Czech Wonders and Rarities

Travel Tips — By Jacy Meyer on November 25, 2010 at 4:47 am

The Czech Republic is a fascinating country, full of little known gems. Inventions, people and history have all combined to make our little nation a special place indeed. Fill your head with these talking points before your trip, or amaze your friends and family upon your return with your knowledge of intriguing, but useless tidbits of information!

And what would be some of these little known gems? Did you know the first grounded lightning conductor in the world was invented by a Czech priest, the physicist and engineer Prokop Diviš? Or what about the contact lens? Yep, you can credit your spec-free existence to Czech Otto Wichterle.

There are more than 2000 castles scattered across the Czech Republic, most resembling chateaus more than fortress-like protection sites. Widely known as the Stone of Love (or as our sources informed us) the garnet is the country’s mineralogical symbol. If you’d like to take a lovely ring, necklace or earrings home, one of the best (and most trustworthy) shops is Granat. Czech Cubism, a totally unique design school that emerged in Prague around 1910 considers edges and spaces to be important elements of its buildings and art. Learn more at the Czech Cubism Museum.

The third largest bronze equestrian statue in the world can be visited on top of Vitkov Hill. Medieval military leader, whose claim to fame is he was never defeated, Jan Zizka is seen sitting astride his war horse. It took 68 years to design, build and complete. And who can forget that most well-known Czech creation (kinda) BEER! Pilsner Urquell, the world’s original lager was created in 1842 in Plzen by brewer Frantisek O. Poupe.

Photos courtesy of CzechTourism and the National Gallery Prague

Tags: history, people, trivia