In a handful of weeks, our family of five will be taking the giant leap across the Atlantic to settle into a new life in Prague, Czech Republic. We are all very excited about the adventure that is sure to come with life in a new country and a new continent. In addition to the endless physical preparations, we are doing our best to prepare ourselves from within, as well. This week, we went through cultural training, which not only gave us points of cultural differences to prepare for, but also introduced many wonderful aspects of Czech life to look forward to living and experiencing during our time there.
Since I really didn’t know much about Prague and Czech Republic until recently, I’d like to share a few key elements I find interesting.
The Czech Republic is a beautiful, modern country about the size of the state of South Carolina with a population of roughly ten million. The Czech Republic has been a member of NATO since 1999 and of the European Union since 2004, and is bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the East, and Poland to the north. Though the region thrived as an intellectual European center prior to 1948, the government fell to Soviet rule, and Czechoslovakia endured communist regime until 1989. In 1993, Czech Republic and Slovakia split into their respective countries. Amazingly, the Czech people have only been without communism for only twenty years.
Prague, the main Czech city, has long stood as a cultural center for much of Central Europe, hosting artists and musicians and intellectuals for decades. One of my personal favorites, Antonin Dvořák, musician and composer of the New World Symphony and many Slavonic Dances, lived near Prague in the late 1800’s. Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart resided in Prague and found tremendous inspiration there. Today, opera, ballet, and symphony perform regularly in breathtaking opera houses.
With castles and music and arts and natural and societal beauty, our time in Prague is certain to be a culturally decadent experience. As a writer, I know the rich surroundings of Prague and Central Europe will have a profound impact on my life, my living, and my art.