The previous century was a time of abundant changes. To live in early 20th-century Poland was to be stuck in the middle of a diverse society with influences from at least three different cultures - with multiple differing languages. This is where Ludwik Zamenhof comes in.
"Vienna for lunch, Venice for dinner... and Dubrovnik for breakfast," contemplate Mr. and Mrs. Connor Roy in the latest episode of "Succession" about a possible stay in Slovenia. However, once they see what the country has to offer, we think they'll want to stay closer to their Ljubljana base for their three square meals.
Every year, the inhabitants of Vlčnov pick a young boy who will become the King for that year. And like any other King, he must ride through the town with his knights. Vlčnov Kings has done so for the last 200 years, and there are no signs of stopping.
Lithuania is one of the few European countries where football does not reign supreme. There are many reasons for this, but the most important is that basketball here has always been closely related to its historical ups and downs.
Medieval Polish historian Jan Długosz once claimed that trees in the Roztocze Forest turned to stone just a few years after death. The reality is just a bit more complicated.
Playwright, poet, musician, teacher, traveler, philosopher, inventor, scientist, criminal, and sportsman. This is just a short list of what Jára Cimrman was in his lifetime. Too bad he never lived.
On May 24, Bulgaria is set to celebrate its biggest national holiday dedicated to the saints of the Bulgarian alphabet, education, culture, and of the Slavonic literature. We asked five Bulgarians working with words on an everyday basis to give us their favorite distinctively Bulgarian words.
A 120-year-old Polish book about people in space was supposed to make one of the most important Polish movies. Instead, it turned into decades of vicissitudes with peculiar effects.
The hot dispute about a gas connection from Russia to Germany took an unexpected turn during the 2008 Architecture Biennale in Venice when Estonians made a simple installation instead of their national pavilion.
Vilhelms Purvītis laid the foundations for Latvian landscape painting. His emotive works capture the fragile beauty of nature throughout the seasons in unrivaled detail. Still today, he is a revered cultural figure.
In Central Europe, the acceptance of traditional EU policies is high. The situation is already different in Western European countries. These two trends will determine the future of the EU.
This may come as a surprise, but Bulgaria was once a computer superpower. Well, at least behind the Iron Curtain. It was all thanks to the genius of Ivan Marangozov, a flute player turned computer engineer credited with the creation of Pravetz, Bulgaria’s first computer.
With the advent of modern science, there also came modern detectives. One of the first was Juan Vučetić, born in Hvar, Croatia, who pioneered dactyloscopy and was the first person in history to identify a killer based on a bloody fingerprint.
For years, the residents of Pernik, a city of 70,000 near the Bulgarian capital Sofia, have been a subject of countless jokes told about them. What started this endless trove of jokes and how are the people of Pernik fighting back?
For centuries, generations of Bulgarians have resorted to a trove of proverbs and saying with clear negative undertones. Why is their pessimism still around?
It's that time of the year again. In the second half of May, main streets in big cities and small towns across Bulgaria turn into a catwalk. But no, this is not Bulgaria Fashion Week.
Ten years, ten editions, and over 100,000 visitors. These are the stats of Central and Eastern Europe's most influential comic book convention in numbers. But what does it like behind the doors?
Not technically a mountain, but a hill in central Poland is a souvenir after the Christianization of the country. It is symbolized even in the hill's coexisting two names: Witch Mountain and Holy Cross.
A 200 kg stone with curious inscriptions found in Canada's Nova Scotia has scientists and historians wondering if perhaps this stone bears proof that a Hungarian set foot on North American soil centuries before Christopher Columbus.
Anastasia Soare fled communist Romania in search of her “American dream.” The road to success was paved with obstacles and hardships, but the Romanian-born Anastasia never gave up on building her beauty empire.
The Czech population is gradually aging, and pension reform is nowhere in sight. Will the state be able to cope with the wave of pensioners, or will the title of the Cohen brothers' film apply: "No Country for Old Men"?
