10 Interesting Facts You Should Know Before Visiting Prague

Eva Malá  ·  4 / 1 / 2018

Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic (or Czechia if you will) is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the place I call home. Despite traveling the world, I always return here and appreciate its timeless beauty as well as culture, food and other interesting things you can not find elsewhere. Let me share some of those with you.

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1/ The Oldest Active NHL Player

Everybody loves ice hockey in the Czech Republic. Together with soccer, they are arguably the most popular sports here. As soon as a child can walk, their parents take them to ice skating rinks in the cities and to frozen lakes in the villages and teach them how to ice-skate. Every Czech town or a city has its ice hockey team and a huge fan base both of sports lovers and relative so there's no surprise that the oldest active NHL player is Czech, Jaromir Jagr. Jagr as a long time professional has set many NHL records: most career game-winning goals, the only player to play in the Stanley Cup Finals as a teenager and at over 40 years of age as well as many, many others. Jagr is simply one of the most accomplished and popular “heroes” of the Czech Republic.

Fun Facts: “Ice Hockey God” as he´s often referred to is also well known for being a “mama´s boy” (which previous girlfriends have expressed vocally), he has never been married at his age of 45 and he finally got rid of his mullet just a few years back.

 

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2/ The Biggest Metal Horse Sculpture in Europe

Standing tall above Prague´s mighty neighborhood of Zizkov is 9 meters (10 yards) high sculpture of Jan Zizka on a horse. Zizka is considered to be one of the greatest military leaders and innovators of all time and is among the several commanders in history who never lost a battle. His accomplishments are very unique - he had to quickly train peasants to repeatedly face highly trained and armored opponents who usually severely outnumbered his own troops.

Fun Facts: This detailed, the third largest bronze sculpture of a horse in the world was designed by Bohumil Kafka who died before it was unveiled to the public in 1950. A decade later, there was also built the mausoleum of a Communist President of Czechoslovakia Klement Gottwald next to it.

 

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3/ Top Beer Drinking Country

The very first pilsner was produced in Bohemia, today´s the Czech Republic in 1842. Pilsner means Plzeň in German. It is a city in Western Bohemia where the tradition of brewing dates back to 1295. Plzeň is not the only city where you can find a Czech brewery though. There are hundreds if not thousands of breweries in the Czech Republic and new ones are popping up every day. The most famous are already mentioned Pilsner Urquell, original Budweiser Budvar (means České Budějovice city in Southern Bohemia in German) and Prague´s Benedictine Břevnov Monastery with first recorded brewing in 993 AD.

It´s pretty common to consume a beer or two during a lunch by locals, also the tourists are excited about the price (approx. 1.20 USD per a large mug) making the Czech Republic a country with the highest consumption of beer per capita (142.6 litres a year - about 300 pints) in the world.

Fun Fact: Yes, we´ve got a map of some great breweries! Check it out here

 

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4/ World´s Top Vinyl Record Producer

From a dusty communist factory, Mr. Zdenek Pelc has created GZ Digital Media, a company which produces millions of vinyl records yearly, making it the largest vinyl producer in the world! GZ has exclusive rights to produce vinyl versions of Rolling Stones, U2, and others´ albums. You can also find Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse and many other artists in their portfolio.

Fun Facts: In 1983, Mr. Pelc was promoted to Chief Executive of, back then, a communist factory because nobody else was available. Because it was hard to commute, he used to sleep in the office. After the Velvet revolution, he bought the company off an American investor.

 

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5/ ⅓ of World Trams are Czech

The Czech Republic has got one of the best public transportation systems in the world so there´s no surprise, it´s also one of the world´s largest tram manufacturer. Plzen´s Skoda Transportation is the biggest one.

Fun Fact: You can find Czech trams produced by Inekon in Seattle, Portland, and Tacoma, Washington.

 

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6/ The Most Castles per Square Mile in the World

A city, a town, a village - there are castles literally everywhere in the Czech Republic. More than 5,6 mil people visited Czech castles last year which is 600K more than the year before. The most popular castles to visit are traditionally UNESCO World Heritage Sites Prague Castle, Cesky Krumlov Castle, and Lednice.

Fun Fact: The largest ancient castle in the world is Prague Castle.

 

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7/ Czechs are Surprisingly Tall

Despite the geographical size of the country, Czech women are the fourth tallest women in the world and men the tenth. No surprise that plenty of them make it to international sports team or catwalks.

Fun Fact: Nations that consume more pork, dairy, eggs, and fish tend to be taller. And you were making fun of Czech Christmas carp...

 

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8/ Invention of Sugar Cubes

Home Sweet Home, one would say… well, it would have been less sweet without sugar cubes. They were invented by Jacob Christoph Rad, Director of a sugar factory in Dacice in 1843. It was a hit and the new invention quickly spread around Europe.

Fun Facts: The idea to produce sugar in cube form actually came from Rad´s wife Juliana, who cut herself while slicing a standard sugar loaf into smaller parts. She was a very social person and needed lots of sugar for her guests´ coffee and tea. Rad gave her the first box of 350 white and red sugar cubes in 1841.

 

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9/ Soft Contact Lenses and Silon

Otto Wichterle was a Czech chemist and an author or co-author of approximately 180 patents and over 200 publications. Among his biggest and the best-known inventions are soft contact lenses as well as silon, the material used mainly for tights production.

Fun Facts: The only reason why Wichterle was able to travel to the USA under the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia was the fact that some American companies started to copy his patented silon invention. He was granted the permission to travel and stand in front of the court in the 70´s.

 

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10/ One of the Oldest Least Religious Populations in the World

If you have already visited churches in Prague, you might be shocked by learning about the Czech Republic being top 10 least religious countries in the world. Based on the results of three WIN/Gallup International polls only 23% of Czech feel religious. How is that possible?

Well, it all started in the 16th century with the Battle of White Mountain, an important battle in the early stages of the Thirty Years' War when was the religious landscape drastically changed. Czechs were forced to go from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism and became warier and pessimistic of religion as such.

In modern history, communism was supposed to substitute religion. After the Velvet Revolution and fall of communism, most of the population did not see any point in going back into old religious ways.

Fun Fact: The highest percentage of religious people live in small villages under 199 residents, usually in Moravia region.

I hope that you like my list of interesting facts you should know before visiting Prague. If you have other ones on your mind, do not hesitate to share them with us in a comment below.

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The Best of Prague
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