Official name: The Czech Republic
Area: 78,866 square kilometers (30,450 square miles)
Highest point on mainland : Mount Snezka (1,602 meters/5,256 feet)
Lowest point on land: Elbe River (115 meters/377 feet)
Hemispheres : Northern and Eastern
Time zone: 2:00 P.M. = noon GMT
Longest distances: 494 kilometers (307 miles) from east to west; 269 kilometers (167 miles) from north to south
Land boundaries : 1,881 kilometers (1,169 miles) total boundary length; Austria 362 kilometers (225 miles); Germany 646 kilometers (401 miles); Poland 658 kilometers (409 miles); Slovakia 215 kilometers (134 miles)
Territorial sea limits: None
Located in the heart of Central Europe, the landlocked Czech Republic is one of two nations that were formed after the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993. With an area of 78,866 square kilometers (30,450 square miles), it is slightly smaller than the state of South Carolina.
The Czech Republic has no territories or dependencies.
The Czech Republic has a mostly continental climate, although in Bohemia it is moderated somewhat by proximity to the Baltic Sea, with less variation in temperature throughout the day. Nevertheless, the country as a whole is known for its changeable weather. Winters are cold, with average January temperatures between -4°C and -2°C (25°F and 28°F). Both the Moravian lowlands and the Bohemian highlands can experience bitter cold, with temperatures below -18°C (0°F). Summers are hot and wet, with frequent storms and average temperatures between 13°C to 23°C (55°F and 73°F). Summer temperatures above 30°C (86°F) are common in Moravia. Rainfall is heaviest in the spring and summer, with the greatest rainfall occurring in July. Average annual rainfall ranges from 50 to 76 centimeters (20 to 30 inches) in low-lying areas to over 127 centimeters (50 inches) in the Krkonoše Mountains. Fog is common in the lowlands.
The Czech Republic consists of two major regions—Bohemia to the west and Moravia to the east. In addition, its northwestern corner is part of Silesia, a region that lies mostly in southwestern Poland. Bohemia, the larger of the two main regions, consists of highlands bordered by low mountains, while Moravia, although also surrounded by mountains, is composed of lowlands.
The Czech Republic is landlocked.
In the southern part of Bohemia, near České Budějovice, is a region of artificial lakes and fish ponds. The Czech Republic also has many mineral springs.
The Czech Republic's many rivers belong to three major systems. In the northwest, the Labe (or Elbe) River flows northward into Germany, ultimately draining into the North Sea. Among its tributaries are the Jizera, the Ohře, and the Vltava (or Moldau), which is the country's longest river. In the northeast, the Odra (or Oder) River flows north to Poland, draining into the Baltic Sea. The Morava River, the principal river of Moravia, flows southward through the eastern part of the country.
There are no deserts in the Czech Republic.
The central and southern Moravian lowlands are part of the Danube River Basin and are similar to the lowlands they join in southern Slovakia.
Mountain ranges ring much of the country and also separate its two major regions. Part of the border with Poland, to the north, is formed by the Krkonoše (or Great) Mountains, which also form the northern border of Bohemia. The country's highest peak, Mount Snezka, is found in these mountains. Farther east, the Jeseníky Mountains separate the Czech portion of Silesia from Moravia to the south. The Javorníky Mountains mark the eastern border of both Moravia and the Czech Republic itself; those and the nearby White Carpathian (Bíele Karpaty) Mountains both border Slovakia. In the center of the country, the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands separate Bohemia from Moravia, and the Šumava Mountains mark the borders with Austria and Germany. The northeastern border with Germany is formed by the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge).
One of the Czech Republic's most famous topographical features is the Moravian Karst, a highland area in southern Moravia where the erosion of limestone hills over time has created a dramatic landscape of caves and canyons.
The mountain ranges of Bohemia encircle a plateau that is 500 meters (1,640 feet) above sea level and shaped roughly like an oval.
Most lakes in the Czech Republic are man-made. The largest artificial lake is Lake Rozmberk, which covers some 500 hectares (1,235 acres). The Lipno Dam is located near the southernmost part of the country, just north of the border with Austria.
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Holtslag, Astrid. The Czech Republic . New York: Hippocrene Books, 1994.
Ivory, Michael. Essential Czech Republic . Lincolnwood, IL: Passport Books, 1994.
Czech Republic Web site. http://www.Czech.cz/ (accessed March 11, 2003).
Lonely Planet World Guide. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/europe/czech_republic/ (accessed June 27, 2003).