Discover the beauty of the Czech and Slovak Republic

4. 3. 2023
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As you have already noticed, this year LIGS is traveling around the world visiting the homes of our students. This month we have chosen the heart of Europe - the Czech and Slovak Republics. And why are we traveling to not one, but two countries of the European Union? Let's first take a quick, but really quick, look at the history and it will become clear. 

The Czech Republic and Slovakia are two countries that for 74 years formed one state - Czechoslovakia. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia ceased to exist and 2 separate republics were born - the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. For example, did you know that Czech and Slovak are so similar that native speakers from both countries can easily understand each other? Or how much both countries appreciate their national winter sport - yes you guessed it, it's hockey!

 

Praha

 

So come along with our Slovak and Czech students and take a look at the beautiful countryside, cities full of castles and chateaus, as well as places full of good food and wine!

What places shouldn’t be missed while visiting Czech or Slovakia?

 

The Czech Republic and Slovakia are countries rich in beautiful nature and urban architecture. As the saying goes, Prague is blissful. History lovers (Prague Castle, Malá Strana, Vyšehrad) and people who like modern architecture (Dancing House, Golden Angel) will find a lot to like there. Not forgetting the great hipster places like Lennon's Wall and the huge greenery and parks.

Our students recommend visiting Prague, Brno, Český Krumlov, Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic), and Bratislava or Košice (Slovakia).

 

  • Castles and chateaux: Spis Castle, Cerveny Kamen Castle, or Lubovniansky Castle are definitely worth mentioning. In the Czech Republic, it would be the Lednice Castle.

 

  • And museums? The Slovak National Museum and the Aeronautical Museum in Košice have great exhibitions. In Prague, it is worth seeing the National Gallery or the Agricultural and Technical Museum. 

 

  • Are you a nature lover? Then you should definitely not miss the Slovak High Tatras and the Czech Adršpach-Teplice Rocks. The LION nature reserve in Slovakia is also worth mentioning. 

 

And further afield? 

''Personally, I love Cesky Krumlov and when a visit to the sights is combined with the annual music festival, I am sure that every visitor will try to return to this unique and magical place again. In natural beauty, I can point to the Harrachov area, where for a little effort tourists will be rewarded with the surrounding beauty and purity of nature. Places such as Mumlava waterfall, Vosecka bouda, the sources of the Elbe river, or Labská bouda (intentionally not continued, because many places in the western Giant Mountains are worth seeing at least once,'' recommends one of our Czech students."

"I like the clean and beautiful nature in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.''


What is the truth about Slovaks and Czechs understanding each other’s languages?

 

Do they understand each other or not? Mostly yes, depending on the generation. Do you know of other languages where the similarity is so great that native speakers understand each other? Linguistically gifted people can understand Slovenian or Croatian, for example. 

 

  • ''We can understand each other, but more so the adult population, children don't understand each other as much.'' 
  • ''The younger generation has a problem understanding, but those of us who grew up on Czechoslovak fairy tales and films understand without any problems.'' 
  • ''Both languages are very similar, we understand each other to a large extent.''
  • ''For my generation, it's not a problem, but for my children, I feel that they have a problem understanding Slovak.''

 

Bratislava

 

And now a tricky question. We asked our students how they would describe a Czech and a Slovak in three words and these were their answers:

 

  • Slovak - hospitable, helpful, modern.
  • Slovak - kind-hearted with a big heart.
  • Czech - Cool, open, helpful
  • Czech - Funny, kind, and smart
  • Czech - Eternally dissatisfied person

 

As you can see, one man's opinion. I would like to add that Czechs and Slovaks, but especially Czechs, are known for their particularly dark humor. As a nation, we can create a joke out of even the worst situation. 

 

You definitely have to try this!

 

Czechs and Slovaks are very proud of their culinary skills. You meet a Slovak and he will tell you that you definitely have to try Halusky with bryndza or pirohy. And a Czech? He can't get enough of fried cheese in a bun, schnitzel, or goulash. 

 

This is what we Czechs and Slovaks can't afford.

 

Oh, the nature, cleanliness, and water - the things that came up most often in our questionnaire form when we asked students what they appreciate most about their country. And what was the next most common answer? Opportunities for career development, living with dignity or history, and feeling safe. And what describes both of our nations? The ability to come together in the most difficult of times. 

 

The political culture and the forgetting of recent history

 

Even small countries like the Czech Republic and Slovakia have their downside. When we asked our students what they thought could be better. They often answered the mindset of the people, political culture, less corruption, and general responsibility of the society. However, they believe that they can change most of these things themselves. They just must not forget recent history - unfortunately, both nations like to do that. 

Finally, let's throw in one more interesting fun fact. Did you know that the founders of LIGS University are from the Czech Republic? No? Well, now you know.

 

Lennonova zeď

 

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