Ghost Towns in Czech Republic
The Czech Republic was created out of a very romantic sounding Land of the Bohemian Crown as it was known up until the end of the Great War. The Republic of Czechoslovakia was created in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was a mixed bag of peoples and cultures; German, Hungarian, Polish and Rutherian all formed significant minorities but they had little or no political influence.
Hitler seized on this to annex the Sudetenland at the start of World War II and Czechoslovakia became embroiled in the conflict. Towards the end of the war the country was liberated by communist forces who gained their reward with a communist party win in the post war elections. A later coup-d’etat brought closer ties to the Soviet Union and with it repression of minorities and exile of dissidents.
This was a dark era for the country and following the Prague Spring uprising in 1968, a full scale invasion by the Soviet Union violently put down the uprising which had wanted to put a more human face on the ideology of socialism.
Again, troublemakers disappeared and people lived in fear until the Velvet Revolution of 1989.
This gave way to feelings of nationalism in the Slovak population and so the country split into two parts, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Whilst this was a peaceful transformation it led to the mass migrations of ethnic groups between the countries, leaving behind empty villages and towns, especially near the border between the two countries.
Since the split both countries have achieved economic success with the Czech Republic focusing on tourism, especially to the jewel in its crown, Prague.
In recent years the country has been plagued with crime perpetrated by Albanian and Kosovan refugees who have made large areas of the big cities no go areas. Added to this, groups of Roma people have also begun targeting tourists and wealthy locals.
The Czech Republic is acknowledged as a beautiful country where, in the rural areas, life goes on much as it did a century ago in central Europe. The ghost towns rest idly in the flower strewn fields of the countryside, lost in their memories.