How 'Eastern' is the Czech Republic?
  • I'm waondering how 'Eastern Europe' Prague is... when I think of the Czech Republic, I think of depressing communist architecture and mile-long queues for bread, but Prague sounds pretty first-world. Just curious, but what's the real deal, and is there a big difference between Prague and the rest of teh country?
  • Not a very flattering description, I see. Where are you from ? I guess you are from Europe too, maybe a latin country, maybe even my country. All Czech Republic is a very civilized destination to travel too.
  • The CZ is absolutely fantastic. I just spent 2yrs living there. Prague is chic, modern, upscale in price and definitely "with it". I compare it to Paris for charm & romance. Historically, it is a gem. The people are great, too. "Eastern" is in the past. Do go and enjoy. I would stay at Hotel Chopin or Hotel Pav, near the center. Spend at least 3 days. Do not miss Cesky Krumlov, 3hrs south of Prague. A fairytale town. Better than Rothenberg, Germany! Traveling by Student Agency bus is the best means of getting around. Trains are a little slow.
  • Czech Republic has actually come to be considered "central Europe." It's just terminology of course, but it speaks to the advancements that the country has made. The images in your head are certainly outdated. The queues are gone and the block housing, though still here, has mostly been refurbished like the rest of the city of Prague. It's cleaned up and a tourist mecca at times.

    I concur with Crissy, Prague is certainly a gem and not just for its architecture - culturally too. There is great nightlife in Prague with lots of club options to go with more traditional possibilities like first rate opera and theatre venues. So, I imagine Prague will be a pleasant surprise for you.

    That said, the rest of the country is probably not the equivalent of Prague. The larger cities and towns, yes, but the smaller villages, though charming, can be slow and a bit dilapidated. It's just the nature of society and can be seen in most other countries wherever you go.
  • It's almost as if the iron curtain has shifted significantly east in the last 10-15 years. The Czech Rep has been significantly westernized in recent times.