The history of Central Europe is one that weaves together stories of countries and peoples, present and past, drawn to these lands. Among them, Czechia has its own. Ready to hear it?
In a somewhat strange custom, Polish movies are interpreted by a single voiceover speaker instead of the more typical dubbing. The most famous lectors have become omnipresent celebrities, even announcing subway stations and giving directions in Google Maps.
As you take in the extraordinary sights of the country, especially the city of Dubrovnik, it's easy to see why film crews from massive productions like "Star Wars" and "Game of Thrones" have chosen to shoot some of their most most meaningful scenes here.
Romanian motifs and symbols are recognizable around the world. The traditional outfits, bright and intricately embellished, are even inspiring big fashion houses like Yves Saint Laurent and Dior.
In the 13th century, Lake Peipus in Eastern Estonia was a site of a major battle between the Livonian Order and the Republic of Novgorod. It was a medieval show on ice, as the action happened on a frozen lake.
Cyberpunk 2077, a Triple-A class title, created by Polish company CD Project Red, has become a worldwide success with over 14 million copies sold. It’s only one of a number of titles created by companies in the 3Seas region taking the world by storm.
Czech artist and sculptor David Černý is seen by many as a controversial figure. This controversy goes beyond Czechia, as does his art. His “Black Babies” invaded Prague, his “Golem” Poznan, and his “Bus” London.
The dunes, the heat, and the desert lifestyle is not something we necessarily connect with Poland. Let alone Polish people living at the turn of the 18th century. Yet Polish history has a mark left on it by its own personal, real-life Emir!
You may have heard of the somewhat controversial and much-disputed art movement called Dadaism. But do you know what it is? What does “Dada” mean, and what does Romania have to do with it?
People across the countries of Central Europe embrace the spring by celebrating their nearest and dearest – parents, in a series of more or less official holidays. What are the dates to look forward to?
A man of many talents, Raimonds Pauls is best known for his work as a composer and pianist. Fast approaching 90 years of age, the acclaimed Latvian musician still performs, charming audiences with his catchy melodies.
The Medieval Wieliczka Salt Mine in southern Poland has many wonders. If a one-day visit is not enough for you, feel free to go on and just spend the night in the underground hostel.
It was to rule the waves and lead the Austro-Hungarian Kriegsmarine to victorious battles. Alas, it was sunk by a small torpedo. The first and last Hungarian battleship's fate is also linked to the story of a certain Polish invention.
The 1960s cinema saw two great films set amidst the backdrop of ancient Egypt. One was the famous 1963 American production "Cleopatra". What was the other?
Although his colleagues, such as Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe, are more remembered today, Šibenik-born Fausto Veranzio can be credited with many inventions, including the suspension bridge, parachute, and wind turbine - all in the 17th Century.
The true career of a Roman legionnaire, Saint Florian, was launched over a thousand years after his death when it turned out that, even though deceased for centuries, he had been doing miracles as a Krakow firefighter.
Florentina loved to be in the spotlight, but even more than that, she loved being in the laboratory studying chemistry and nuclear physics. And unlike in the cinema world, she did not need spotlights to shine - her talent and hard work were enough to have all eyes on her.
The Estonian city home to the University of Tartu has had multiple names and belonged to numerous countries. Despite the constant change, the university has managed to turn its varied heritage into a positive, now known internationally for its high level of education and openness to forward-thinking academic pursuits.
Active at the beginning of the 20th century, Teodor Talowski was the genius behind several buildings in Cracow that, though built from scratch, look as if they were centuries old with a history of being partly demolished and rebuilt. And every one of them has a story to tell.
Businessman, Olympic athlete, or polar explorer. All of them are dressed by Czech companies. And as the old Czech song says: "It's an age-old truth, clothes make the man."
Croatia’s Višnjan Observatory is the most successful in the world when it comes to looking out for asteroids that could possibly crash into Earth.
On a May day some 250 years ago, Poland declared its first-ever constitution. Along with the communist-propagated Labor Day, also in May, the celebrations for two long and storied traditions give just the right excuse for majówka - extended spring celebrations.
