Czech Republic - education
The Austro-Hungarian tradition of the school system was adapted from the more
centralist Soviet model from 1948, but after the system change in 1989 there has
been extensive democratization, decentralization and to some extent
also privatization while renewing goals, content and structure.
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Following a free pre-school for 3-5-year-olds, followed by 90% (1997), the
nine-year compulsory and free primary school, základní Škola, for
6-15-year-olds follows. Both types of school are municipal, while the
subsequent educations are most often state or private.
Almost all young people go on to upper secondary school, which can
be four-, six- or eight-year- olds, to Střední odborné učiliště,
which offers two- to five-year craft courses, or to Integrovaná střední
škola, a five-year technical education that combines theory and practice
There are 23 state universities. Univerzita Karlova in Prague was
founded in 1348 and thus the oldest in Central Europe. With 29,000 students, it
is also the largest. Furthermore, from the mid-1990's, a number of state or
private vocational schools have been established, offering short higher
OFFICIAL NAME: Czech Republic
CAPITAL CITY: Prague
POPULATION: 10,400,000 (Source:
AREA: 78,870 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Czech, Slovak, Romani and others
RELIGION: Catholics 10%, others 1%, without religious affiliation/non-specific
religious affiliation 89%
CURRENCY CODE: CZK
ENGLISH NAME: Czechia, Czech Republic
POPULATION COMPOSITION: checks 64%, mothers 5%, Slovaks 1%, others 30%
GDP PER residents: $ 18,020 (2016)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 76 years, women 82 years (2014)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.870
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 28
NATIONALITY MARK FOR CARS: CZ
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .cz
Czech Republic, (Czech Česká Republika, by Čechy 'Bohemia'),
a republic in Central Europe surrounded on all sides by mountains. The country
was the most economically developed part of Czechoslovakia and has been rapidly
and economically approaching Western Europe since its partition in 1993. The
Czech Republic became the first former Eastern bloc country to join the OECD in
1995. In 1999, it joined NATO and in 2004 joined the EU.
Czech Republic - Constitution
The Constitution of the Czech Republic dates from 1993. Legislative power
lies with a two-chamber parliament: the Chamber of Deputies has 200 members,
elected by direct proportional representation for four years; there is a cut-off
limit of 5%. The Senate has 81 members, elected by direct election in
single-member constituencies for six years with the replacement of one-third
every two years. The Chamber of Deputies has priority in legislation, while the
Senate has limited deferral options.
The president, who must be 40 years of age or older, is elected by direct
universal suffrage for five years and may be re-elected only once. His powers
are limited; he appoints the Prime Minister on a proposal from the Speaker of
the Chamber of Deputies, has the right to take part in discussions with the
government and parliament and has restricted the right of veto in
legislation. The Prime Minister has the executive power. There is a
constitutional court of 15 members appointed for a ten-year term by the
president with the consent of the Senate.
Czech Republic - social conditions
With the change of system in 1989, the financing of social services
collapsed. A social legislation from 1992 places the main emphasis on social
insurance, which is linked to occupational employment. The pension schemes,
which include old-age and invalidity pensions and survivors' pensions, are a
unitary scheme to which an insurance contribution of 26.5% of earned income was
paid in 1999. The insurance took over the pension obligations from the communist
system, and this leads to differences in pension payments that reflect
differences in pension terms for different job groups before 1989, but an
attempt is made to arrive at the size of the pension for the individual
determined by the number of years of employment. the previous
earnings. Pensionsand unemployment benefits are modest for many citizens; as the
lowest safety net, there is a need for emergency care. There is a tight-fitting
health care system with hospitals and clinics funded through public health
insurance, for which an insurance premium is paid on the taxable income; people
without income are also entitled to health care benefits.
Czech Republic - health conditions
Life expectancy in 1997 was 70.6 years for men and 77.6 years for
women. Infant mortality fell from 12.3 per 1,000 live births in 1986 to 5.9 in
1997. The most common cause of death is cardiovascular disease, which has been
declining slowly since 1970. However, it was with 526 deaths per. 100,000 in
1997 about twice as high as in Denmark. Cancer is the second most common cause
of death, and mortality has remained largely unchanged since 1970; it is at the
same level as in Denmark.
