The official name of our country is the Czech Republic. It consists of three historical countries – Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. Silesia is the smallest of them; it lies in the north – east of the republic along the frontier with Poland. Our country lies in central Europe, some people say, that it lies in the very heart of Europe. It borders on 4 countries: on Poland in the north, Germany in the west, Austria in the south and on Slovakia in the east. Till 1993 we lived with Slovaks in one state – The Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. In January 1993 the federation split into two independent republics. We are small country with a population of about 10 million, but density of population is quite high. But there area territories which are sparsely populated especially in the regions near the border.
The Czech Republic isn’t a rich country as for gross national product per head or as for deposits of minerals. On the other hand it abounds in beauties of nature. The countryside is varied, perhaps only the sea is missing. The territory is protected by mountains nearly from all sides. Only in the south of Moravia the countryside nears the border by mountains nearly from all sides. Only in the south of Moravia the countryside near the border is flat. Our mountains aren’t high – the highest mountain is Snežka in Krkonoše Mountains. Krkonoše are covered in coniferous and deciduous forests. Unfortunately large territories of forest have been destroyed or are threatened by acid rains. Central Bohemia and central Moravia are mostly hilly. The lowlands spread along some rivers e.g. The Labe, Morava, Vltava River.
The Vltava River is the longest Czech river. It has its source in Šumava and it flows through picture – pretty countryside in the south of Bohemia. Near Mělník it flows into The Labe River. The Vltava inspired composer B. Smetana who composed one of his symphonies about it. A few dams were built on this river. The dams protect this area against floods and storage reservoirs make irrigation possible and they also provide good possibilities for water sports. Summer resorts on the bank of the Vltava attract a lot of holiday makers. Unfortunately, our rivers as a whole are quite polluted. Swimming in these rivers isn’t good for your health. The Labe is perhaps our most important river, because it’s navigable and it connects our republic with the sea. The rivers is used for transportation of carious cargoes, in our country especially coal.
Our national economy is based on industry. Heavy industry was the most important, but its importance has fallen down during last years. But Ostrava region with steelworks and ironworks is still the industrial heart of our republic. Another industrial town is Pilsen, the centre of engineering. Textile industry and production of glass and china belong to traditional branches. Czech china and cut glass are important exports. Mining industry isn’t so important because our country has only limited sources of minerals and most minerals have to be imported. Black coal is mined in North Moravia, while deposits of brown coal are in the north of Bohemia. Brown coal is mined in surface mines. Oil and gas are imported form Russia, but new oil pipeline, which will transport oil from Germany, is already built.