June 9, 2017

3082 CZECH REPUBLIC - The map and the flag of the country

Located in Central Europe, between Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland, the Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, includes the historical territories of Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia. The capital and largest city is Prague, on the Vltava river, the main residence of several Holy Roman Emperors, and an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire. Its rich history and its cultural attractions makes it a popular tourist destination, with more than 6.4 million visitors annually (2014).

Czech Republic was born in 1993, and Václav Havel was its first president, but the first state of the westernmost Slavs, Samo's Kingdom (occupying approximately the present territory of Moravia, Slovakia, Lower Austria and Slovenia) was formed in the 7th century, followed by Great Moravia (833-907), Bohemian Principality (870-1198), Kingdom of Bohemia (1198-1348) and Crown of Bohemia (1348-1918).

Since 1526 the kingdom was part of the Habsburg Monarchy, but not as a occupied one, but as part of the empire's core. Actually, between 1583 and 1611 the capital of the empire was Prague. The Protestant Bohemian Revolt (1618-1620) led to the Thirty Years' War. 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 WWI.

The Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in WWII, being liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States. 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. The country remained occupied until 1989. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

The Czech landscape is exceedingly varied. Bohemia, to the west, consists of a basin drained by the Elbe and the Vltava rivers, surrounded by mostly low mountains. Moravia, the eastern part of the country, is also quite hilly, being drained mainly by the Morava River, but it also contains the source of the Oder River. The majority of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic are Czechs (63.7%), followed by Moravians (4.9%), Slovaks (1.4%), Poles (0.4%), Germans (0.2%) and Silesians (0.1%).

Upon the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic kept the Czechoslovak flag while Slovakia adopted its own flag. The first flag of Czechoslovakia was based on the flag of Bohemia, and was white over red. This was almost identical to the flag of Poland (only the proportion was different), so a blue triangle was added at the hoist in 1920. Practically, the flag is formed from an isosceles triangle that extends halfway along the rectangle and two bands: one white and one red.

The coat of arms displays the three historical regions, which make up the nation. The arms of Bohemia show a silver double-tailed lion on a red background. The Moravian red-and-silver chequered eagle is shown on a blue background. The arms of Silesia are a black eagle with the so-called "clover stalk" (lat. perisonium) in her breast on a golden background, although only a small south-eastern part of the historical region (Czech Silesia) belongs to the Czech Republic (the main part is now in Poland).

About the stamps
The first stamp, depicting an Azalea (3.00 CZK), is part of a large series of definitive stamps named Beauty Of Flowers, about which I wrote here.  

The second stamp, designed by Zdeněk Netopil, was issued on September 2, 2015 to honor Sir Nicholas George Winton. Sir Nicholas George Winton (1909-2015) was a British humanitarian who organized the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the WWII in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport (German for "children transportation"). Winton found homes for the children and arranged for their safe passage to Britain.

About the last stamp, depicting the flag of the Czech Republic, I wrote here.

Czech Republic - Wikipedia
Coat of arms of the Czech Republic - Wikipedia
Flag of the Czech Republic - Wikipedia

Sender: Jarmila Kršková (Postcrossing Lotery)
Sent from Prague (Prague / Czech Republic), on 23.05.2017
Concept by Postcardsmarket - Flags of the World series

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