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Czech Republic

Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution” in November 1989 was probably the most unequivocably positive of Eastern Europe’s anti-Communist upheavals, as the Czech and Slovaks shrugged off 41 years of Communist rule without a shot being fired. Just three years on, the country split into two separate states: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Czech Republic is divided into two geographic and cultural sections, Bohemia and Moravia.

 

Forty years of culinary isolation under the Communists introduced few innovations to the German-influenced Czech cuisine, with its predilection for slabs of meat served with lashings of gravy, dumplings and sauerkraut.

The most common breakfast is rolls with salami or cheese. Popular snacks include “bramborák”, a potato pancake, “párek v rohlíku”, a frankfurter dipped in mustard or ketchup and shoved on a white roll and “smaženy syr” a slab of melted Eidam fried in breadcrumbs and served in a roll with tartar sauce.

The Czech Republic tops the world league table of beer consumption, even beating the Germans – hardly surprising since its beer ranks among the best in the world. The most natural starting point for any beer tour is Bohemian city of “Plzeň” (Pilsner), whose local lager is the original Pils. The other big brewing town is “České Budějovice” (Budweis), home to Budvar. The burgeoning in-house breweries offer some great brews, as do the hundreds of small breweries dotted around the country. Among other great beers belong Gambrinus, Samson or Branik.

 

Prague (“Praha”)

Many say that Prague is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. Its historical centre covers an area of 8.1 sq. km and includes more than 2000 monuments built between the 8th and 20th centuries. Prague was for this reason awarded the status of a UNESCO Monument Reservation. Nearly every architectural era, from the Romanesque period, through Gothic, to Baroque and Art-Nouveau, is represented in and around Prague. The most ancient monuments show that the territory was inhabited as long as in the Neolithic age. Its ancient bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes, all mirrored in the surface of the “Vltava” river, create a magical effect.

 

“Česky Krumlov”

Česky Krumlov is a pearl of South Bohemia. best known for the fine architecture and art of the historic old town and Cesky Krumlov Castle. This castle city has preserved its medieval centre as no other town in the region. For this reason it entered the UNESCO register of monuments of world significance in 1992.

Old Český Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was given this status along with the historic Prague castle district. Construction of the town and castle began in the late 13th century at a ford in the Vltava River, which was important in trade routes in Bohemia.

 

Český Krumlov is an important cultural center, hosting a number of festivals and other events each year. The best known is the Five-Petalled Rose Festival (the name is derived from the Rožmberk crest of a 5 petal red rose), which is celebrated on the weekend of summer solstice in June. The downtown area is cleared of traffic and recreated as a medieval town with craftsmen, artists, musicians, and local people dressed in costumes from the Middle Ages. Various activities such as jousting, fencing, historical dance performances, and folk theatre take place at the castle, local park, and the river bank, among other places. The festival is concluded by a fireworks show above the castle.

 

 

Fewer than 10% of tourists venture into the countryside, which means they are missing out on treat.

 

Nature of Czech Republic

Most of Czech republic is covered by cultural landscape with villages, ponds and fields mingling with woods, but you can find there as well real forests, which are untouched by people’s activities for hundreds of years. In Czech Republic there are two national parks, “Šumava” (Bohemia Forest) and “Krkonoše”, which are both mountain ranges with beautiful nature lakes, rocks and river valleys.

 

All these points of interest are easy to reach via tourist or cycling routes that cover the whole Czech Republic.

 

There are a lot of nice villages with local pubs where you can stop for beer and plenty of beautiful chateaus and castles or romantic ruins that make ideal targets for cycling holidays trips.

 

Šumava

Under the past communist regime it was prohibited to enter to Šumava-Bohemia Forest area at the “Lipno” dam. Therefore thanks to that prohibition, this area has been untouched by the general public for the past 40 years. There are nice ride routes along the Schwarzenbergs Floating Channel and by banks of the Lipno water dam and the river Vltava. Šumava covers a territory 120km long and spreads out along both sides of the state borders with Germany and Austria. On account of this fact this area was forbidden for visitors during the communist regime. Still it is the Czech area least affected by people.

From the standpoint of environmental protection, Šumava includes a national park and a protected scenic area, which acts to preserve unique flora and fauna. Šumava is called “the Green Roof of Europe”. Forests cover 80% of the territory. The European divide of the Labe-Danube passes here and the source of our longest rover the Vltava is also located in the area.

Thanks to a series of small roads without traffic, Šumava is a paradise for cyclo-tourist. There are also plenty of fire tracks and single track for those who like challenge their cycling ability!

 

There are even more reasons why to bike in the Czech Republic:

-         favourable biking climate – only 6 tropic days in a year on the average

-         low costs – pint of beer cost in the country pub around 80p

-         cultural tradition – many people speak English, some also German or French

-         no disaster – no earthquakes, no tsunami waves, no tornados, no terrorist

                           attacking tourists

 

The Czech Republic has approximately 10,5 milions inhabitants, it has been a member of the European Community since 2004 and its borders are about 150-240km from Prague its capital. The climate is moderate with summer temperatures about 22ºC (72ºF), which is yet another circumstance that makes it convenient for cycling holidays.