10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is one of the most misunderstood countries in Europe. Each day, visitors to Prague (the one and only city everybody knows about) make a lot of mistakes while talking about this Central European country, especially because some of them still use “Czechoslovakia” to refer to the whole country.

Here’s 10 interesting facts you didn’t know about this wonderful country located in the heart of Europe. Enjoy!

Czech Republic Interesting Fact #01: Czechoslovakia ceased to exist ages ago

Ever since 1991, the political union called Czechoslovakia peacefully ceased to exist and two new countries were born: The Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic. And no, Communism hasn’t been present ever since 1989 when the Velvet Revolution took place.

Today, Czechs feel insulted if you label them as Eastern Europeans instead of Central Europeans.

The striking beauty of Prague

The striking beauty of Prague

Czech Republic Interesting Fact #02: The movie Hostel was filmed here

Eli Roth’s Hostel is a very unique movie in the sense that allegedly takes place in Slovakia, has Russian actors playing the bad guys and was actually filmed in the Czech Republic.

Eli Roth used the town of Český Krumlov as the backdrop for his slash film mainly because costs of filming in the Czech Republic are fairly low. Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible was also filmed here for the same reasons.

Czech Republic Interesting Fact #03: The Czech invented the art of defenestration

Defenestration consists of throwing someone out of a window and the Czechs were the first ones to coin the term back in 1618 when two Imperial Governors and their secretary were thrown out of a window of Prague Castle and started the 30 years war.

Ever since, defenestration has been a part of Czech culture with the last one taking place in 1948 where the Czechoslovakian minister of foreign affairs was thrown from a window.

Romance at Charles Bridge in Prague

Romance at Charles Bridge in Prague

Czech Republic Interesting Fact #04: One of their former presidents stole a pen

Perhaps the most famous incident by a Czech Politician was the fact that Czech Republic’s second president, Václav Klaus infamously stole a pen during a state visit to Chile. The worst part? He was totally caught on camera and the incident soon became an international affair.

His justification? “Official pens are normally free to be taken by official visitors and this one was not an exception”. Incredible, uh?

Czech Republic Interesting Fact #05: The Czech have a very dark sense of humor

When taking a look around the Souvenir Shops of Prague, you’ll be surprised to find things that would probably cause an immense outrage in neighboring countries. Including, but not limited to, Nazi memorabilia and funny Hitler masks.

This is is because the Czech have a very dark sense of humor and they understand that the best way to deal with a tragedy is to just laugh about it.

Quirky statues at Prague, Czech Republic

Quirky statues at Prague, Czech Republic

Czech Republic Interesting Fact #06: Franz Kafka was Czech, not German

One of the most common misconceptions is that people believe that Franz Kafka was actually German or Austrian, mainly because his most famous works were written in the German language. The truth is, however, that he was Czech raised and born.

The reason why he wrote in German was simply because it was one of the most popular languages at the time in Czech lands, similar to how France was very popular in Russia during the 19th Century.

Panoramic view of Prague's main square

Panoramic view of Prague’s main square

Czech Republic Interesting Fact #07: Simpson’s Duff beer is made here

When I saw it for the first time, I simply couldn’t believe it but yes, the Duff beer IS real and you can buy it in Czech Republic for less than 1 euro. The taste is awful but hey, if it’s good enough for Homer it’s good enough for me.

Of course, you should also try Pilsen, Czech’s number 1 and most popular beer.

Duff Beer found in Czech Republic

Duff Beer found in Czech Republic

Czech Republic Interesting Fact #08: Czech Contemporary Art is weird. Very weird

David Czerny is the Czech Republic’s favorite son. His contemporary art sculptures can be found mainly on the streets of Prague, including crawling creepy babies, staircases that lead to statue’s buttocks, inverse horses, suicidal poets, pixelated huge human heads and yes, two guys peeing on each other.

You don’t have to understand it to appreciate it. In fact, you probably will never understand it at all!

The even weirder sculptures at Prague

The even weirder sculptures at Prague

Czech Republic Interesting Fact #09: Czech Guards are Europe’s most fashionable ones

The Czech Guard’s uniforms were first introduced in 1990 when the communist regime ended and the first Czech President wanted to differentiate his guards’s uniforms from the generic ones found in neighboring countries.

To do so, he hired a Czech fashion designer called Theodor Pistek and well, the result was a truly amazing one. Are those uniforms pimping or what?

The soldiers of the Czech Republic

The soldiers of the Czech Republic

Czech Republic Interesting Fact #10: There’s more to the Czech Republic than just Prague

Prague is a very popular stop on everybody’s Eurotrip (check out some of Prague’s Best Hostels here) but did you know that the Czech Republic is way bigger than that?

