Do you know that France’s official English name is ‘The French Republic’? And Germany’s is ‘The Federal Republic of Germany’? In fact, a lot of countries have two names that are recognised by the UN – their official longer title and a shorter, catchier denomination. The Czech Republic, which was named after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, had yet to confirm an official English shortened name that was universally accepted – until now.
The country has chosen their official short-form and geographic English name and has started campaigning for its widespread use: introducing Czechia (pronounced CHEH-khiya). The country feels this one-word name honours the three distinct and historic regions that make up the land – Bohemia (Čechy), Moravia (Morava) and Czech Silesia (Slezsko).
This means that, while sports teams jackets and beers bottles were once emblazoned with the word ‘Czech’, the unique phenomenon of using an adjective to describe a geographical country will now come to an end. As the Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said to the Czech News Agency: “It is not good if a country does not have clearly defined symbols or if it even does not clearly say what its name is.”
So next time you’re thinking of exploring the worth-the-hype city of Prague or enjoying the sweet poppy seed breakfast rolls known as makový závin, go with “Czechia”. For more information on the new name, including a list of myths and facts regarding it, you can head to the Czechia Initiative website.