Did You Know?

...The sugar cube was invented in the Czech town Dačice in 1843.

...The word "robot" comes from the Czech language (robota = "work", "hard work" in some dialects) 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.

...The soft contact lens was invented in Czechoslovakia by professor Otto Wichterle in 1961.

...Prague is farther to the West than Vienna.

...The synagogue in Plzeň (Pilsen) is the second largest synagogue in Europe and the third largest synagogue in the world.

...In 1985, the Czech engineer Pavel Pavel solved the mystery of the moai statues on Easter Island and explained how they were transported to their current locations.

...The Prague Castle is the largest castle area in the world. Its three courtyards and a number of magnificent buildings cover over 7 hectares (18 acres).

...The word "Czech" is an adjective and therefore should not be used as the abbreviated name of the country.

...The Czech Republic is one of the countries with the highest density of castles in the world.

...The Hethitic language was first deciphered by Czech archaeologist Bedřich Hrozný in 1914.

...The Bata Shoe Organization was founded in Zlín, Czech Republic, in 1894 by Tomáš Baťa and is the largest shoe retailer and manufacturer in the world.

...The town square in České Budějovice is the second largest preserved town square in Europe.

...On March 19, the Josef name day is celebrated in pubs, at workplaces and in households around the country? Josef was once one of the most popular Czech names and March 19 has almost become a national Czech holiday.

...Czech supermodel Petra Němcová landed on the cover of the 2003 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. This was not the first time a Czech was selected for the coveted spot. Both Paulina Porizkova (1984 and 1985) and Daniela Peštová (2000 and also appearing in the 2003 issue) have graced the cover. Photos and more at SI.com Swimsuit.

...Ivana Trump is Czech and was born in Gottwaldov (now Zlín), Czech Republic.


Ice hockey

...The Czech goalie Dominik Hašek (playing for the Buffalo Sabres) 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.

...Czech astronomers have named an asteroid "Dominik" after Dominik Hašek to thank the goalie for his contribution in the 1998 Winter Olympics.

...Jaromír Jágr, a professional ice-hockey player who played for the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins for several years was born in Kladno, Czechoslovakia.

...The Czech hockey team won the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and also won the World Ice Hockey Championship in the following three years (1999, 2000, 2001) and in 2005.


Beer

...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.

...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.

...Václav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic, liked to take visiting politicians to Prague pubs.

...The brewery U Fleků was established in 1499.


Film & Literature

...The Czech film Kolja ("Kolya" in English) won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1996.

...The leading actor of the film Kolja (aside from Kolja himself), Zdeněk Svěrák, is the father of the film's director, Jan Svěrák.

...The Czech film Musíme si pomáhat ("Divided We Fall"), directed by Jan Hřebejk (Jan Svěrák's schoolmate from the Prague Film Academy), was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2001.

...Other Czech/Czechoslovak films that won or were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film are: Obchod na korze ("The Shop on Main Street", won in 1966), Lásky jedné plavovlásky ("The Loves of a Blonde", nominated in 1967), Ostře sledované vlaky ("Closely Watched Trains", won in 1968), Hoří, má panenko ("The Firemen's Ball", nominated in 1969), Vesničko má středisková ("My Sweet Little Village", nominated in 1985), Obecná škola ("The Elementary School", nominated in 1992).

...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.

...The Czech Academy Award winning film Ostře sledované vlaky ("Closely Watched Trains") was based on a novel of the same name written by the Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal whose other works that were made into films include Postřižiny ("Cutting It Short"), Slavnosti sněženek ("The Snowdrop Festival"), Něžný barbar ("Tender Barbarian"), Skřivánci na niti ("Larks on a String"), Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále ("I Served the King of England").

...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.

...The English playwright Tom Stoppard, who received an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love in 1999, was born Thomas Straussler in Zlín, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic).

...The Nobel Prize in Literature for 1984 was awarded to the Czech poet Jaroslav Seifert.

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