The Czech Republic has had a healthcare system with management and funding
from the government and with an emphasis on the hospital system and many
doctors. Since 1990, the country has focused on decentralization and financing
through insurance schemes. Expenditure on health care in 1987 was 4.6% of
GDP; they rose in 1994 to 8.3% and in 1996 were at 7.3%. The number of hospital
beds fell from 109 per. 10,000 residents in 1980 to 88 in 1997, of which
almost 10% were private. In 1997, the Czech Republic had 31 doctors per 10,000
residents, of which approximately 20% worked outside the hospital system.
Czech Republic - military
The armed forces are (2006) 22,272 military and 17,858 civilians. The army is
at 16,663 and the air force 5609. The civilians are part of the joint defense
support structure. The forces' equipment is Soviet or locally produced, although
a squadron of new Swedish Saab 39 Gripen fighter jets is now also
available. The army has one mechanized reaction brigade and one additional
mechanized brigade. Upon mobilization, 14 territorial defense districts are set
up. The Air Force has 40 fighter jets, 22 transport aircraft of various types,
32 armed helicopters and 24 transport helicopters. Border guards and security
forces are gathered at 5600. As the Czech Republic is an inland state, it has no
Following the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the partition
of Czechoslovakia in 1993, as well as the Czech Republic's accession to NATO in
1999, the Czech Republic's military forces have undergone a major overhaul.
Czech Republic - Libraries
Nationalbiblioteket, Národní knihovna České republiky, holds
approximately 6 mio. volume and has large and rich collections on, in particular,
Central European and Slavic culture; it is housed in the large baroque building
Klementinum in Prague and was created by merging several libraries with
Karlsuniversitetet's library, grdl. 1366, as the oldest. The country's second
largest library (approximately 4 million volumes) is located in the Národní
museum. The Strahov Monastery in Prague with book halls from the Baroque period
contains the Czech Literary Archive.
A law on municipal public libraries in Czechoslovakia was passed in 1919, but
the development was halted by the German occupation in 1939. After 1948, the
entire library system was organized according to a highly centralized Soviet
model, but has since 1990 been developed according to Western European patterns.
Czech Republic - mass media
Czech Republic has a vibrant and varied press with approximately 90 dailies (1995),
of which ten are nationwide and more than half are foreign-owned.
In 1994, the first private, advertising-financed television channel in a
former communist country, Nova TV, began broadcasting. Two years later, it had a
viewership of 70% and was thus far more popular than the state-licensed
television, Česká televize. Of the more than 60 radio channels, the two
state-owned are still the largest.
One of the Czech Republic's leading newspapers is Mladá fronta Dnes (Youth
Front Today), grdl. 1945 (circulation 391,000 in 1996), formerly Young Communist
but now independent. Právo (circulation 370,000) is the successor to the former
leading communist newspaper, Rudé právo (Red Justice). The liberal Lidové noviny
(People's News) was re-established in 1988 and is preferred by many
intellectuals. Despite a limited circulation of 110,000, it has great
impact. The largest is the Swiss-owned boulevard newspaper Blesk (Lyn),
grdl. 1992 (circulation 470,000).
Czech Republic - literature
The oldest literature in the Czech and Slovak territories consisted mainly of
religious texts in the first Slavic written language, Old Church Slavonic,
created by Cyril and Methodius, who were sent from the Byzantine Empire in the
860's to serve missions in the Great Moorish Empire.
After the end of this empire, Latin was for a long time the dominant written
language in Bohemia, but in the heyday of the 14th century. developed here a
rich literature in Czech, which included several genres such as saint legends,
historical chronicles, allegories, satires and knightly poetry.
During the Hussite conflicts with the Catholic Church in 1400-1500-t. the
amount of actual fiction was reduced in favor of practical as well as
religiously and professionally emphasized texts, of which Jan Hus ' and other
authors' socially critical and ethical writings became of great importance for
the Czech nation's self-understanding in modern times.
