Central Bohemia is situated in the middle of Czech Republic. Due to its area, number of urban areas and number of inhabitants this region occupies the first place among Czech regions. Its area covers almost 14% of Czech Republic. The region is divided into 12 districts, which make a ring around the capital, Prague.
The landscape of the region belongs to the Czech Massiv (Cesky masiv), which is one of the oldest parts of the European continent. The topography changes from mainly flatlands in the north along the river Elbe to the highlands in the south and southwest. The highest point of the region is the summit of the Brdy ridge called Tok in the Pribram district; the lowest is the Elbe water level in the Melnik district.
The location of the region has a strong influence on its economical characteristics. Close relations with the capital and the dense transportation network cause the importance of the region to be very high and with many advantages. On the other hand, certain imbalance in the relationship between Prague (metropolis of national importance) and Central Bohemia (Prague outskirts) is obvious and brings disadvantages. This fact, as well as the absence of a county seat as an administrative centre, limits its development to a certain extent. The Prague agglomeration in Central Bohemia, which consists of almost 38 % of urban areas in the area with more than 46 % of inhabitants, creates the background of the capital. The region is a very important source of labour force for Prague; it supports Prague’s industry, supplies Prague with food and offers Prague its potential in the tourist industry and recreation.
The location of the city also had a very important influence on the ungenial demography development of the region in 1990s. While the decreasing tendency in numbers of inhabitants lasts for some 20 years now, because the nativity rate is low and the mortality rate, caused by the age structure of the population, is quite high, the migration balance changed noticeably during the last couple of years. There is such a high rate of immigration in the region that the overall number of inhabitants started to increase – in 2000 by 3,684 inhabitants. The reason for such change mainly constists in the construction of residential areas around Prague. A typical feature of Central Bohemia is mainly the developed agricultural and industrial production.
The agricultural production gains from the perfect natural conditions in the south east of the region. The region excels mainly in vegetable production, growing of wheat, barley, and sugar beet, and in areas closer to Prague fruits, vegetables and flowers are grown. The fundamental industries are engineering, chemistry and food industry. Skoda Mlada Boleslav became a company of national importance. Several important companies also represent glass industry, pottery and printing in the region. The minimum share in the region belongs to textile and clothing industries. Former traditional fields as coal mining, steel industry and boot industry decline in importance.
The region’s share in the Czech GDP increased over the last several years and reached 8.9% in 1999, which placed the region on the fourth spot among other regions. When the GDP is converted to one inhabitant, then the region occupies the 11th place. The unemployment rate is lower than the average values in the Czech Republic when the long-term values are considered. There are big differences in unemployment inside the region mainly affected by the location of Prague. The highest unemployment rate is in Kutna Hora district – four-times higher than in Prague-West district. This district has the lowest unemployment rate. There are many valuable historical sights in Central Bohemia and several protected landscape areas. The highest number of sights can be found in Kutna Hora, which is on the UNESCO list of the world’s natural and cultural heritage. Among the famous strongholds are, for example, Karlstejn, Krivoklat, Cesky Sternberk, Kost and Kokorin. Among the famous castles are Konopiste, Zleby, Kacina, Lany, Nelahozeves and the castle in Melnik. The most valuable landscape area of the region is the protected landscape area CHKO Krivoklatsko, which is on the UNESCO list of biospheric reserves. Other important areas are the Kokorin region, Cesky kras, Cesky raj, and Blanik.