Did you know that the Czech Republic hosts more than 2000 castles, being one of the countries with the highest density of castles in the world? Do you know what Škoda means? Or who invented modern soft contact lenses? Read on to find out some really interesting facts about this fascinating country and look forward to a memorable EAIE Conference in the heart of Europe!
1. Largest castle complex in the world
You can’t visit Prague without seeing the spectacular Prague Castle. You’ll be exploring the largest castle area in the world, a whooping 70 000 m2! Dating back to the 9th century, Prague Castle has been the seat of the Kings of Bohemia, the Holy Roman Emperor and the presidents of Czechoslovakia and is currently the residence of the Czech President. Be sure to visit St Vitus Cathedral, the biggest and most impressive church in the country.
2. Charles University is one of the oldest in the world
Founded by King Charles IV in 1348, Charles University in Prague is among the oldest in the world and the oldest in Central and Eastern Europe. Its acceptance rate is a striking 1 in 400 – all the respect to the accepted students!
3. 90%+ secondary education attainment rate
According to OECD’s 2013 ‘Education Policy Outlook’ report, “the Czech Republic has one of the highest upper secondary education attainment rates for the 25-34 year-olds (94%, compared to the OECD average of 82%) with most students completing vocational education and training”.
4. Prague: Europe’s best-preserved old towns
Prague is one of the few cities in Europe that remained intact over the years, having survived both World Wars, so what you will see is all original. Make sure you visit the Old Town Square and watch the ‘Procession of the 12 Apostles’ taking place every hour on the Astronomical Clock of the Town Hall. Also soak up the atmosphere of this magical city by strolling along the narrow cobbled streets and have a beer on one of the lively terraces.
5. World’s heaviest consumers of beer
The Czech Republic is the no. 1 beer drinking country in the world with a consumption of 160 litres per person per year. Beer has been brewed here since 993 AD and Czech universities have some top-notch breweries. Look forward to enjoying an affordable tasty beer – maybe Pilsner Urquell or Budweiser – while networking with your peers at the end of a conference day.
6. Škoda, one of the oldest automobile brands
Founded in 1895, Škoda is one of the very few automobile brands with a history of more than 100 years. And by the way, did you know that ‘škoda’ means ‘damage’, ‘shame’ or ‘pity’ in Czech, so kudos to the marketing people!
7. Ever wonder, “Who invented this?”
Modern soft contact lenses were invented by the Czech chemist, Otto Wichterle in 1959. It was a Czech doctor, Jan Jansky, who first divided blood into four types in 1907. The first sugar cubes were made in the Czech Republic in 1841 after a sugar factory director’s wife got injured while trying to cut some pieces of sugar and suggested finding an alternative. The word ‘robot’ is Czech and it was first used in 1920 in a theatre play by Karel Capek, Rossum’s Universal Robots. The play was about a robots factory and the playwright’s brother suggested calling the working machines ‘roboti’ from the Slavic ‘robota’, which means ‘labour’.
8. One of the most peaceful country splits in the 20th century
As you might already know, until 1992, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic were a federal state, Czechoslovakia. Due to growing nationalist tensions in the government, the country was dissolved and on 1 January 1993 the two states become independent. The dissolution, also called the ‘Velvet Divorce’, was one of the most peaceful country splits of the 20th century.
What other fun facts do you know about the Czech Republic? Leave your comments below.
Photo credit: Jorgeroyan