  • As an Englishman growing up in London in the 1970's and 80's Prague was very 'eastern'. The 'iron curtain' was a great divide between 'us' and 'them'. But after discovering Prague in the 90's and emigrating there in the 00's i have to say that Prague is an incredible place. It has changed a lot the past 20 years. Some things for the better, some for the worse. But overall it is a modern city with it's majestic past protected.
    It has plenty of traditional Czech bars and restaurants, like Rybi Trh,the best fish restaurant, behind the Old Town Square, or u Vejvodu beerhall on Jilska street. But if you need to have a taste of home you will find it. Whether you are Asian, South American, North American, African, Western European or Eastern.
    For my taste it has to be Jama The Hollow on v Jame street (in between Stepanska and Vodickova streets, off Wenceslas Square). Full English breakfast. Magnificent!
    So Prague today mirrors its geographic location---the very heart of Europe and at its crossroads
  • Prague is actually west of Vienna by a long way. The Czechs will tell you this at every opportunity and are insulted/hurt when called Eastern Europeans.
  • Austria and CR are a bit similar. Austria is just slightly richer, that's all. and in some areas, they smile more than the Czech.
    As per the environement, careful. If you like the cosmopolitan life, Prague is not yet up to date. Ok, they're changing and it looks a bit modern but, even for the apartments for instance, I still found numerous ones with the typical "socialist" deco.
    Prague is a lovely town to me, not a real city. And it is full of people from the countryside who think small. Nothing wrong with it but it is just the way it is.
    Workers right : becoz it is cheap, employers kind of don't respect you and treat you as slaves, even more than in WE.
    Some even propose contracts that are a bit cheeky in terms of the duration and renewal. Then, careful again, in some cases, HR have the instruction to not take cvs from employees working in East, or Central as you like, and applying internally for West. Even if you've been there for 10 years, would not change.
    Careers are scarce and the strategy is usually driven from Western country.
    Often, in multicultural environements, you will get no office but a call center, the typical US stuff as biggest employers are US subsidiaries.
    I also saw people being fired quite abusively with not the full compensation to which they shall be entitled. So when you're a foreigner, they try and hope you won't discover your rights. But of course, this legal aspect is not related to Czech people, it is just the way the companies are driven there. Last, be ready to have a job where you are not allowed to think but follow strict and meaningless procedures.
    Am in my early 30's and I think Prague is good if you're a graduate and for a 1st time experience. Otherwise, pretty boring compared to Paris. Let's call a cat a cat mates.
    If you want to relax, go there. People are peaceful and there are lots of greens. A bit of cultural activities but you quickly do them.
    Although there are shops, I still find it difficult to get properly cut meat. They actually export the good pieces to the West, because it would be too low to sell this directly in CR. and fish. There are 4 choices, imported, and it is more than a budget.
    Usually the frutis and vegies are not so fresh but if you cook them, it shall be fine. I noticed some improvement recently though on salads.
    The food is also a nightmare but after meeting brits, it is fine to them. I think it is also genetically modified but this would need to be checked.
    Salary-wise, you can divide it by 2 easily from a French salary.
    As per the clothes, don't expect great fashion. Usually people buy their stuff abroad. It is cheaper and better choice and quality. there is now a lot more choice than even a few years ago but you still have to search quite a lot and compromise.
    If you need help, the medical staff in the hospital can be helpful.
    Expect also a very average service/quality for a high price. Although, if you're a foreigner, they will try to get money out of you quite easily. It happened to me in my beginnings. However, the REAL praguers are very good and nice people. They unfortunately suffer from a hostile non-welcoming image.
    Last, you have to know that people do not fight for their dignity/rights. They rather avoid taking the shit and shut up.
    I have been living in 4 countries and CR is the toughest. Am a woman also, and the mindset is still quite back in time regarding this. Of course, it is changing and you start seeing women working in office at even team leads level but you will quicly notice that most of the higher level jobs available in Prague are hold by expats (the ones with the real expat contract).
    However, mentalities are evolving, like any emerging economy. It is happening little by little. If you come for love, your experience might be different.
  • Well, I don`t think that Czech Republic can be said that it is located in the Eastern part of Europe. More likely to said that is more "Central".
  • I'm a Czech person living in the US and it always bothers me when people refer to Czech Republic as Eastern Europe. Geografically Czech Republic is in the very center of Europe. Communism and division between Western and Eastern Europe is a thing of the past. Communism ended 22 years ago. Throughout the centuries Eastern Europe was the part of Europe where Orthodox Christianity was practiced which was not the case in Czech. On the contrary the kingdom of Bohemia was part of the Holy Roman Empire and Western Europe. So one way or another Czechs are not Eastern Europeans. I just don't know how to tell people here. Most people are so ignorant and think that you're crazy when you tell them about your own country like they know better. Another think I don't like is when people put Czech Republic in the same box with Albanians, Romanians etc. Come on! We don't even live close to these countires.
  • Brno second city in the Czech Republic is fantastic. Buzzy cafe culture, great range of shops, great restaurants, lots of cultural activities - drama, music, ballet, opera. Fantastically beautiful countryside around - limestone karst to the north, flat farmland to the east, wine growing to the south and farms and forests to the west. Above all the people are warm, friendly and laid back. I am a Brit living there.
  • I agree with every word youcoulele described here...It is exact the same experience here...I was living in germany for 5 years ,everybody respected me there although i was working less respectable job there..Here at work czech people are full of irony i have never seen it in my life ..If there is missunderstanding or you don't know something they laughing in your eyes..Music in bars in Brno is so old like they were sleeping for 30 years and woke up now...It is almost unpossible to pick up czech girls here because they pretend being "innocent" here,they wants you call here "1000" times then maybe you gonna go out together, although they fuck after three minutes when they come on holliday in my country Croatia...Years and years everybody know it .. there are many jokes about czech girls...City is nice,food is cheap,beer is the best..but in generally very boring place for living..
  • Youcoulele i dont really agree with you.Czech isnt boring at all and people are really respectful the food is very liked here in UK and their style of fashion is very unique they dont try to look all perfect like they do in UK and USA,Czechs are very secretive and dont really show much of happines due to the style of education and life style,czechs are very welcoming,warm a full of pride.Again about the food in czech is whole different quality.in czecc the meat comes mostly from natural farms not like in UK and USA where the farms mean one big square shelter with windows.Fresh Vegetables are easily found in higher quality shops .Czech is not boring at all because is has lots of bars and nightclubs and night and lots of festivals,camps,zoos,nature activities you just have to look. Czechs dont really like being compared to french as Czechs are more agressive and full of pride where the frenchs are soft and all romantic. And yes i am a czech and im proud of it and i wont let anyone bad mouth my country
  • Czech Republic (why not just call it Czechia or Czecho?) is Western Europe, so is Western Ukraine and the Baltic countries; although the Baltic countries are now considered Northern Europe very much and not Eastern at all. The only real Eastern Europe is Russia, Eastern Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. Now if you take Romania, it is Central Europe and Albania is Southern Europe or South-eastern. Pardon me, Greece would rather be considered Southern or South-eastern Europe and i would also include Finland into eastern Europe or Northern Europe. I am from Lithuania and my country is very often considered Central, Eastern and Northern Europe and sometimes even Western Europe, plus we have a lot of architecture with Southern European style, so we are an All European country. ;-) By the way, Cyprus is actually in Western Asia geographically.
  • I forgot to mention Hungary and Slovakia - Western Europe for sure. Or Central although Hungary could be slightly Southern Europe.
  • Hey this is good thread. Prague is my favorite destination to and I am very much eager to go, there is no logic behind it, it is like I read a nursery rhyme in1st grade on Prague and its civil disorder, since than there is an eagerness in me to visit Prague, which will be fulfilled soon, anyhow this thread speaks a lot about Prague so thank to all of you for sharing this good info.
  • I personaly dont mind if somebody says 'Eastern europe' altrough georgaphicaly it lays in the middle, and in last centry Prague was capital of Europe and centre for of bussiness;-) and there are times and things that i am grateful for being 'eastern european' and proud of! so for example : very peaceful country with low criminality. eastern europeans have very rarely seriar killers, psychopaths. no terorists, no other religiouses or cultural diversity.-czechs are protecting theyr own culture and will never happen that you will see demonstrators screaming ' kill czech Islam atheists' etc.
    unemployment is very low. general standard of living is higher than in West- even low class people can afford to live in normal appartments and afford to go to gym or go to restaurant and get drunk every weekend, get education, get a highly qualified doctors and dentists. no poverty here.
    freedom- away of comunism and away of total democracy. less restrictions - bars clubs open till morning even nonstop.you can smoke everywhere and whatever you want. you can drink whereever you want.
    people not driven so much by materialism and appreciate other values in life-less stresfull place.not judge you by look but by who you are.
    much better quicker traffic.
    here is , as in all other capitals always something to do but yea, those who expecting second London that is 10 times bigger will be dissapointed. its a small city and not good for big carreer and those who are 'too western'.and its a matter of taste. but if you make average money you have quite nice standard of living.
  • I admire the emotions of xxx, he is paying tribute to his homeland, based on facts that are acceptable therefore I will not call this statement as profiling or favor-ism to homeland. Indeed I am very pleased to know about Prague in this detail because I somehow like this city very much and is my childhood inspiration but the facts presented by xxx can be seconded because this is what I have learned for Prague.
  • My guess is that Minsk, Belarus, will be as East European as you can get.

