Czech Republic Geography and Population

Czech Republic – geography

Czech Republic consists of the regions Čechy (see also Bohemia) and Morava (see also Moravia) and is surrounded by mountains.


Almost 95% of the good 10.2 mill. residents are Czechs and mothers. At the 2001 census, 193,000 residents indicated Slovak, 52,000 Polish and 39,000 German nationality. There are also small Hungarian, Ukrainian, Russian, Vietnamese and other minorities. Only 11,746 people indicated Roman nationality, but the actual number of Roma in the Czech Republic is estimated at between 200,000 and 250,000. The largest population concentration is found around Prague, and the western and southern parts of the country are sparsely populated. The largest cities are Prague, Brno, Ostrava and Pilsen.

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The Czech Republic is surrounded by mountains: in the SW lies the mountain range Šumava (Böhmerwald), in the NW Krušné hory (Ore Mountains), in the north Krkonoše (Karkonosze) and the Sudeten and farthest east the White Carpathians. The inner parts of the country are predominantly slightly hilly highlands with forested ridges and fertile valleys. approximately 2/3 of the country is below 500 meters above sea level; slightly below the 1/3 between 500-1000 m high, and only about 2% is higher than 1000 m. The highest point in the country is Sněžka (1602 m) in the Krkonoše mountain range. The Czech Republic has three national parks (Krkonoše, Šumava and Dyje) and 24 protected landscapes totaling 10,414 km2.

The Czech landscape is intersected by numerous rivers, including the country’s longest river, the 435 km long Vltava (Vltava), which has its sources in the Šumava National Park in southern Čechy. Other rivers include the Labe (Elbe) in the Čechy, the Morava (March) and the Dyje in the South Moravia, as well as the Odra (Oder) and Opava (Oppa) in the North Morava. In Čechy, most rivers flow towards the North Sea via the Labe, which originates on the border with Poland. In the northern part of Morava, the rivers flow north to Odra, which via Poland flows to the Baltic Sea, and in the southern part of Morava, the rivers flow to the Danube. In several places, the subsoil bubbles with mineral water. The temperature varies and the hottest source is Vřídlo (72 °C) in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad). The sources are used at health resorts across the country.


The Czech Republic has relatively hot summers and cold winters, and the average temperature in January in Prague is -3.2 °C and in July 18.6 °C. The annual rainfall is between approximately 450 mm in the capital region and 2085 mm in the Krkonoše.


In the 1990’s, the motorway network was expanded and adapted to the German and Austrian motorway systems, and in addition to a fine-meshed road and railway network, approximately 300 km of the river system for transport. Ruzyně 20 km west of Prague is the country’s international airport, and domestic airports are located at Karlovy Vary, Brno and Ostrava.


The industry employs 32% of the workforce (2000) and is concentrated around the capital as well as in the northern part of the country. Of economic importance are chemical industry in the cities of Litvinov and Ústí nad Labem, Pardubice and Ostrava, car industry in Mladá Boleslav (Škoda) and coal and steel at Ostrava. For centuries, Čechy (Bohemia) in particular has been known for the production of crystal glass, and production is continued, for example, at Moser in Karlovy Vary, whereas Crystalex in Nový Bor produces industrial glass.

Agriculture and forestry employ 5.5% of the workforce. The agricultural industry is predominantly built around collective use on corporation-like terms. The animal production is large, but supplies predominantly to the domestic market. The main crops are wheat, oats, sugar beets and potatoes. Agriculture is particularly important in the eastern and southern parts of the country. In the Czech Republic, wine is also produced in several places, including around the cities of Znojmo, Mikulov, Mělnik and Litoměřise. Hops are grown intensively, around the city of Žatec, and the country is one of Europe’s largest suppliers of hops. The Czech Republic also has a long tradition of beer brewing.

The fishing industry is limited to fish farms, especially carp and mainly in the south-eastern part of the country.