After 1620, when Bohemia lost its independence to the Habsburg central power,
both the Czech language and literature experienced a sharp weakening, not least
due to the recatolization, which forced many intellectuals into exile. Among
these was Jan Amos Komenský (1592-1670, Comenius), who in addition to his
pedagogical writings is known for his allegory The Labyrinth of the World
and the Paradise of the Heart (1631).
During the national revival around 1800, literature came to play an important
role in raising the awareness of Bohemia's Czech population. A period followed
with translations and retellings of other languages as well as classicist
poetry, by Jan Kollár. Suddenly, purported medieval, but in reality forged
manuscripts appeared with poetry about a glorious past.
From the 1830's, an original and innovative Czech romantic literature emerged
with names such as Karel Hynek Mácha, Karel Jaromir Erben and Božena Němcová,
who during the harsh political climate of the 1850's were supplemented by Karel
Borovský Havlíček's sharp satires.
In the 1860's, a period of political freedom in which the Czech national and
cultural identity was finally restored, the most important part of the
literature dealt with describing the society and its norms at that time, thus
with Jan Neruda.
But in the 1870's and 1880's, some writers, under the impression of political
adversity, again turned their attention to specifically national subjects, while
others asserted the principle of literature for the sake of literature itself.
The period was partly marked by a high-sounding neo-romanticism, whose lack
of contact with reality and renewal the young generation in the mid-1890's
rebelled against, spreading it to several realistic as well as modernist
directions, not least inspired by French literature.
In addition to realism as in Petr Bezruč and naturalism, there were
impressionism (Antonín Sova), symbolism (Otokar Březina) and
decadence. Later, World War I provoked reactions in the form of life-affirming
poetry and confrontation with militarism, not least with Jaroslav Hašek.
The establishment of Czechoslovakia as an independent state in 1918 provided
good preconditions for an even more fruitful development of literature, if
possible, most often with authors who, based on various ethical and political
views, were deeply involved in social conditions.
In poetry, in addition to Catholic writers, it was especially a large group
of innovative left-wing avant-garde writers who made a name for themselves
around 1920 as proletarian writers. Then it is seen within the Czech "poetism"
(Jaroslav Seifert), which would provide the working class qualified
entertainment based on imagination, and finally in the 1930's with surrealist
poetry (Vítězslav Nezval).
In prose, Vladislav Vančura's linguistic experimentation, Ivan
Olbracht's psychological and socially critical narratives and novels, and the
humane and often humorous works of democratic writers, including
especially Karel Čapek's novels and plays, are a warning against a runaway
dehumanized society. An important innovation was Jan Werich's and Jiří
Voskovec's (1905-81) "The Liberated Theater", which played political satires in
revue form until 1938.
From 1948, the development of literature was severely hampered by the
Stalinist regime's assertion of socialist realism as a literary ideal. The
relatively few established authors, who agreed to the terms of the regime and
thus were allowed to publish, did so at the expense of quality.
With the beginning of the thaw in 1956, it became possible to portray the
everyday problems of ordinary people, and the period 1963-68 brought a
liberalization, where hitherto unpublished authors such as Bohumil Hrabal could
have their works published, and where the form could be experimented with. A
large number of novels, including by Josef Škvorecký and Milan
Kundera, dispelled the myths and missteps of Stalinism, and Czech acting
experienced an exciting development phase with absurd pieces by Ivan
Klíma and Václac Havel, where the inspiration of Franz Kafka can be clearly
After the invasion of the Warsaw Pact countries in 1968, there was again a
severe tightening of the conditions of literature. The publication of
religiously oriented literature was again prevented, and authors who had engaged
in 1960's liberalization and the Prague Spring were hit by a publication ban.
Many emigrated in 1968-69 (including Josef Škvorecký and Arnošt Lustig),
others went or were forced into exile through the 1970's (including Milan
Kundera, Pavel Kohout, Jiří Gruša (1938-2011) and Jiří Kolář (1914-2002)). The
books of the banned authors disappeared from the libraries and their names from
the literary histories. A few quality writers declined and were pardoned by the
regime (most prominent Bohumil Hrabal), and from around 1980 poets such as
Jaroslav Seifert, Jan Skácel and Miroslav Holub (1923-1998) could be published
again by official publishers.
