Czech Republic. Hosting three very influential cultures, the history of the Czech Republic is one of constant struggle. Formerly part of the Holy Roman Empire, the land was taken by communism during WWII and subsequently has settled its place amongst the top democratic societies of the world. Ranking 28th in the Human Development Index, this region is an incredibly progressive melting pot of cultures (Eastern European, Jewish, and Slavic). Featuring numerous castles, gothic cathedrals, and other medieval architecture, there is something to see for everyone.
Boasting one of the most diverse geographies in Europe, there is no shortage of rolling plains, sprawling woodland, flowing rivers, plateaus surrounded by low maintains, and cozy valleys. The landlocked country is naturally connected to the rest of the world, with three rivers emptying into the North Sea, Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea. The awesome power of trade these lands provide is no doubt responsible for the area being heavily contested throughout history.
It is also said to be responsible for the myth of the Vampire, as archeologists have found odd grave sites that bore fundamental differences from your standard cemeteries of the time. The residents of the day buried these men with stakes in their hearts, decapitated the corpse, and even went so far as to keep the burials separate from consecrated land.
Of course, being occupied by so many multi-faceted cultures, there are plenty of gourmet foods to be explored! From Medovnik (a flaky multi-layered “pie”) to sauerkraut, Obložené Chlebíčky (Czech finger food), a litany of pastries, traditional Goulash, and of course the famous fruit filled, sweet dough wrapped Kolaches. A landscape riddled with charming bohemian villages, birthplace of the Pilsener beer, host to the fantastic spectacle that is Prague, you won’t want to leave anytime soon!