Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Protestant Bohemian Revolt (1618–20) against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War, after which the monarchy consolidated its rule, reimposed Catholicism, and adopted a policy of gradual Germanization. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the Austrian Empire and the Czech language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic nationalism. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, which was formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I.
The Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, and was liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States. The Czech country lost the majority of its German-speaking inhabitants after they were expelled following the war. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections. Following the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and a multiparty parliamentary republic was formed. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004; it is a member of the United Nations, the OECD, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe. It is a developed country with an advanced, high income economy and high living standards. The UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development. The Czech Republic also ranks as the 6th most peaceful country, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance. It has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union.
Sites listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List:
- Historic Centre of Prague (1992)
- Historic Centre of Český Krumlov (1992)
- Historic Centre of Telč (1992)
- Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora (1994)
- Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of Saint Barbara and the Cathedral of our Lady at Sedlec (1995)
- Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape (1996)
- Holašovice Historical Village Reservation (1998)
- Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž (1998)
- Litomyšl Castle (1999)
- Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc (2000)
- Tugendhat Villa in Brno (2001)
- Jewish Quarter and St. Procopius' Basilica in Třebíč (2003)
According to Czechtourism is Prague called City of a Hundred Spires, a UNESCO monument and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Old Town Hall with the famous Prague Astronomical Clock. The winding lanes of the Jewish Quarter, which you know from the novels of Franz Kafka, steeped in the legend of the Golem. Cafes enticing you to come and have a seat, boutiques and sight-seeing cruises on the Vltava. The Gothic Charles Bridge and Church of St. Nicholas in the Lesser Town, the most beautiful Baroque church in Prague. The Palace Gardens set away from the bustle of the city, Petřín with a lookout tower reminiscent of a small Eiffel Tower and Prague Castle… Each of Prague’s districts has its own characteristic atmosphere and unique charm. Prague presents itself to you as a changeable city, which likes to alternate styles: it is romantic and successful, ancient and modern, but above all it is a city that is cosmopolitan through and through, and is used to welcoming foreigners.