BASIC FACTS ABOUT THE CZECH REPUBLIC


The State: A parliamentary republic
Location: Latitude between 48 deg. and 51 deg. north, and longitude between 12 deg. and 22 deg. east.
Border Countries: Austria, Germany, Poland and the Slovak Republic
Capital: Prague
Currency: Crown (in short Kc or CZK)
Time Zone: GMT plus 1 hour
Climate: Mild winters and warm summers, with clearly defined spring and autumn seasons. Average temperature in summer is 20 deg. Celsius (68 deg. F.) and in winter -5 deg. Celsius (23 deg. F.).
Holidays: January 1 - New Year's Day
Easter Monday
May 1 - national holiday - Labour Day
May 8 - national holiday - Day of Liberation from Fascism
July 5 - national holiday - The Day of Cyril and Methodius
July 6 - national holiday - Jan Hus burned at the stake - 1415
September 28 - national holiday - The Day of the Czech Statehood
October 28 - national holiday - Czechoslovak Independence Day
November 17 - national holiday - The Day of Freedom and Democracy
December 24-26 - Christmas holidays

Foreign currencies can be freely imported or exported; usually Czech banks offer the best rates of exchange. It is illegal to exchange currency outside the official market. Should you desire to change more than 2000Kc at a time back into your home currency, you must present an exchange receipt from your previous transfer of your home currency into Czech crowns.

Personal effects corresponding in character and quantity to the personal circumstances of the foreign visitor and the length of stay may be brought into the country duty-free. These include up to 250 cigarettes, 2 liters of wine and 1 liter of spirits. Please note that certain items can be taxed if they are bought in the Czech Republic and then taken out of the country. Specific exporting regulations can be obtained from the customs office.

Shop hours: Food shops generally open between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and all other shops usually open between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.; both types close around 6 p.m. Some shops remain open longer and some have extended hours on Thursdays. Most shops close at 12:00 noon on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays. A few department stores have begun to keep extended hours on weekends.

Cuisine is varied. There are hotels and restaurants which offer international cuisine, or you may enjoy typical Czech meals or local specialties. Meat dishes are usually served with potatoes in all forms, dumplings, rice or pasta. For example, a popular Czech meal consists of roast pork with dumplings and cabbage. Cured meats, salads, stewed fruits, a wide spectrum of sweet desserts, cakes and ice cream sundaes are all popular variations of Czech cuisine. The most popular spirits are Slivovice and Becherovka, and of the home-produced beers, Pilsner or Budejovice Budvar (Budweiser). Fruit juices of various kinds, mineral waters and lemonade are also favorites. Fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available throughout the year in Prague.

Telephone numbers for emergency calls are:

Police 158
Fire 150
First Aid 155

Emergency calls are free of charge.