From the amazing landscapes of the Moravia region to the disturbing church of bones found in Kuta Hora, the Czech Republic is a place filled with contrasts.

Things you did not know about Czech Republic

Things you did not know about Czech Republic

Last but not least, don’t forget to use our Booking.com Affiliate Link of Wonders for making hotel reservations.

Same price for you and a small pocket money commission for this website of yours.

Sweet deal, uh?

Have you ever been to the Czech Republic? Got more interesting facts to include? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!

Until next time, my friends!

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16 Responses

  1. karolinapatryk

    Very interesting facts! Especially about president stealing a pen, haha ;)

  2. megan_claire

    Cool facts! I did know that Czechoslovakia ceased to exist ages ago lol had a huge fight with my relatives when I went to Prague over the semantics!

  3. Mytanfeet

    lol they threw people out the window hahaha. They filmed all the Hostel movies in the Czech Republic? Scarryyy!

  4. Claudia Luxembourg

    I did know about Kafka. I thought it was a given. I even knew most of the other facts. The best to me was the scandal of the politician stealing the pen. Maaaan Italian politicians are so much better. That was amateur to say the least!

  5. Alli Blair

    Number 4 and number 6 surprised me! I read tons of Kafka’s stuff in university and yep – always thought he was German!!!!

  6. Antonette Spaan

    I knew about 5 of those, but what helps is that I’ve been to Czech Republic various times. It’s one of my fave places in europe!

  7. The Crowded Planet

    Cool post! Whoever on earth thought Kafka was German? he’s one of my favourite authors ever! I didn’t know the one about the pen, funny because I have a pen-stealing problem myself!

  8. Hannah Logan

    Haha I’ve never heard of Defenestration! Not something I’ll sign up for when I go back through ;)

  9. Jenna

    Interesting facts–we are heading to Prague next spring, and I’m looking forward to it! The art definitely looks interesting. I would love to get out and explore more of the country, but we will only be there for just over a day on a long layover, so maybe next time!

  10. Chris Boothman

    Never visited the Czech Republic but I have to admit that through my ignorance I probably only associated this country with Prague, yet there are clearly many others spots around the country that offer attractions and things worthy of spending your time exploring. Certainly didn’t know many of these interesting facts so thanks for sharing them!

  11. Klara Hajkova

    Hi, my name is Klara and I am from the Czech Republic. I am afraid but have to correct a few things which are presented here as facts:
    #1: Czechs and Slovaks split on January 1st 1993
    #3: The very first defenestration actually happened in 1419. The last “defenestration” in 1948 should not be presented as a fact as nobody really knows what happened that night. Communists say it was a suicide, the others call it defenestration but there is not an actual proof.
    #5: Many Czechs do not find those masks funny at all. Locals are even annoyed with such souvenir shops full of those tragic masks, Russian dolls and textile made in China. I am afraid but this is not the best example of Czech humour. David Cerny is ;)
    #6: Yes, Kafka was Czech. That’s a fact! But if German was simply the most popular language at that time?? Definitely not. Kafka wrote in German because this was an official language of Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Czech language was considered as second language. Therefore I find this fact as the most disturbing one.
    #7: Name of beer is not Pilsen but Pilsner. Pilsen is English version for town Plzen, where this beer is brewed from.
    #8: Name of the artist is David Cerny. The famous peeing fountain consists of two man who don’t pee on each other but in the small pond in the shape of the Czech Republic. And yes, this shows the Czech humour ;)

  12. Tom

    Yep agree with Klara. Except #3. Jan Masaryk either committed a suicide or he was thrown out of a window by somebody else. But even if that was the truth (well it most likely is), it wasn’t a defenestration but murder. The difference is that defenestration is done by an angry mob of people who want to get rid of a public official. It is done publicly. Assassinating somebody by throwing them out of a window secretly (especially in this case when they worked hard to get rid of all the evidence) is murder not defenestration.

    As much as I like the authors intention to say that there is more to find in the Czech republic than just cheep booze and pretty girls, I have to say that his knowledge of our country is a bit superficial ;-)

  13. Ksenia

    Hey, Raphael! Since now I’m living in Prague, let me add some more facts:
    1. Czech Republic is a major car producer in Eastern Europe, it produces more than 1,2 million cars per year.
    2. Czechs are proud of their inventions: they invented contact lenses and refined sugar.
    3. According to statistics, average Czech drinks about 160 litres of beer per year!
    4. The Prague castle is the biggest castle complex in the world.
    5. There are more than 2,000 castles in the Czech Republic.

      • Ksenia

        Hey, Raphael! I’m happy with life here and don’t plan to leave :)) So if you happen to be in Prague, let me know!

  14. Martin Šifta

    Kafka wrote in German because German was his mother tongue. He was born and raised in Jewish German speaking family.