The Czech Republic: Did You Know?

– The Prague Castle is the largest castle area in the world. Its three courtyards and many magnificent buildings cover over 7 hectares (18 acres).
– The Czech Republic is one of the countries with the highest density of castles in the world.
– The soft contact lens was invented in Czechoslovakia by professor Otto Wichterle in 1961.
– The word “robot” came from the Czech language (robota = “work”, “hard work”) and was first introduced in Karel Čapek’s science-fiction play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots).
– According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the prehistoric settlement of Dolní Věstonice in Southern Moravia is the oldest town in the world. It dates back to 27,000 BC, the Ice Age.
– Sigmund Freud was born and spent the first years of his life in what is now the Czech Republic.

Film & Literature
– The Nobel Prize in Literature for 1984 was awarded to the Czech poet Jaroslav Seifert.
– The Czech film Kolja (“Kolya” in English) won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1996.
– 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.
– Oskar Schindler with whom you may be familiar from Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List, was born in a Moravian town called Svitavy (now in Eastern Bohemia) in 1908.

Ice hockey
– Jaromír Jágr, a professional ice-hockey player who played for the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins for several years, was born in Kladno, Czechoslovakia.
– The Czech goalie Dominik Hašek was voted NHL Most Valuable Player and awarded the Hart Trophy in 1997 and 1998, the Vezina Trophy in 1994, 1995, 1997, and 1998, and the Jennings Trophy in 1994.
– The Czech hockey team won the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and the World Ice Hockey Championship in the following three years (1999, 2000, 2001) and in 2005.

– The Czechs are the #1 beer-drinking nation in the world, consuming the most beer per capita in the world (160 liters or 43 gallons). They have been drinking beer since at least 900 A.D.
– Pilsner Urquell is a brand-name Czech beer produced in Plzeň (or Pilsen) and is the original Pilsner.
– Budweiser is a brand-name Czech beer produced in České Budějovice (Budweis in German) and is the original Budweiser.

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