The Czech Republic, now often known as Czechia, is right in the centre of Europe – which makes it a great launching pad for sightseeing. It’s definitely a place worth considering if you are looking to study abroad – and the combination of a high standard, yet low cost, of living makes it an attractive option. The country has a long history of providing top notch education – in fact Charles University in Prague, founded in 1348, is one of the oldest universities in the world, and the oldest in Central/Eastern Europe. As well, Czech universities offer a broad range of programs in English.
Here are some fun facts you might not know:
Get your fix of Medieval Castles!
With over 2000 castles, Czechia has a higher density of castles per capita than any other country in the world. No trip to Prague is complete without a visit to beautiful Prague Castle, apparently the largest castle in the world. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you might recognize some of this? Another couple of castles to put on your sightseeing list are Orlik, located on a volcano over a lake and Cesky Krumlow, on the edge of a cliff overlooking a medieval village.
#1 Beer drinking country
Beer has been brewed in Czechia from at least 993, and is very much part of the culture. The Czechs are known to consume, on average, 160 litres per person a year. The original Budweiser can be found in the Czech Republic, and Pilsner comes from the Czech city of Pilsen. A beer will cost you about $2.
Tons of history
Prague was the only major city in Europe not to have been bombed extensively in World War II, so you’ll find many original buildings, some even dating back to the Middle Ages. Soak up the history in this beautiful city.
Defenestration capital of the world
Now, this is an interesting one! What’s defenestration, you might ask? Defenestration is the act of throwing someone out the window. Three of the most notable defenestrations, which took place in 1419, 1483 and 1618, triggered significant events in history. Rumour has it that in the 1618 defenestration, the three Catholic representatives of the Emperor who were thrown out of the third story window by a group of Protestants survived thanks to landing in a pile of horse manure.
Mushrooming as a national sport
For centuries, Czechs have had a passion for hunting and picking mushrooms. Over 70% of Czech go mushrooming at least once a year, and a fifth of the population considers themselves ‘passionate’ about mushrooms. Between May to September, whole families wake up at dawn, grab their baskets and spend the day roaming the forests.
The ‘Velvet Divorce’
Despite the fact that few citizens in either country wanted independence in 1992, the splitting of Czechoslovaka into the Czech Republic and Slovakia was surprisingly peaceful, and one of the few examples of a peaceful split between two countries in the 20th Century. It has become known as the ‘Velvet Divorce’.
Two kingdoms in one
Czechia is made up of two distinct regions – Bohemia in the West, and Moravia in the East. Bohemia boasts rolling hills, mountains, and breweries. Moravia, on the other hand, is more rural and they are proud of their wines and vineyards.
Want to meet with universities from the Czech Republic? Come to the next Study and Go Abroad Fairs in a city near you.