Did you know…

Prague is farther West than Vienna.

The sugar cube was invented in the Czech town Dačice in 1843.

The Prague Castle is the largest castle area in the world. Its three courtyards and a number of magnificent buildings cover over 7 hectares (18 acres).

There are approximately 2,000 castles and ruins in the Czech Republic. The density of castles is one of the highest in the world.

The Czech hockey team won the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and also won the World Ice Hockey Championship in the following three years (1999, 2000, 2001) and in 2005. Jaromír Jágr, a professional ice-hockey player who played for the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins for several years was born in Kladno, Czechoslovakia.

The bottom-fermenting method used in beer production, invented by the brewers of Plzeň (Pilsen) in 1842, is now applied across the world, which is why hundreds of beers bear the label pilsner, pils, or pilsener. Budweiser is a brand-name Czech beer produced in České Budějovice (Budweis in German) and is the original Budweiser. Czechs drink the most beer per capita in the world. There are more than 70 breweries in the Czech Republic.

Ostře sledované vlaky “Closely Observed Trains” won the 1968 Oscar for the best foreign-language film. Time Magazine ranked the film among the top hundred films of all time. Other Czech/Czechoslovak films that won or were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film are: Obchod na korze (“The Shop on Main Street”, won in 1966), Lásky jedné plavovlásky (“The Loves of a Blonde”, nominated in 1967), Ostře sledované vlaky(“Closely Watched Trains”, won in 1968), Hoří, panenko (“The Firemen’s Ball”, nominated in 1969), Vesničko středisková (“My Sweet Little Village”, nominated in 1985), Obecná škola (“The Elementary School”, nominated in 1992),Kolja (“Kolya“, won 1997),Musíme si pomáhat (“Divided We Fall”, nominated in 2001),Twenty-year-oldMarkéta Irglová (won in 2008 for the song to the film Once).

The Academy Award winning film director Miloš Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Hair, Ragtime, Valmont, Amadeus, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon) was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated to the USA in 1968.

The English playwright Tom Stoppard, who received an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love in 1999, was born as Thomas Straussler in Zlín.

The word robot comes from Czech. It was first used by the Czech writer Karel Čapek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) from 1920. The term was invented by his brother, Josef Čapek, and was based on the wordrobota (i.e. labour, a personal service provided by peasants to their masters in the feudal system).

The Czech writer Jaroslav Seifert won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1984. In 1959 Jaroslav Heyrovský won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for discovering and developing polarography.

The world-famous writer Milan Kundera is a Czech, who emigrated to France in 1975 and acquired French citizenship in 1981. Franz Kafka is a Prague writer of Jewish origin, and is buried in the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague.

Alfons Mucha, Emil Filla, Toyen, Jindřich Štýrský and František Kupka are all world-famous Czech painters.

Cubism, represented around the world primarily by way of painting and sculpture, also appears in architecture in the Czech Republic. Czech Cubist architecture, which emerged before World War I, is unique.

One of Mozart’s best-known operas, Don Giovanni, was premiered in the Estates Theatre in Prague in 1787 and is still performed there.

The founder of Baťa, the global footwear manufacturer and retailer, was Tomáš Baťa, a Czech from the city of Zlín. He was also the first to introduce prices following the ‘.99’ format (like in € 99.99).

The first person who categorized blood into four types was the Czech neurologist Jan Janský, in 1906. The founder of genetics, Johann Gregor Mendel, was born near Brno and spent most of his life there. Modern contact lenses were invented by Otto Wichterle.

The name of the US currency, the dollar, is derived from the Czech coin known as the tolar (thaler).

Prominent figures, such as the businessman Oskar Schindler (whose life is portrayed in the book and film Schindler’s List), the psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, the composer Gustav Mahler, the writer Rainer Maria Rilke were born in what is now the Czech Republic.

Albert Einstein spent a year and a quarter in Prague as a professor at the Institute of Theoretical Physics.

A powerful Church reform movement began in Bohemia a century before Martin Luther. Its spiritual leader, Jan Hus (also referred to in English as John Huss), was burnt at the stake for his teachings in Constance in 1415. Luther regarded Hus as his predecessor.

The first woman ever to become the United States Secretary of State (in 1997) was Madeleine Albright, born in Prague.

The word “pistol” came from czech “píšťala.”

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