Although a few firm craftsmen gained some reader popularity, however,
official literary life was marked by stagnation. Instead, Czech literature
unfolded extensively at domestic samizdat publishers (the two most productive
were run by Ludvík Vaculík (1926-2015) and Václav Havel) or in exile, led by
Škvorecký's publisher Toronto 68 Publishers. There was also a not insignificant
exchange between the two environments.
The amount of unofficial publications increased from the mid-1980's, when a
streak of young writers unfolded, often in conjunction with a broader
underground scene; a selection can be found in the anthology Prague Children (da.
1989). Among these, Zuzana Brabcová (1959-2015) and Jáchym Topol (b. 1962) in
particular have established themselves among the Czech Republic's leading prose
writers after 1989.
The fall of communism in 1989 meant a total upheaval of the conditions of
literature. In 1990, almost 2,000 publishers registered, and the book market was
flooded with publications. Chronologies and traces of development collapsed when
40 years of neglect were sought to be made up in a few years, and in the new
open society, literature rapidly lost its privileged position as a medium for
public value debate.
This has been reflected in rapidly declining circulation figures for all but
a small handful of bestselling authors (eg Michal Viewegh, Halina Pawlowská (b.
1955) and Petr Šabach (b. 1951)), whose popularity is often supported by work
film adaptations or skilled self-staging in the media.
The framework and role of literature has thus gradually been "normalized" in
the Western European sense; poetry has become a marginal concern for
enthusiasts, while prose offers a weave of genres and styles.
Autobiographies and biographies have enjoyed great popularity since the
mid-1990's, female writers occupy significantly more than before 1989 (among
others Daniela Hodrová (b. 1946), Irena Dousková (b. 1964), Květa Legátová
(1919-2012), Petra Hůlová (b. 1979)).
Postmodern grips, such as style and genre mixes and the use of motifs from
popular literary genres such as suspense, horror, etc., are widespread, but most
often without standing in the way of "the good story". Many names include Jiří
Kratochvil (b. 1940), Miloš Urban (b. 1967) and Michal Ajvaz (b. 1949).
German language literature
From the Middle Ages to 1945, the Czech Republic (Bohemia and Moravia) had a
large German-speaking population and consequent German-language
literature. Czech literary historians have often neglected this literature,
while German literary historians have overlooked the German-language writers'
ties to local culture and simply classified them as "German" or "Austrian".
Bilingualism was widespread in the 1800's, and for example Karel Hynek Mácha
wrote his first poems in German before breaking through as the great poet of
Czech romance. Also Karel (Karl) Klostermann (1848-1923), who was inspired
by Adalbert Stifter, changed languages from German to Czech during his
Even when the Czech-German antagonisms in Bohemia were radicalized in the
late 1800's, several cultural mediators were found between the two language and
cultural environments, especially in the Jewish environment. Many Bohemian Jews
were bilingual (eg Franz Kafka, whose Czech was almost flawless), and often
members of the same family chose to orient themselves towards different milieus,
some towards the German, others towards the Czech and others again towards the
Parts of Rainer Maria Rilke's and Gustav Meyrink's writings are marked by
their time in Prague, but the foremost exponents of German-language
Prague-Jewish literature in the early 1900's. is given to Franz Kafka, Franz
Werfel and Max Brod. Max Brod in particular worked intensely for a Czech-German
In the interwar period, one finds, conversely, German-language writers with
sympathies for the new Czechoslovakia, which after Adolf Hitler took power
granted asylum and citizenship to Thomas Mann and Heinrich Mann.
The Nazi racial and occupation policies and the subsequent expulsions
destroyed the Jewish and since the German-speaking cultural element in Bohemia
and Moravia, but communist persecution created a new type of Czech
German-language literature from the 1970's, when several Czech writers began
writing after emigration to Germany or Austria. in German. This includes Pavel
Kohout, Jiří Gruša (1938-2011) and Ota Filip (b. 1930). Others, such as Libuše
Moniková (1945-98), first began publishing after emigration, thus debuting in
Czech Republic - theater and drama
Theater activity can be dated to the 15th century in the form of
liturgical mystery plays and intermezzi, and from the 16th century profane
satirical scenes are known. František Bulla (b. 1754), director of the Prague
Theater, played from 1785 in Czech as part of an approximately 50-year-long cultural
There was strong support for the creation of a national stage in Prague,
which succeeded in 1881. From the beginning of the 19th century, a flourishing
puppet theater also existed. As in other European cities, free intimate scenes
emerged in Prague in the 1890's.
