Thanks to its location at the crossroads of various cultures in the heart of Europe, the Czech Republic has countless cultural and historical points of interest. The Czech Republic is a country of great historical and cultural importance, a country where historic monuments and entire towns have been included on the World Heritage List. Of course, when discussing tourism in Czech Republic, one can not overlook the overhelmingly popular tourist destination of Prague. The city is generaly considered to be one of the most beautiful world capitals with an exquitely preserved historical center. Many other towns and historic monuments in the Czech Republic are well-preserved and are noted in the UNESCO register as world cultural landmarks. Some of the towns are also known as glowing assets of the Czech Republic due to the existence of curative mineral spring spas there. Spas like Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) and Marianske Lazne (Marienbad) acquired their international eminence many years ago. Jachymov, another town in the countryside, is well known for its rare radioactive springs. Terezin is also often explored by tourists. Terezin was a fort town from the end of the 18th century which, during the war, was transformed into a Jewish ghetto by the Nazis.
In 1992 the historical centre of Prague covering an area of 866 hectares was listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Register. Prague has always played an important role in the history of the nation, the country and the whole of Europe. She has cherished the reputation of one of the most beautiful cities in the world and has been paid tribute by outstanding personalities.
- New York
THE UNESCO REGISTER OF THE WORLD HERITAGE MONUMENTS
The World Heritage Committee has inscribed the following properties on the World Heritage List.
1995 Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of Saint Barbara and the Cathedral of our Lady at Sedlec
1996 Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape
1998 Holašovice Historical Village Reservation
1998 Gardens and Castle at Kromeríz
1999 Litomyšl Castle
2000 Olomouc - the Column of the Holy Trinity
Krkonoše (Giant Mountains)
The Krkonoše range stretches 40km into Bohemian territory, creating a natural border between the Czech Republic and Poland, and is the Czech Republic´s highest mountain range. The highest peak is Mt. Snezka (1,602 m). Several other peaks exceed 1,500 m. In order to preserve both wildlife and the environment, the Krkonoše was proclaimed a national park in 1963
Hrubý Jeseník (Ash Mountains)
The Hrubý Jeseník is the second highest mountain range in the Czech Republic, and its highest point is Praded Peak (1,491 m). Located in northern Moravia, this range is similar in character to the Krkonoše and has been a protected region since 1969.
Šumava (Bohemian Forest)
The third highest mountain range in the Czech Republic, the Šumava´s highest point is Plechý Peak (1,373 m)The Šumava extends 125 km into south-western Bohemia from the border and creates a natural boundary with Germany. Five limestone lakes found here are of glacial origin. The Black Lake is the largest (18.61 hectares). The Šumava has been a protected region since 1962 and was declared a national park in 1991. This region is also protected on the German side where it becomes The Bavarian Forest National Park.
The Morava-Silesian Beskydy Mountains are situated in the eastern part of the Czech Republic in northern Moravia. The area shares borders with Poland to the north and with the Slovak Republic to the east. The Beskydy Mountains are part of a frontier mountain range that runs from north to south, with the highest points over 1000 m above sea level. Its landscape of long, rolling hillsides is covered with forests and pastures. The terrain is ideal for hiking, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.
LAKES AND RIVERS
The Czech Republic is called the roof of Europe since its only source of water is atmospheric rain and snowfall. All the rivers which have their source in the area drain into neighboring countries.
The Czech Republic has three river basins:
The Labe (Elbe) River Basin (drains into the North Sea) - 51,399 sq.km. Main rivers: Labe, Vltava
The Odra (Oder) River Basin (drains into the Baltic) - 4,721 sq.km. Main rivers: Odra, Opava, Ostravice and Olše
The Dunaj (Danube) River Basin (drains into the Black Sea) - 22,744 sq. km. Main rivers: Morava, Dyje
The river basins intersect at Kralický Sni3ník on the Polish border.
Lakes and ponds
There are 455 natural lakes in the Czech Republic, 350 of which are river lakes that have formed in the grasslands of larger rivers. A characteristic feature of the Czech landscape is the large number of artificial lakes created for fish-farming. They number 21,800 in total and cover about 41,000 hectares. The largest of them are Lake Rozmberk and Lake Bezdrev in southern Bohemia.
The abundance and quality of mineral springs in the Czech Republic makes the country a world leader in this area. Many large and renowned spas have been founded around natural or drilled mineral water springs, including the spa in Karlovy Vary, as well as in Mariánské Lázne, Františkovy Lázne, Podebrady, Luhacovice, Jáchymov, and many others which are smaller but still therapeutically important. The warmest Czech springs include the famous Thermal Spring in Karlovy Vary (72oC), and springs in Teplice (42oC) and Janské Lázni (29.6oC). The waters from former uranium mines in Jáchymov have the highest radioactivity in the world (5,085 Mach units, .08 oz.Rn/gal.)
Karlovy Vary are the best known and biggest spa in the Czech Republic. It is world famous for its hot mineral springs and mineral salts. The place has very long history and today it is presumably the second most visited town in the Czech Republic after Prague.The healing sources are rare hydrocarbonate-sulfur-chloride and hydrocarbonate-sodium-calcium thermal mineral waters.World famous liqueur Becherovka is also produced in Karlovy Vary.
The second most important spa in the Czech Republic about which a written record is already from the year 1528 are situated in West Bohemia near town Cheb. Many famous writers, composers, poets and phylosofers spend their time in this picturesque town and enjoyed the forrests and hills around.
About fifty kilometers east of Prague on a bank of the Elbe (Labe) river lies city of Poděbrady. Its spa history is relatively short - only about hundred years (cold mineral springs are used to cure heart and circulatory deseases), but Poděbrady is famous for its history (king Jiří z Poděbrad ( George of Podebrady) was born here in 1420) and its glassworks.
Luhacovice is the biggest spa in Moravia with the tradition of more than 300 years of spa treatment, based on the curative power of the natural mineral springs.Thanks to the long-standing tradition of the spa treatment, mineral springs, favorable climate conditions and a beautiful natural surrounding.
For further information on spas in the Czech Republic, please visit the website: www.spas.cz