Lignite is the main source of energy and is mined from open quarries in a 60 km wide belt between the cities of Kadaň and Ústí nad Labem in the northwestern part of the country. The mining has had major consequences for the landscape, and coal burning is also highly polluting. The Temelín nuclear power plant at České Budějovice is among the country’s most recent investments in alternatives to coal energy. The construction of the plant, which is one of very few nuclear power plants in Europe after 2000, met with criticism from neighboring Austria. The Czech Republic’s second nuclear power plant, Dukovany, has provided 20% of the country’s electricity consumption since its inception in 1985-87. Together provides the two pieces of 1/3 of the country’s electricity supply. The country has a large import of oil, while hydropower, on the other hand, plays only a small role.

Czech Republic – language

The official language of the country is Czech, which is the mother tongue of 94.8% of the population (2001). 2% of the population have Slovak as their mother tongue, 0.5% Polish and 0.4% German. 23,000 people (0.2%) state that they have Romani as their mother tongue, the real number is probably much higher. For culture and traditions of Czech Republic, please check aparentingblog.

Czech Republic – economy

As the most economically developed part of Czechoslovakia, from the late 1940’s to 1989 the Czech Republic was a socialist planned economy which, through the pattern of state investment, offset the large income disparities between the Slovak and Czechs through the interwar years. Regional inequalities, such as between the Prague area and the eastern parts, persist, but the distance between high and low incomes is Europe’s smallest (and the world’s second smallest after Japan).

After the collapse of communism in 1989, Czechoslovakia made a rapid transition to a market economy; in 1991 the country got an association agreement with the EC. The structural reforms were followed by a tight fiscal and monetary policy, while the currency, the koruna, was pegged to a basket of five currencies.

Czechoslovakia did not experience hyperinflation like many other reform countries. Other economic consequences in the form of high unemployment and declining real incomes hit Slovakia harder than the Czech Republic, which was a major reason for the partition of Czechoslovakia in 1993; however, the two countries remained in a monetary and customs union. While the monetary union had to be abandoned quickly, the customs union has ensured that close economic relations between the two countries have been maintained.

The Czech Republic became the first former Eastern bloc country to join the OECD in 1995, and the high pace of reform continued; already the same year, most state-owned enterprises had changed owners, and the tight economic policy was also continued. Inflation fell to less than 10% in 1995, and public budgets showed a surplus. This was partly due to the fact that the financial subsidies to Slovakia had lapsed and that unemployment remained low because many jobs were created in the service sector and because the restructuring process in the industry was slow.

The fixed exchange rate policy was also continued, but now in relation to a basket consisting of two currencies, the D-mark and the dollar. After a significant decline in production in the first years after 1989, the Czech Republic experienced economic growth in 1994-96, which, however, also resulted in a sharply growing trade and payments balance deficit; this led to devaluation rumors, and in 1997 the Czech Republic had to bow to speculation against the country’s currency, which was devalued by almost 15%.

As a consequence, the government tightened fiscal policy and introduced import restrictions; the fixed exchange rate policy was abandoned and monetary policy was designed to ensure stable low inflation of no more than 2% in the long term. As inflation through both 1998 and 1999 was significantly below the then target, monetary policy was eased markedly, which, however, could not prevent the economy from entering a recession. Unemployment rose dramatically from almost 4% in 1997 to almost 10% in early 2000.

In the period 1998-2006, the Social Democrats held government power, and in light of the rising unemployment, it has, among other things, given the labor market a greater priority in economic policy. In addition, a special Revitalization Agency was given the purpose of restructuring large, indebted state-owned companies with regard to sales to foreign investors. Foreign banks have also wholly or partly taken over the largest local banks.

In parallel, public cuts and VAT increases brought the 2005 budget deficit below 3% in order to enable the Czech Republic, which joined the EU in 2004, to participate in EMU from 2010.

Economic development has been favorable since 2000, driven by foreign investors and increasing exports and tourist traffic. However, unemployment remains high (9% in 2005), especially in the old mining and industrial areas in the north and among Roma.

The main trading partners are Germany, which alone accounts for almost a third of total foreign trade, Slovakia and Austria. Denmark’s exports to the Czech Republic in 2005 amounted to DKK 3,716 million. DKK, while imports from there were DKK 3378 million.