Introduction

 Introduction

The Czech Republic is where East meets West.

Although evidence of life behind the velvet curtain is still widespread in the Czech Republic, Communist rule never left as big a concrete footprint on the country as much as it did in other places. Since the borders were completely opened up in 1989, tourists have flocked to sample the unspoiled charms of this fascinating and varied country.

Full of architectural and artistic treasures, Prague is undoubtedly the Czech Republic’s brightest jewel. Often cited as the most beautiful capital in Europe it is a stunningly preserved city boasting architecture from every notable period of the last thousand years.

In the last decade or so it has adapted to its new position as a tourist centre and, while retaining its distinctive character, has transformed itself a modern city with international standard hotels, restaurants and entertainment.

But the Czech Republic is a lot more than just its capital. Outside the city is an unspoiled expanse of mountains, spotted with small towns and villages. The idyllic rural way of life of centuries ago is preserved in many places, while towns such as Karlovy Vary have been revitalised as tourist centres and are once again as popular as they were in the days of the Grand European Tour of the Victorian age.

Boars, bears and deer still roam the mountains and forests with over a third of the country covered in woodland. Ancient castles rise on hills surrounded by dense forests in an awe-inspiring landscape that seems thousands of miles and hundreds of years from modernity.

For travellers and the Czech people, the recent changes are for the better and now everyone can share the myriad delights of this unique country.

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