Year of EU entry: 2004 / Capital city: Prague / Population: 10.3 million
The Czech Republic became an independent state in January 1993 after Czechoslovakia split into its two constituent parts. The Czech capital, Prague, is more than 1,000 years old and has a wealth of historic architecture of different styles. Because of this, the city has become a favoured location for many international film makers.
Manufacturing is still a major economic activity, especially the production of cars, machine tools and engineering products. Iron and steel industries are important in Moravia.
Among the famous Czech people are the Art Nouveau artist Alfons Mucha, composers Antonin Dvo?ák and Bed?ich Smetana, and the writer Milan Kundera. Hills and mountains cover about 95% of the country – ideal for skiing, mountain biking and hiking. The Czech Republic produces world-famous beer as well as mineral water from more than 900 natural springs.