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Czech Czech Czech

As I scour the web to figure out how my son and I should best spend our time in Prague, Vienna and Budapest this coming December, I thought it might be interesting to read up on some little known (at least to me), fun facts about our  upcoming destinations. I like to learn new things every day, and discovering useless trivia tidbits can be quite entertaining. Here are a few notes I came across during my search:

  • Czechs apparently love their beer and consume more beer per capita than any other country in the world with supposedly approximately 43 gallons of beer downed per person per year. Impressive! Since I’ve just recently learned to appreciate a fine pilsner, I likely won’t be able to keep pace with the locals. However, as my son is newly of legal U.S. drinking age and has quickly become a bit of a beer snob, I’m guessing he’ll be able to make up for my shortfall.
  • Prague boasts having the largest castle area in the world, covering 18 acres and including many courtyards and buildings throughout the castle grounds. The castle has also housed a Czech King, a Czech President and a Roman Emperor.
  • More than 6 million tourists visit the Czech capital every year, most of whom are German nationals.
  • The Czech Republic has the most hospital beds per citizen in the European Union, so if Devan or I were to get sick during our vacation, I guess Prague would be the place to do it.
  • Czechs are predominantly of Slavic descent, but many Czechs also claim partial German ancestry, resulting from the country’s thousand years within the Holy Roman or Austrian Empire.
  • There are more than two thousand castles, keeps, and castle ruins in the Czech Republic, one of the highest castle densities in the world, coming in third after only Belgium and France.
  • The Czech Republic is the second richest EU country (highest GDP per capita) after neighboring Slovenia.
  • Prague’s Charles University, founded in 1348, is one of the oldest universities in the world in continuous operation  and is aso the oldest university in Eastern Europe.
  • Moldau is the German name for the Vltava River which runs through Prague.

I can’t verify most of the above random facts I encountered, and there may be some debate regarding the veracity of some of the points… I’m presuming there are some countries which rival the Czech Republic’s beer consumption and compete closely for the distinctive title of the Beer Chugging Capital of the World.  Accurate or not, it will be fun to compare my newly discovered factoids to what we encounter during our upcoming visit to Praha.

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8 thoughts on “Czech Czech Czech”

  1. I hope you have fun. It’s a really interesting time for Czech beer these days. 90% of Czech beers traditionally fall into the lager category, but over the last year or so the microbrewery industry has been coming on strong and we’re seeing a lot of good non lager stuff coming out of smaller operators.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m looking forward to visiting Prague and sampling the lagers. I’m no beer connoisseur, having consumed my first beer just a couple of years ago, but I love learning new things…including learning about local fare during my trips. I can’t imagine a better place to “educate” myself on microbreweries! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did a write up on Czech beer a while back on my blog, perhaps it will help you out a bit:

        http://beyondprague.wordpress.com/czechs-and-czech-culture/food-drink/czech-beer-up-to-the-hype/

        I mentioned Svijany beer in it; unfortunately, that brewery has since been sold into foreign ownership but their product is still OK so far.

        As far as good Czech lagers are concerned; Bernard, Polička, Poutník and Dalešice are all good bets.

        If you want to explore something other than lagers; the Matuška microbrewery makes some good India and American pale ales as well as a quite nice wheat beer.

        Pilsner Urquell is foreign owned these days but still OK.

        Steer clear of Staropramen, Starobrno and Budvar; they were all sold to foreign mega breweries years ago and are nothing special. Most Czechs I know turn their noses up at them.

        Here’s a couple of recent news articles that might interest you and get you up to speed on the current state of Czech beer:

        http://www.radio.cz/en/section/business/czech-beer-market-sees-upsurge-in-small-breweries

        http://www.radio.cz/en/section/business/breweries-banking-on-branded-hostelries-as-pub-sales-of-beer-decline

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