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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Czech Republic


A historic jewel hidden away at the heart of Europe, the Czech Republic packs a lot of punch for such a small country. No bigger than Scotland or South Carolina, it's crammed with fairytale castles, medieval towns, elegant spa resorts and scenic national parks. And on top of all that, it's the birthplace of the world's finest beer.Part of Czechoslovakia until the 'Velvet Divorce' of 1993, the Czech Republic encompasses the ancient lands of Bohemia and Moravia, and boasts a rich cultural heritage represented by the likes of classical composer Antonin Dvorak and writer Franz Kafka.Almost everyone who visits the Czech Republic goes to Prague, with its imposing castle, great museums and galleries, jazz clubs and concerts and other attractions. Many day trips are possible from here, including the spa resort of Karlovy Vary, the historic towns of Mělník and Kutná Hora, and castles like Karlštejn and Konopiště.But the rest of the country has just as much to offer the independent traveller, with no fewer than 11 UNESCO World Heritage sites including the picture-postcard town of Český Krumlov, the chateaux and landscaped gardens of Lednice-Valtice, and the Renaissance architecture of Telč.

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