    A
  • Czechs are rude, intolerant,, poor, sly and they abuse alcohol (nay kind not only beer!).
    When I went the with my friends who work in our Hotel I was robbed twice on the bus and at the street, I was attacked by group of skin heads when they heard me speaking English. I was also accosted my many drunk and maybe homeless Czech who hearing speeking me English tried to sell tacky souvenir or tricked me out of money.
    But the climax of mine bad experienced came when I was sold infected vodka in hotel where I stayed.
    I spent 3 days in recovery unit( which was traumatic!) NEVER ever hospital in Czech Rep.
    As mine friend told me afterwards that vodka was mixed with methane and that time there was a big issue in country.
    This all happened in only 2 weeks in September 2012.

    My advice don't go there!!! You may meet someone nice from there but Czech Rep. as country and nation are
    deeply immersed in some kind of hatred and cynicism.


  • to GBR:

    so, at first: it seems to me, your article really wants to create a bad reputation of Czech republic. Nowhere in Prague they would sell you a vodka in hotel these times, because it was strickly forbidden - because of the alarming case of methyalcohol these times. You could maybe bought it at some markets, but again - if you would drink methylalcohol, you would be for sure blind now, as you apparently arent, if you could write such a nonsense.

    Second - Czechs arent rude etc., they just dont welcome people, who are treating them badly in they own contry, so maybe you should first think about your own behaviour and then you will be not surprised about people reactions. In fact, Czech people are smart, lots of them are artists abroad, nearly each second CZ person has university and they welcome tourists with smile and open arms.

    for third: skin heads usually dont attack english people, in some cases they attack gypsy people, but government works on this really hard, so now it willl be really surprising, if anything like this would happened. And homeless people are everywhere, but personally, I think in CZ are not more homeless people than anywhere in the world. And robbers are also everywhere, as you probably know.

    fourth: Hospital. This is apparently your biggest lye. Our hospitals are in a really big grade, we have experts who are doing cardio treatment all over the world and our doctors are working now in UK, America because they are simply good.



    Czech republic and Prague is a great country, with gothic buildings, amazing castle, medieval streets, Prague is not so busy as some cities but really nice and with lots of fantasy - so thats why lots of movies - like Interview with the Vampire or da Vinci Code was shooting here. There´s a lot of pubs and great clubs, lots of restaurants and fashion shops and sightseeing attractions. It could be compared to Paris or Vienna, so Prague is really the place for young people. Plus, we have one of the best universities in the world - FAMU (film making University) and Charles University and theres a lot of people from abroad studying here. So, if you want to visit us, just come here, I promise, you will have an amazing time.

    Janine
  • Hello people!
    I've go t a question about car rentals in Belarus I'm sorry I'm asking it here but you already know the country so.. I want to visit Belarus in this June and have to hire a car foe a family with children in Minsk. I've googled and found several websites but liked this one http://naniko.by anyone used this service? or any other suggestions? thank you in advance
  • none of you knows them? I'm asking about naniko because I've used there service in Azerbaijan from http://naniko.az and they turned out to have good prices and good cars I wondered has anyone used there service in Belarus too? the same cars?

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