Geography Now! Czech Republic (Czechia)


Hey Barby, Yeah! How old are you? Umm, do you remember Czechoslovakia? Czechowhat?! Yeah, I was alive for that. *Intro* Hey everybody I’m your host barby. We have reached our last and final country starting with a “C”. The Czech Republic, which technically just changed it’s English name to Czechia You mean the place in Russia with all the problems? No, thats Chechnya. Didn’t you say that was the thing on the Croatian flag? No, thats the checke. King me No, that’s checkers. Bishop to C5? No, no that’s chess. You mean big buford burgers? No, that’s the restaurant Checkers. Isn’t that the thing at the hotel? No that’s a check-in. Danny Tanner? Okay, let’s start this episode! Political Geography Ah! Czech Republic, you’re like the heart of central Europe. The bridge between east and west. First of all, the country is located in central Europe, landlocked surrounded by: Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria. The country is divided into thirteen regions, with the capital city of Prague centrally located in the western half of the country. Now here’s the thing, the Czech Republic kind of has a strong sense of regionlism. If you’ve ever heard the word “Bohemia” or “Bohemian” regardless of whether or not the context behind the word is used to connotate a Slavic geographical location or people group. It’s referencing this general area of the Czech Republic. However, be careful you do not call the entire place Bohemia. You will anger the entire eastern part of the country. This is because of the Czech Republic is kind of made up of three distinct regional identities that are kind of competitive with each other. In addition to Bohemia, there is Moravia and little Silesia who kind of wanders of and pays more attention to Poland than Czechia. Although there isn’t a distinct line of division generally Moravia is located here with these three regions overlapping, as Czech Silesia dominates the small area in the upper east corner of the country. Also, do not refer to Czechia as an Eastern European country They are Central Europe. Otherwise the Republic doesn’t really hold on to any external territories, I mean they technically leased out thee ports in Hamburg. Although they aren’t considered exclaves they’re used as free ports for trade since Czechia is landlocked. these ports will revert back to Germany though in 2028. By the way for current relevancy purposes, full disclosure I’m gonna intermix calling the country Czechia and Czech Republic throughout this video so you’ll never know what I’ll call it next It’s like a mystery game The second and third largest cities, Brno and Ostrava, can be found in the regions of Moravia and Silesia. And competition between Prague can get pretty heated, in a friendly way, but you know in a “don’t-push-my-buttons-and-I-won’t-stab-you” friendly way. The funny thing is there really aren’t any “suburbs” in the country. I mean the city just kind of ends, and then it becomes countryside, like right away. Speaking of the countryside, let’s talk about the landscape and stuff now shall we. *Music* Okay, so just completely up front, the Czech Republic may not be the most forest-ridden country in Europe. A lot of the land outside of urban centres is tilled and irrigated in irregularly-shaped crop fields. The country only has four national parks, *however* with whatever nature zones they do have they go all out. I mean parts of the freaking Narina movies were filmed here. *Music* First of all, if you look at Czechia from space you’ll notice that the entire country is kind of shaped like a bowl, encased by mountains on all sides. This makes the country a perfect drainage basin for various rivers like the Labe , Vltava and Morava rivers. Closer to the outside of the borders are rolling green hills and low mountains that speckle the country with the occasional forest and classical Bohemian and Moravian castles perched on the summits. *Dramatic Music* Then you have that weird small desert that’s barely like a kilometer wide. Otherwise most of the country is kind of flat with small angulations here and there loaded with barley and wheat fields. Don’t be fooled though, barley and wheat, although good for bread and cereals, is important for the grand price commodity that usurps all other Czech products. BEER! *grunt* Yes, beer. The Czech take beer very seriously, you thought the Germans and Irish had a heavy beer culture, you obviously have not met a “Czech mate”. Aha ha No, but seriously, the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita than any other country in the world at around 145 litres (38.30 gal) per person per year. Nonetheless driving while drink is a serious crime with incredibly harsh punishments, they take the policy with almost zero tolerance. So just remember, when in Czechia, keep your drunken fights and mental breakdowns where they belong, at home, with your family. Speaking of family, a favourite pastime that many Czech families have is going “mushrooming”, in which they go out for hikes and pick wild edible mushrooms and bring them back home to cook. The Czech economy is really heavily centered around industry and manufacturing though espessially the automotive department, car production alone makes up 18% of all exports and employs millions across the country. Let’s talk about the employees now, shall we? Demographics TROLL! In a nutshell the Czech Republic is the most stable and prosperous of the post-communist states of Europe. First of all, the country has about 10 and a half million people, it has the lowest unemployment rate in all of the European Union When it comes to ethnic make up, things are kind of weird and hilarious, because officially, there is a huge group of undeclared people. although by all reasonable statistics over 90% of the country is ethnically Czech, only 65% of the country is deliberatly identifies as Czech. Where 25% of the country is “unspecified”. And the reason is because in the census they left “nationality” as an optional item to check off, and a ton of people in the country just kind of dismissed that part. Whereas the rest of the country either identifies as Moravian or Slovak or Other. The largest groups being: Ukrainians and surprisingly Vietnamese. Yeah, apparently Czechia is a hot spot for the Vietnamese. Who would have guessed? Of course Czech is the official language, a Slavic-based tongue that is mutually intelligible to the Slovaks across the border, and slightly off but still kind of understandable to the Poles. The interesting thing is that Czech is the only language that uses the Řř letter that makes the *zhre* sound Hey, I’ll let this guy explain. The actual letter itself is pronounced *erzh* but when you see it in a word it is pronounced differently, you don’t see ‘here’ “*erzh*eka”, this means river by the way, instead it’s pronounced “*rhz*eka”. One thing that absolutley sets the Czech apart though would have to be it’s distinguishable architecture that incorporates both classical baroque and gothic elements with ornate colonnades, embellishing the foyers and corridors. *Dramatic music* Home to a plethora of world-renowned composers, artists, and even 1 Nobel literature winner, the Czechs hold their ground in culture. Long story short, like almost every other country in Europe, the Czechs have a long history of complex kingdoms, empires, ducheries, reformations, alliances, battles, unions, revolutions, splits, and even for a while being part of the Eastern Block. But basically, all you really have to know that, through it all, they’ve still retained their unique sense of nationalist central European Slavic identity. [Czech sports team fans cheering and blaring horns.] They also have an interesting sense of diplomatic identity. Such we will discuss in: *Music* Czechia, once again, has a long history with its neighbours that takes too long to explain, but in the shortest way I can put it – As part of the former Austro-Hungarian empire, the Czechs still retain quite a close tie to Austria and Hungary. Even after the dissolution of the empire in the early 20th century. But then we get to little Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein had a few problems with castles and land that they used to own in the area, and for awhile didn’t even recognize the country as legit until 2009 when they were finally like, “Ugh, fine, whatever.” In general, they are good friends with the Visegrad Group of countries: Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. These countries have incredibly good business and governmental cooperation. Their best friend would have be, hands down though, Slovakia. They’re more than just friends. They’re basically like conjoined twins that were seperated at the head back in the 90’s. It was the most peaceful split and to this day, Czechs and Slovaks will always walk hand in hand. In conclusion, the Czech Republic is like the Slavic brother that grew up, got a job, and kind of only reluctantly shows up to family reunions when it’s really absolutely necessary. Stay tuned. *Denmark* is coming up next. *Upbeat whistling music*

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