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It comprises 3 historical lands: Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia.
It has temperate continental climate, with hot summers and cold, cloudy and snowy winters.
The temperature difference between S and W is relatively high, due to the landlocked geographical position.
At the turn of the 20th century, Chicago was the city with the third largest Czech population, after Prague and Vienna. There are 1,637,218 Americans of full or partial Czech descent.
The Czech Republic, along with Estonia and the Netherlands, has one of the least religious populations in the world. 59% of the country is agnostic, atheist or non-believer, 26.8% is Roman Catholic and 2.5% is Protestant.
Slovakia Capital – Bratislava Area – 49,035 km2 18,932 sq mi Population – 5,429,763 mil. Currency - Euro [01/01/2009] Language - Slovak
It’s a landlocked country and borders with Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and Austria.
The Slovak climate lies between the temperate and continental climate zones with relatively warm summers and cold and cloudy winters.
60.4% of Slovaks identify themselves as Roman Catholics, 9.6% as nonreligious or atheist, 6% as Protestant, 5% as Eastern Orthodox; 19% chose "other“.
The majority of the inhabitants of Slovakia are ethnically Slovak (85.8%). Hungarians are the largest ethnic minority (9.5%).
Hungarian is widely spoken in the southern regions and Rusyn is used in some parts of the Northeast.
VeľkéÚľany, Nagy Födémes -VeľkéÚľanyis situated on southwest Slovakia. -First written memory – 1221. -It has more than 4000 inhabitants. -There is a long tradition in beekeeping.
Brno [Czech Republic] -Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic. -It has more than 400 000 inhabitants and plus more than 200 000 temporary residents. Brno has 5 universities. -Brno was founded in 1243 by King of Bohemia, but the area itself had been settled since the 2th century. -Brno is the home to the highest courts in the Czech judiciary. -Hantec is a unique slang previously spoken among lower classes in Brno during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It developed from the mixing of the Czech language as spoken in Moravia with the languages of other residents of Brno, including Germans and Jews. Today hantec exists in its original form only among some elderly people, but many words and expressions have become a part of Czech spoken in Brno.
Špilberk Castle [Spielberg] is an old castle on the hilltop in Brno.
The castle was founded in the second half of the 13th century by the Czech King. From a purely Gothic castle in the second half of the 17th century turned into an enormous Baroque fort considered the heaviest prison in the Austro-Hungarian empire.
It has become an integral part of the dreaded prison – casemates. In 1962 the castle was declared a national cultural monument and now its a museum.
-Each year in the courtyard ofŠpilberk Castle Summer Shakespeare Festival takes place in the open-air. -It is the biggest and oldest festival of this kind in Europe.
St. Peter and Paul Cathedral -Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul [Petrov for short] is located in Brno in Petrov Hill. The interior is predominantly Baroque style, while the impressive exterior with two towers is being rebuilt in the Gothic style.
Mahen Theatre -Mahen Theatre in Brno was the first building in the world to use Edison’s electric lamps. -Electric bulbs were made in a factory owned by Hans Kalfus.
Brno Exhibition Center -Brno Exhibition Center is the most important Czech exhibition complex (built in 1920’s). -Exhibitions, shows, concerts and various other events runs throughout the year. -Approximately 40 exhibitions are held each year. -The largest are the International Engineering Fair and exhibition of IT. - The Rolling Stones chose the Brno Exhibition Centre for the 2007 tour.
Villa Tugendhat -It is an example of functionalistic architecture, designed by german architect Mies van derRohe, built in 1930. - It was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. -The cost of building the was very high due to the unusual construction method, the luxurious materials, very modern technology of heating, ventilation. -The owners, who were Jewish, left with their children before World War II. and they never returned. Since 1994 the villa has been open to the public as a museum. -The house was a principal location in the 2007 film Hannibal Rising.
Olomouckésyrečky [CZ] -Olomouckésyrečky or olomouckétvarůžky is a ripened soft cheese made in CZ, which is very easy to recognize by its strong scent and yellowish color. -It is the only original Czech cheese with a distinctive, pungent taste. -This natural matured soft cheese is free of any chemical additives. The first written mention of this cheese dates back to the 15th century. -It is named after the city of Olomouc and contains only 0.6% of fat.
Bryndza [SK] -This cheese is popular throughout Eastern Europe and is made from sheep's milk. -Bryndza is cut into cubes and stored in brine. -Traditional bryndza is sharp, salty, grayish, semi-spreadable 100% sheep cheese. -There is no close equivalent in taste and texture among sheep, cow, or goat cheeses. -Recipes differ slightly across the countries. -Similar cheeses are the Romanian Brinza, Hungarian Brynza, Sirene from Bulgaria and Greek Feta.
Folk Costumes -The costume is a national folk dress. It is a ceremonial clothing typical in the area. No one region has the same dress.
Fish is rare, with the occasional exception of fresh trout and carp, which is served at Christmas.
Svíčkovánasmetaně(Marinated beef sirloin) Vepřo-knedlo-zelo (Roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut) Bryndzovéhalušky (Potato dumplings with sheep's-milk cheese and bacon Kapustnica(Soup made from sauerkraut and sausage)
Bramboráky (Potato Pancakes) Ingredients for 4 people: 6 large potatoes, pealed 1 egg 5 cloves of garlic, grated 1/4 cup of milk 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour 1 Tsp of dried marjoram pinch of salt and pepper oil for frying Method: Grate the potatoes. Pour warm milk over those grated potatoes so that they will not go brown. Add in the garlic, egg, salt and pepper, marjoram and mix it all together. Gradually mix in the flour. Pour part of the mixture with a ladle or tablespoon onto a hot and oiled frying pan ( the thickness and size of the pancakes depends on one’s preference). Fry each side of the pancake until golden brown. Serve. PS: if you like you can add bits of fried bacon or cut-up salami into thebramborák mixture