The people of the Czech Republic place importance on industrialization, education and modesty, but underneath they have a sense of humor and appreciation for tradition. Learn a few words and phrases in Czech, and communicate with a smile, and you'll find a smile in return.

Czech is the official language of the country, however you will also hear English and German.

The majority of Czechs are atheists. Roman Catholicism and other Christian religions have the largest numbers of church-goers. Different worldwide religions are also represented in smaller numbers.

Customs and traditions are valued by the Czechs, particularly in music and literature. The country has produced a number of outstanding composers and authors, including Smetana, Dvorak, Kafka, Hanka, Havlícek-Borovsky, and Svetlá, to name a few.

Use the typical greeting, dobrý den, meaning good day, and na shledanou or goodbye when you encounter people in shops and restaurants.

Traditional Czech cuisine features hearty meat dishes and soups. Some favorites you'll find on most menus include: bramborová polévka, potato soup; kuřecí polévka s nudlemi, chicken noodle soup; hovězí polévka s játrovými knedlíčky, beef soup with liver dumplings; hovězí guláš s knedlíkem, beef goulash with dumplings; svíčková na smetaně knedlík, beef sirloin with dumplings and cream sauce; smažený vepřový řízek, pork schnitzel; pečené kuře s brambory, roasted chicken and potatoes. And for dessert? Try palačinky, crepes filled with jam or fruit; medovník, honey cake; ovocné knedlíky, fruit-filled dumplings or jablečný závin, apple strudel.

Local libations include pivo or beer, wine, Slivovice or plum brandy and Merunkovice or apricot brandy.

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