In the time between the 1st and 2nd World War, the theater was
represented by the allegorical dramas of the brothers Josef and Karel
In his own theater, D-34, the director Emil František Burian (1904-59) in the
1930's, among other things. Jaroslav Hašek's novel The Good Soldier's
During World War II, theater was still played, and Czech theater was
partially intact after the war, when playwrights such as Pavel Kohout, Milan
Kundera, Ivan Klíma, Bohumil Hrabal and Václav Havel became known, among
others. for absurd theater.
Best known since the 1960's was the director Otomar Krejča (1921-2009) at the
Divadlo Za branou theater and the set designer Josef Svoboda at Laterna
Magika. In 2000, Prague had more than 20 well-attended theaters.
Czech Republic - dance
Circle dances danced by women at weddings and sword dances performed by men
in connection with carnival in Sydčechy (švertance) and Morava
(pod šable) are among the oldest living dance traditions.
In the 1500's. revolving dance (točivé) arose with numerous
variants such as sedlácká and staro světská in Morava and ověnžok in
Silesia (Slezsko). In the late 1700's. a number of local dance types were
developed, such as hulán, valasky and kalamajka. IN
1800-t. it was dances based on polonaise, mazurka, polka and csárdás that
came into vogue, while local dances were given the status of national dances,
such as furiant, kalamajka and rejdovák.
After World War II, the traditional dances have been practiced in amateur
groups, which include performs at the world-famous festivals in Strážnice
(Morava) and Strakonice (Čechy).
Czech Republic - music
The country was Christianized by Byzantine missionaries in the 800-t. As
early as 885, it was forbidden to celebrate the Mass in Slavic, and during the
900's. the Roman (Latin) Mass became dominant, which has meant that the oldest
surviving Czech religious songs are not liturgical, eg Svatý Václave (Václav
the Holy) from around 1200.
The earliest musical life unfolded especially in connection with the
monasteries, Benedictine monasteries, which were established around 1000.
Only with the founding of the Univerzita Karlova in Prague in 1348 was a chair
established in music, giving music theory and composition a foothold in the
During the Hussite Wars of 1419-34, many monasteries were demolished, and the
worship of music took place in the city churches and later also in the city
schools, the Jesuit colleges and at the university. During the Hussites,
Czech-language joints were included in the Mass, just as the Czech clerical lied
was developed; it came to form an important foundation in the development of
German Lutheran church singing.
Under Emperor Rudolf II, Prague 1583-1612 housed the court chapel from
Vienna and thus became one of Europe's music centers. Around 1600, the
polyphonic church music experienced a climax, inspired by the contemporary Dutch
and Italian style.
After the Thirty Years' War, contact with the Catholic countries Italy and
Austria was resumed, which led to the exchange of musicians. Among 1600's
church musicians must be mentioned Adam Václav Michna (approximately 1600-76), in whose
hymns and masses the influence of folk music can be traced. In Jan Dismas
Zelenka's works, which includes church music, there are also elements from
Czech folk music in addition to imaginative instruments of not least
contrapuntal and harmonious nature.
In 1612 the court relocated to Vienna. An important and lush part of music
life unfolded in private chapels and castles, where outstanding musicians such
as Heinrich Biber, Pavel Josef Vejvanovský (approximately 1633/39-93), Zelenka
and Giuseppe Tartini served.
