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The Czech Republic (pronounced /ˈtʃɛk riˈpʌblɨk/) (Czech: Česká republika (help·info), short form in Czech: Česko, [ʧɛsko]), is a landlocked country in Central Europe and a member state of the European Union. The country has borders with Poland to the north, Germany to the northwest and southwest, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. The capital and largest city is Prague (Czech: Praha), a major tourist destination. The country is composed of the historic regions of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as parts of Silesia.
The Czech lands were under Habsburg rule from 1526, later becoming part of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary. The independent republic of Czechoslovakia was created in 1918, following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire after World War I. After the Munich Agreement, German occupation of Czechoslovakia and the consequent disillusion with the Western response and liberation of major part of Czechoslovakia by the Red Army, the Communist party gained the majority in 1946 elections. Czechoslovakia became a Communist party- ruled state from 1948 until the 1989 Velvet Revolution. On 1 January 1993, the country peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The Czech Republic is a pluralist multi-party parliamentary representative democracy. President Václav Klaus is the current head of state. The Prime Minister is the head of government (currently Petr Nečas). The Parliament has two chambers — the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. It is also a member of the OECD, the Visegrád group and the Council of Europe.
Charles Bridge is a famous historical bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava (Moldau), the Charles Bridge used to be the most important connection between the Old Town, Prague Castle and adjacent areas until 1841. Also this 'solid-land' connection made Prague important as a trade route between east and west Europe. The bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or the Prague Bridge (Pražský most) but has been the "Charles Bridge" since 1870.
The bridge is 516 meters long and nearly 10 meters wide, resting on 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side. The Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, erected around 1700.
During the night Charles Bridge is a quiet place. But during the day it changes its face into a very busy place, with painters, owners of kiosks and other traders alongside numerous tourists crossing the bridge.
John Amos Comenius (1592–1670)
John Amos Comenius was a Czech teacher, scientist, educator, and writer. He was a Unity of the Brethren/Moravian Protestant bishop, a religious refugee, and one of the earliest champions of universal education, a concept eventually set forth in his book Didactica Magna. Comenius became known as the teacher of nations. He is often considered the father of modern education.
The birthplace of Comenius is not known. There are three possible locations: Komňa, Nivnice, or Uherský Brod in Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic). His parents had fled from Hungary during the 16th Century and his original family name was Szeges according to his will found in 1968 by Milada Blekastad monographer of Comenius.
Comenius, his life and teachings, have become better known since the fall of the Iron Curtain. His book, Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart, is actually a reflection on his life experiences. Other works include Janua Linguarum Reserata and Orbis Sensualium Pictus, probably the most renowned and most widely circulated of school textbooks, and the Protestant Hymn songbooks.
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