Located in the center of Europe, in a crucial position on the communication routes between the most important states of the West and the East, the Czech Republic (whose name derives from Cech, a chieftain of Slavic origin who settled in the region in ancient times) geographically all the potential to play a leading role on the continent. In reality it has been over the centuries too busy defending its local genius from the aggression of the invaders, or organizing heroic attempts at self-determination suffocated in blood, to be able to achieve that economic and cultural centrality to which its people historically aspire. Even once it gained independence, in 1918, in the federal state of which Slovakia was also part, the country was unable to complete its economic maturation, falling victim, in 1938, to the expansionist dream of Hitler’s Germany. After all, after the end of the world conflict, forty years of stay in the Soviet orbit have not only caused enormous damage to the country’s economy (with a myopic strengthening of some industrial sectors to the detriment of global development and an absolute lack of respect for the protection of the environment and the health of citizens) and the spirit of initiative of the residents, but they also caused the total collapse of relations with the Western part of Europe, including those countries of which the Czechs had been subjects for centuries. After the fall of the Communist bloc and the subsequent separation from Slovakia (1 January 1993), ex novo a modern state organization capable of reconverting the economy in a western sense; and joining the European Union in May 2004 seemed the only way out of the cultural and economic isolation of the last forty years. The country’s efforts to achieve the goal focus on a decades-long industrial tradition, on a tourism that has recently exploded and is in very strong development, and on a hoped-for trade reform that will put the Czech Republic in a position to compete with the most advanced Western partners.
According to iamhigher, the population is made up of Czechs (90.4%), Moravians (3.7%), Slovaks (1.9%), Poles (0.5%), Germans (0.4%), Silesians (0.1 %) and a small Roma minority. The Germans in ancient times constituted a large community settled in the Sudetenland, but following the events of the Second World War they were expelled from the country en bloc. The Czech Republic is one of the most urbanized countries in Europe. Prague, the capital, stands on the banks of the Vltava at the crossroads of the ancient routes that connected Paris to Moscow and Vienna to Berlin and is home to more than a tenth of the entire population of the country. With the exception of the capital, there are no large urban agglomerations, but rather a network of medium-sized centers, among which the most important cities are Brno, Plzeň, Ostrava (Brno and Ostrava have a population of around 300,000).
Despite periods of intensive logging since the industrial revolution, the forests of the Czech Republic still extend over a third of the territory. These are forests of beech, spruce and oak (broad-leaved), while mountain pine grows at higher altitudes. The most common mammals in these areas are marmots, foxes, deer and wild boar. Among the birds there are partridges, wild ducks, vultures and storks. Apparitions of the capercaillie. Despite the extension of the woods, the widespread presence on the territory of reserves and natural parks and the existence of very ancient legislation (dating back to the 14th century) for the protection of the territory, the Czech Republic has a worrying pollution rate in some areas. A situation that has its roots in the industrial revolution and which has chronically worsened in the decades of communist economic management, with the pollution produced by coal-fired power plants, by the waste from the chemical and steel industries, by the combustion of waste lignite. Since the beginning of the nineties, following the industrial restructuring process and thanks to the substantial investments made in the environmental sector, the situation has progressively improved and there has been a drastic reduction (about 50%) of sulfur dioxide and oxide emissions. of nitrogen and suspended particles. Despite these measures, emissions still negatively affect air quality; there remains the problem of acid rain which threatens the forest mantle and that of the disposal of toxic and harmful waste. As far as protected areas are concerned, these have been enhanced: the Czech Republic has important national parks (Šumava National Park, Podyjí National Park, Bohemian Switzerland National Park, Giant Mountains National Park), protected areas and Biosphere reserves. protected by Unesco. In the summer of 2002, the country was the victim of a flood caused by a flood wave of the Elbe River which caused material damage for several million euros both on Czech and German territory.