapeseed.
The poisonous globe flowers are characteristic plants of the Ore Mountains. But arnica and the nutrient ring also thrive here.