When many Czech composers emigrated due to religious and linguistic
constraints and a lack of attractive positions, the music culture was in the
late 1700's. in sharp decline. Among the emigrated composers were Johann
Stamitz and his sons, Georg Benda, Josef Mysliveček (1737-81), Jan Ladislav
Dussek, Antoine Reicha, Pavel Wranitzky (1756-1808) and Franz Krommer
(1759-1831). The conditions also meant that the Czech singing game was
especially cultivated abroad (by, among others, Adalbert Gyrowetz (1763-1850)
Particularly prominent in church music were František Xaver Brixi (1732-71),
Karel Blažej Kopřiva (1756-85) and Jakub Jan Ryba (1765-1815). Brixi has left
behind a colossal amount of vocal music, while Kopřiva primarily considered his
own instrument, the organ. Ryba enriched the Czech genre pastorella,
where elements from the folk song are mixed with a simple classical movement. In
classical music, instrumental music was cultivated by Vaňhal, Krommer and
Koželuch, all of whom contributed to the development of the sonata movement
form. Within piano music, Dussek, Václav Jan Křtitel Tomášek and Jan Václav
Voříšek (1791-1825) stand out with a number of character pieces that anticipate
the romantic piano style.
In the first half of the 1800's. took a Czech national culture form, based on
extensive collection of folk music and the resumption of Czech as a language of
song. Significant steps were the founding of the Prague Conservatory in 1811 and
the premiere of the first Czech opera, František Jan Škroups (1801-62) Dráteník (The
Boiler Flicker) in 1826. However, a real national music culture was first
realized by Bedřich Smetana, whose operas formed the basis for the national
Czech opera, and whose orchestral cycle Má vlast (My Fatherland) was
followed by a series of symphonic poems by Antonín Dvořák, Zdeněk Fibich
(1850-1900), Josef Suk and Vítězslav Novák. The Czech National Romantic
Symphony, like chamber music, had its most prominent representative in Dvořák,
who in his works incorporated stylistic features from Brahms, and which gave
Czech music an international breakthrough. But also as an opera composer, Dvořák
contributed to the tradition, which since Fibich, Leoš Janáček and Jaromír
Weinberger (1896-1967) enriched.
The recovery in Czech music that took place with Smetana and Dvořák was
supported by developments in music life. Thus, the National Theater in Prague
had been opened in 1881, and in 1892 the internationally famous Bohemian String
Quartet was founded. Finally, in 1901, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra became
an independent institution.
As an extremely prominent figure in Czech opera in the early 1900's. stands
Janáček, who descended from Moravia; in his works, folk musical elements are
used in an original way. Opposite this are a number of composers who
predominantly adhered to a late romantic style inspired by Dvořák. This was the
case with Suk, who in orchestral and chamber music works created music
characterized by monumental weight and great expressive power, based on a
developed harmonica and a dense polyphony. Weinberger, who fled to the United
States in the 1930's, enjoyed great success with his folklore- inspired opera Švanda
Dudák (Schwanda, The Bagpipe, 1927). Ervín Schulhoff (1894-1942) and Viktor
Ullmann (1898-approx. 1944), who in the 1920's cultivated expressionism, both
perished in concentration camps during World War II (see EntarteteArt
(music)). A radical break with tradition represents Alois Hába, who used
The symphony, which had flourished in the late 1800's, was only sparsely
cultivated in the early 1900's. Only with Bohuslav Martinlav's six symphonies
(1943-53) did this situation change. Martinů lived most of his life outside
Czechoslovakia, but especially his works from the years around World War II have
a strong bond with the national. The orchestral work Památník Lidicím (Memory
of Lidice, 1943) is a shocking expression of the horrors that befell the village
of Lidice during the Nazi occupation.
During the communism of 1948, several composers were affected by the ban on
"formalist art", Hába and Martinů, but after Stalin's death in 1953,
conditions gradually eased so that both the dodecaphony and the avant-garde of
the 1960's could be represented in Czech music. These tendencies experienced a
violent setback after the Prague Spring of 1968, but after the Velvet
RevolutionIn 1989, the trend towards a greater opening to the outside world was
resumed. Among the composers who have influenced Czech music since World War II
are Miloslav Kabeláč (1908-79) and Jan Novák (1921-1984). Novák, which has
included serial elements in its works, settled after the upheaval in 1968 first
in Denmark, later in Italy. Petr Eben (1929-2007) has attracted international
attention with his organ and choral works, which are characterized by elements
from folk singing as well as Gregorian chant.
