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The Czech Republic The Czech Republic lies in the middle of Europe. It borders on Germany, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Austria. The area of the CR is about 80 000 sq kilometres and its population is about 10 million inhabitans. The major nationality is Czech, but there live many minorites-for example the Poles, the Germans, the Vietnamese and the Gypsies. The landscape of our country is varied. The border of Bohemia is lined by Šumvava mountains, the Ore, the Jizera, the Luž mounstains, the Giant and the Eagle mountains. Bohemia and Moravia are separated by the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. In the north of Moravia you can visit the Jeseníky and the Beskydy Mountains. The highest mounstain is Snežka (1602m). The longest rivers are the Vltava and the Elbe, the Oder and the Moravia. Cascades of dams which serve for industrial and recreational purposes were built on the Vltava and many other rivers. South Bohemia is rich in ponds. The climate in our country is mild, continental, with quite cold winters and hot summers. The country is not very rich in raw materials (natural resources). It used to produce a lot of black coal, brown coal, uranium, kaolin, clay and limestone and heavy industry are not so important as they used to be. Among its traditional industries are engineering, textile and glass industry. Traditional exports are cars and other vehicles, china, costume jewellery and beer. The main iterms of agriculture are maize, sugar-beet, grapes, hops and fruit. The most fertile regions are the valleys along the Elbe and the Morava. Animal production specializes in cattle-breeding and pig-breeding. South Bohemia is well-known for its carp-breeding. The Czech Repub lic came into existence on 1 Janual 1993 after the splitting of the former Czechoslovakia. The Czech government with the ministries is the main executive power, the legislative body. The main political parties are the Social Democratic Party, the Civic Democratic Party and the Christian Democratic Union. The Czech Republic is a member of many internation organisations-WTO, OECD, CEFTA, NATO and on 1May 2004 it became a member of the European Union. Although the CR is an industrial country. Bohemia and Moravia are rich in mineral springs and spas. Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, Luhačovice, Jeseník and Klimkovice. Impressive castles and chateaux with wonderful collections of antique furniture, paintings, tapestries, arms-Karlštejn, Hluboká, Telč, Lednice, Hradec nad Moravicí are frequently visited by lovers of history. Some historical towns have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List of Cultural and Natural Monuments(Český Krumlov, Telč). Visitors admire old churches, palaces, monasteries and historical squares lined by Baroque and Renaissance houses and arcades with beautiful fountains, statues and Marian columns in the middle. Popular tourist destinations are the Czech Paradise, Prachov rocks, The Moravian Karst with stalactite caves, the underground river Punkva and Macocha Abyss, the Šumava mountains with the Boubín virgin forest and many other natural reserves and protected areas.