The Czech Republic has borders with Poland in the north, Germany in the west, Austria inhe south, and Slovakia in the east. The country is composed of the historic regions of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as part of Silesia.
The Czech lands came under Hapsburg rule in 1526, and were later incorporated into the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary. With the fall of the Austro-Humgarian Empire in 1918, the independent republic of Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918. After the Munich Agreement, and subsequent German occupation, the disillusion with the lack of response, and then the factor of the liberation of Czechoslovakia by the Red Army, the Communist Party gained in popularity. Following a coup in 1948, Czechoslovakia became part of the Communist Bloc. The Prague Spring of 1968, an attempt at 'Communism with a human face', was ended by a Warsaw Pact invasion, and thr Russians didn't leave until the 1989 Velvet Revolution. On January 1, 1993 the country split into its two constituent parts, becoming the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The Czech Republic has made major economic reforms. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and in 2004 became a member of the European Union. The Czech Republic is a member of the OECD, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group.
Historic, beautiful Prague is of course the primary tourist destination, but other cities, such as the spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně are also popular with visitors, while the romantic castles and chateaux of Karlštejn Castle, Český Krumlov, and those in the Lednice–Valtice area are frequently visited. If it's outdoor activities you're looking for, then Český ráj, Šumava and the Krkonoše Mountains are your destination.
The Black Light Theatre and other forms of puppetry are a particularly Czech form of art which is worth seeing, while of course Bohemian city of Plzeň is a must-visit for fans of the Czech Republic's most famous product.
The history, culture, and beauty of the cities and countryside make the Czech Republic an ideal location for property opportunities, and the relatively prosperous economy, with its focus on foreign investment, makes it even more attractive.
Czech healthcare is generally good and there is a reciprocal agreement with the UK, meaning that UK citizens are entitled to free treatment for accidents or illnesses, though medicines and dentistry do have to be paid for. As in any case, it is recommended that you take out health insurance while on a visit abroad.
The mobile phone networks cover the whole country, though in some rural areas there may be connection problems. The landline network is undergoing modernisation. Internet cafes can be found in all major towns and cities.
Banking hours are 08:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday, though some close early on Fridays. Office hours are generally 08:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday. Some businesses close for holidays in July and August. Shopping hours are 0800 to 1800 Monday to Friday and 08:00 to 12:00 on Saturday, though there are now shops with Sunday or 24 hour opening.
Suits are expected at business meetings, and some knowledge of German is recommended, as especially among older people, it is more common than English.
Tipping, usually five or ten percent, is considered normal, though it is not obligatory.