Czech RepublicCzech RepublicCzech RepublicCzech RepublicCzech Republic

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is the most geographically central state in Europe. It has played a central role throughout the past century in the different power-struggles that have played out in the heart of Europe. One can spend two amazing weeks along nearly 800 km long Czech-Bavarian-Austrian stretch of fully signposted ICT route learning about Central European history, culture and nature. Several kilometer wide Green Belt is in Central Europe an omnipresent element of the EuroVelo 13. The more than 500km long route cuts through 4 Czech regions – Carlsbad, Pilsen and South Bohemia, South Moravia. The EuroVelo 13 in Czechia offers unspoiled nature (NP Šumava/Bayerischer Wald, Podyjí/Thayatal. Český les, Šumava, Nové Hrady mountains, Bohemian Canada and Palava hills, Ohře, Vltava and Dyje rivers, biosphere reserve Lower Morava, mineral springs etc), rich culture (numerous ICT monuments and museums, Lednice-Valtice UNESCO area, spas, castles and chateuax and historic towns, wine growing regions etc.) together with colorfull history. Vítejte!
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In many sections the fully signposted  Iron Curtain Trail (ICT) in Czechia uses the former military road that was built along the entire communist border in the 1950s and 1960s and that is currently traffic free. The ICT was guarded during the communist regime by military patrols with military vehicles using military roads that were built along the border. In Valtice there is an IC museum in the former border station and near Mikulov you will cycle past impressive monument to the I victims !Gate to Heaven" and along the Freedom trail with stories abou successfull or less successful attempts to escape the communist regime. In South Moravia, the wine growing region past regional center and historic town Znojmo you will enter the Podyji National Park with the meandering river Dyje/Thaya and a preserved 350m long stretch of the  Iron Curtain with barbed wire, watch tower and military road. Past Slavonice in South Bohemia you can encounter another relic of the Iron Curtain at Kadolec or the open air fortification system MAS and a newly founded museum in town of Nové Hrady. Past Lipno lake the trail follows the Schwarzenberg canal, which was used for delivery of timber and wood. An amazing but challenging journey is expecting you in Šumava National Park (Bohemian forest). Already in Pilsen region you can visit once divided train station in Železná ruda/Bayer.Eisenstein. In the north another mountainous area, Ceský les, is probably the least populated area with few services on the Czech side. The IC museum in Rozvadov and Czech-German monument of cutting the barbed wire nearby are relics of the time. The section of EuroVelo 13 in Carlsbad region offers a mix of forested areas with world famous spa towns Mariánské and Františkovy lázně with numerous mineral springs. Near the larges town on EuroVelo 13, the historic town of Cheb on Ohře river, you can visit the monument to victims of IC near Svatý kříž.

Czechia is the most geographically central state in Europe. It has played a central role throughout the past century in the different power-struggles that have played out in the heart of Europe.

Until shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the two modern states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia formed the single state of Czechoslovakia. It was not until 1992 that the Czech Parliament decided to split it into two. Originally, Czechoslovakia was made up of Bohemia, Moravia and Moravian Silesia, Slovakia and – until 1939 – Carpathian Russia. In 1921, this multiethnic state had a population of around 9 million Czechs and Slovaks, 3.1 million Germans and large minorities of Magyars, Russians, Ukrainians, Jews and Poles. Until 1945, the majority of the inhabitants of the Sudetenland were German. The official languages were Czech and Slovak. 

The state of Czechoslovakia was born from the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I, when the Allies also supported the Czech and Slovak movements for national selfdetermination. The new state was proclaimed in Prague on 28 October 1918. In the mistaken assumption that this would satisfy Hitler’s expansionist interests, the Munich Conference (1938) accepted the annexation by Nazi Germany of areas with a majority of German population (Sudetenland). Under the Vienna Awards, the southern part of Slovakia and the Carpathian part of Ukraine went to Hungary. The Teschen area was annexed by Poland. In breach of international law, German troops occupied what was known as ‘rump Czechoslovakia’ in March 1939 and placed it under German administration as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. 

The Soviet Union and other Communist states however put a violent end to the so-called “Prague Spring”

After the end of the war in 1945 the Czechoslovakian Republic (ČSR) was re-established within the pre-World War II borders, except for Carpathian Ukraine, which became part of the Soviet Union. Henceforth, however, it was no longer an entirely sovereign state. As a member of the Warsaw Pact and of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance it came under the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union on the other side of the Iron Curtain and was cut off from developments in Western Europe.

In 1968 Alexander Dubček, the First Secretary of the Communist Party, attempted to create “socialism with a human face”. The Soviet Union and other Communist states however put a violent end to the so-called “Prague Spring”, in what was to become a worldwide symbol of the brutality of Soviet rule over Central and Eastern Europe. Yet that only temporarily broke the resistance. A civil rights movement under the name of Charter 77, led by the writer Václav Havel, again stood up against the regime. In 1989, after Mikhail Gorbachev’s calls for the Soviet Union and its sphere of influence to become more open, the resistance grew, taking the form of day-long protests, which finally forced the Communist government to resign.

Václav Havel was elected first President of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (ČSFR) that lasted from April 1990 to the end of 1992. Then, however, clear conflicts of interest emerged  between the Czech and Slovak ethnic groups. In 1992, without holding a referendum, Parliament announced the partition of the country.

After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the two states, now going their separate ways, underwent a period of economic and cultural revival. In 1999 the Czech Republic joined NATO, followed in 2004 by Slovakia. That same year both states also became members of  the European Union.

Similarly to the German section of the trail, the border area is rich in biodiversity. From the Moravian Karst to the Lynxs of the Sumava national park, there are many treasures to see along the itinerary!

National information
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    Cycle friendly services in the Czech Republic

    Accommodation, restaurants, camping sites and tourist destinations for cyclists indicates smiling bike in sign of certification Cyclists welcome.

    Electronic maps / GPS tracksPrinted materialCycle friendly services (accommodation, cafes, restaurants etc.)

    available in en / de / cs

    http://www.cyklistevitani.cz/Vypis-vyhledavani.aspx?lang=en-US

  • German border - Slovakian border

    EuroVelo.cz

    EuroVelo.cz the national Czech portal on 4 EuroVelo route in the Czech Republic with route description, certified services „Cyclists Welcome“ along these routes, access to the route by public transport and main attractions.

    Route descriptionElectronic maps / GPS tracksPrinted materialPublic transport connectionsCycle friendly services (accommodation, cafes, restaurants etc.)Points of interest / attractions etc.

    available in en / de / cs

    http://www.eurovelo.cz/EuroVelo/EuroVelo-v-CR/EuroVelo-13.aspx?lang=en-US

  • German border - Slovakian border

    Public transport information

    National web site with information on train, bus and public transport connections and travel with a bicycle in the Czech Republic.

    Public transport connections

    available in en / de / cs

    http://www.idos.cz/

  • German border - Slovakian border

    Czech Railways

    Web site of the national train company Czech Railways (České dráhy) with information on taking bicycles on trains in the Czech Republic.

    Public transport connections

    available in en / de / cs

    https://www.cd.cz/en/

  • Aš - Poštorná

    CzechTourism

    Official web site of the National Tourism Authority Czech Tourist

    Route descriptionElectronic maps / GPS tracksPrinted materialPublic transport connectionsBookable offersPoints of interest / attractions etc.

    available in en / fr / de / it / sp / cs / pl / pt / ru

    http://www.czechtourism.com/