Czech Republic - Music (Folk Music)
Czech folk music exhibits in the west and east two very different styles. In
Čechy and parts of western Morava, the songs, due to Western European influence,
have a regular melodic structure, a symmetrical structure and a tonality
characterized by a triad sound. The melodies are most often of an instrumental
and dance-like character in three- or two-part bars; in the border country with
Bavaria, there are also rhythm-changing dance songs and instrumental melodies, eg furiant,
known from e.g. Smetanas and Dvořáksadaptations. In East Moravia, the connection
to the West Carpathian music culture is felt. The songs have looser structure
and freer rhythm than the western ones. The scales are modal, mostly with a
mole-like touch. Some melodies are influenced by the pastoral whistle tones,
which include a section of the harmonic scale with the magnified quarter. The
most important folk instrument in the Czech Republic is the bagpipe (called dudy or gajdy),
which since the 1200's. has remained almost unchanged to this day. Dance is
accompanied by small ensembles with bagpipes, violin, flute or clarinet in
various combinations, in Morava also with three-stringed bass or chopping
board. After 1850 wind orchestras came into vogue, and in the 1900's. dance
orchestras with saxophones.
Czech Republic - Music (Rock Music)
One of the first successful Czech pop singers was Karel Gott (b. 1939), who
in the early 1960's released a number of cover versions of American pop songs. In
the second half of the 1960's, the bigbeat period in Czech rock music followed,
with a host of music groups and scenes emerging. In the time after the Prague
Spring of 1968, a number of groups were banned from performing, and this led to
a number of concerts in secret. A notable band from this period is Plastic
People of the Universe. A lawsuit against the group was instrumental in the
formation of the civil rights group Charta 77in January 1977. In the 1970's and
1980's, guitar rock groups Vladimir Mišik, ETC. and Garaž. After 1989 came a
boom in Czech rock and pop. A number of groups were restored and records were
released, and there was a greater diversity on the Czech music scene with
ska, reggae, punk and hip hop. An exciting aspect of the Czech music scene
around 2000 is that the groups' many virtuoso instrumentalists are not afraid to
experiment with arrangements and rhythm changes. It is seen among others at
Vltava and Už Jsme Doma.
Czech Republic - film
Czech film production began in 1898. In the 1930's, several films became
internationally known, including Gustav Machatýs (1901-63) erotic Ecstasy (1933)
with Hedy Lamarr (1913-2000).
In 1948, the film industry was nationalized, but despite political control,
directors such as Jiří Weiss (1913-2004) with Romeo and Juliet in the Dark (1960)
and Vojtěch Jasný (b. 1925) with A Day Came a Cat (1963) managed to
make personal film art..
In the mid-1960's, a new wave broke through, also internationally, with
Jiří Menzels (b. 1938) Oscar- winning Sharply Guarded Trains (1966)
and Miloš Forman's satirical comedies.
After the 1968 invasion, several film artists, including Forman, in exile,
and Czech film became more conformist. Despite financial hardship after 1989,
new instructors have made their way through, e.g. Jan Svěrák (b. 1965) with the
Oscar-winning Kolya (1996).
The Czech Republic has a special tradition for animated films with the puppet
filmmaker Jiří Trnka as the main character.
Czech Republic - beer
The Czech Republic has the world's largest consumption of beer [Pivo]
per. population (158 l annually, 2005). Although the Czech Republic has very old
brewing traditions, it is the relatively young lager that has made the country's
The most famous breweries are Plzeňský Prazdroj in Plzeň (Pilsner Urquell)
and Budvar in České Budějovice (Budweiser). Before the collapse of communism,
there was a brewery in every Czechoslovak city of importance, but the market
economy has meant that the number has been greatly reduced. Plzeňský Prazdroj is
still a leader with an annual production of approximately 10 mio. hl beer (2000),
closely followed by Radegast and Staropramen. After the Velvet Revolution,
however, there has been a sharp growth in the number of microbreweries. Here,
the Czechs' preferred types are brewed (lagers and dark lager beer), but also
a number of specialty beers. In Praguethere are thus five micro or restaurant
breweries (2006). The increased interest in beer after the year 2000 has led to
a large import of Czech beer in Denmark, so it is now possible to get the
well-hopped lager beer and the dark lager beer in many places, among the latter
eg Kozel from Pivovar Velké Popovice near Prague.