Czech Republic

Castle - Český Šternberk

Prague - Charles BridgeThe Czech Republic is a small landlocked country in Central Europe, situated south-east of Germany and bordering Austria to the south, Poland to the north and Slovakia to the south-east.

Understand
(from http://wikitravel.org/en/Czech_republic)

The Czech Republic is not a large country but has a rich and eventful history. From time immemorial Czechs, Germans, Jews and Slovaks, as well as Italian stonemasons and stucco workers, French tradesmen and deserters from Napoleon’s army have all lived and worked here, all influencing one another. For centuries they jointly cultivated their land, creating works that still command our respect and admiration today. It is thanks to their inventiveness and skill that this small country is graced with hundreds of ancient castles, monasteries and stately mansions, and even entire towns that give the impression of being comprehensive artifacts. The Czech Republic contains a vast of amount of architectural treasure and has beautiful forests and mountains to match.

Prague - Astronomical Clock Detail 1See

Prague, the capital with its incredible historic center (and famous monuments such as the Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, and Prague Castle). Member of the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Olomouc, a vibrant university town with the second largest historic center after Prague. Member of the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Český Krumlov viewČeský Krumlov – beautiful city with castle. Member of UNESCO.

The Macocha Caves, north of Brno, are definitely worth a visit. You can take a guided tour into the caves, which will take you through a myriad of winding tunnels, with close up views of stalactites and stalagmites. The tour ends with a boat ride on an underground river.

Technical museum in Brno (nice and modern)

Lakes under Palava (mountains). This lakes are actually river dams but good for sailing and fishing (you must have fishing licence) it’s full of big fish.

Mikulčice archaeological site, site of the former capital of the Great Moravian Empire (c. 900 AD).

Do

Pavlova Huť Nature Reserve (CZE)Hiking

Czech Republic has an excellent and sophisticated system of trail blazing, marked trails are about everywhere. Choose an area, buy a hiking map for the area (best brand is “Klub českých turistů”, 1:50000 military based maps covering the whole country, available in most large bookstores) and go. Marked trails can also be seen on online maps.

Swimming

Many places in the Czech Republic are great for swimming, and there are many designated public swimming areas (called koupaliště). However, be aware that in hot weather the quality of the water in some places can fall below EU standard regulations.

Nudism/Naturism

Although the Czech Republic is a land-locked country, it does have a lot of nudist/naturist beaches near lakes. Full nudity on other beaches is legal, but rare, and usually only happens in non-crowded places.

LGBT flag map of the Czech RepublicLGBT rights

The Czech Republic is considered one of the most liberal Central Europe countries in regards to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights. In 2006 it legalized registered partnerships (registrované partnerství) for same-sex couples.

Same-sex sexual activity was decriminalized 1962. The age of consent was equalized in 1990 (to 15 – it had previously been 18 for homosexuals). The Army doesn’t question the sexual orientation of soldiers, and allows homosexuals to serve openly. Homosexual prostitution was decriminalized in 1990. (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Czech_Republic)

There is a comparatively large gay community in Prague, less so in the rest of the country, with the capital acting as a magnet for the country’s gay youth. The city has a large and well-developed gay nightlife scene, particularly centred around the district of Vinohrady, with at least 20 bars and clubs and 4 saunas. Gay venues are much more sparsely spread in other Czech towns however.

Hlediště kina Světozor při zakončení festivalu Mezipatra 2007Prague also holds an annual Gay and Lesbian Film festival known as Mezipatra which has been held every November since 2000.

As a sign of growing confidence within the gay community, plans have been drawn up for a first Prague Gay Pride to take place in summer 2011. There has never previously been a gay pride in the Czech capital although in 2008 a small Queer festival took place in the country’s second city of Brno The event was also held in 2009 and 2010, the 2010 event passing with only small protests, after the police were heavily criticized for violence at the 2009 event. The event attracted some negative responses from Christian groups and the far right with skinheads verbally attacking the participants leading to its early curtailment. However there will be another one this year in August from the 13th to the 19th. www.praguepride.com

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