The Czech Republic is bordered by Germany to its north and west, Poland to its northeast, Slovakia to its east and Austria to its south. The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in Central Europe. Its capital city is Prague.
The Czech Republic covers an area of 30,450 square miles and, as of 2014, has a population of more than 10 million people. Its official language is Czech, which is a Slavonic language similar to Slovak. The country is divided into three regions: Silesia, Bohemia and Moravia. Mountain ranges surround the Czech Republic and form its border, with the Hrubý Jeseník in Moravia, Krkonoše in the northeast, the Šumava in the west, and the Moravian–Silesian Beskids. Several rivers, such as the Labe, Morava, Vltava and Oder rivers, flow through the country.
The Czech kingdom began in the Middle Ages and became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after 1867. The Czechs and Slovaks merged to form Czechoslovakia in 1918 after World War I. The country became Communist, with influence from the Soviet Union, after World War II. After the Soviet collapse in 1989, Czechoslovakia was freed from communism during the Velvet Revolution. The Czech Republic and Slovakia formed two separate countries on January 1, 1993. In 1999, the Czech Republic joined NATO and, in 2004, the country joined the European Union.