One of Romania’s most alluring monasteries is not known just for its beauty. The fascinating frescos painted in this unique, bright shade of blue, called Voroneț blue, have amazed an entire world. The color mix is still a mystery to this day.
The fall of the Soviet Union seemed like a miracle for those that lived through the 70s and 80s. Many people could not believe what was happening until it happened – on 11 March 1990, Lithuania declared independence.
In 1937 Walter Zapp developed the Minox subminiature camera, a boon to real-life 007s across the world. His invention opened up the possibility of quickly and covertly smuggling countless thousands of pages of secret materials out from behind enemy lines.
Polish woodworkers in the colony of Virginia were skilled in producing materials for shipbuilding but were not allowed to vote in the colony's first election. So they went on strike, and they won.
As the only Orthodox Latin country and the only one located so far east from the cluster, Romania is often referred to as a "cousin" of the Romance family. How close is Romania to its Latin roots, and how much was it influenced by the Slavic and Balkan culture?
How long did it take until Bulgaria found its current location in southeastern Europe?
On April 24, known as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, Armenians in Bulgaria will pay their respects to the victims of the systematic murder of up to 1.5 million Armenians, which took place in the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century.
Modrotisk, or Blueprinting, is an old Czech craft passed on by generations since the 16th century. It may look easy: printing white ornaments on blue fabric. But it is far more complicated than that.
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! I wonder why he does. Perhaps because the honey of Polish forest bees has, for centuries, been cherished for its superb quality. Judge for yourself!
Yes, there is a way to measure it - many, actually, depending on who is doing the assessment. For many years now, whenever standards of living are measured, Vienna has managed to snag one of the top spots.
As mezcal famously has its worm, this Polish vodka gets its specific yellowish tint from a straw of grass, the same that feeds bison in Eastern Poland.
The question was popped, and the answer is yes. Now what? For many Bulgarian brides-to-be, this question has an easy answer, at least when it comes to finding a bridal gown. It involves a road trip to Asenovgrad, a town in the south of Bulgaria.
Yes, the Austrian Post has a special stamp that says "Missent to Austria" for Australian packages. One recent package was finally delivered with five such stamps all lined up in a nice row.
Born in Austria and Raised in Estonia, this czarist officer ended up as a self-appointed anti-communist Mongolian leader; his story is mind-boggling.
Would you turn yourself into the cops for a good night's sleep? In Ljubljana, you can skip the drastic measures and still hide behind bars for a few peaceful hours of rest in this prison-turned-hotel in one of the city's most trendy districts.
Despite being part of only one episode of “The Simpsons,” a 19-second show-within-a-show became legendary. Few people know that the inspiration for it came from an Oscar-winning animated short from Zagreb.
A small pyramid in northeastern Poland holds the final resting place for several members of a wealthy family. But to some it's a places as mysterious and mystical as the pyramids of Egypt.
It is well known that any traditional Romanian family usually has eggs on its Easter table. However, some take this tradition to the next level, adorning them with an unexpected accessory.
Look closer at this monument in a village in southern Bulgaria, and an inevitable question arises. Why is Prof. John Atanasoff, the American-born scientist credited with the invention of the first electronic digital computer, being honored here of all places?
The premiere of the new season of the Bulgarian edition of "The Bachelor" quickly revealed that many of the women fighting for the heart of the man in the spotlight have one thing in common: an affinity for injectable facial treatments and plastic surgery. What makes Bulgaria a special case when it comes to beauty enhancement?
We bet you're familiar with the famous sailor who gets superhuman strength from downing cans of his ever-present favorite snack - spinach. Generations of people are. However, not everyone knows that he was based on a real person.
When it comes to Easter traditions that might get lost in translation, Czechia and Slovakia have a solid example. In many villages throughout both countries, it is an Easter Monday custom for boys to spank girls with braided whips. Women can even return the "favor" with presents.
Pioneering female architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky may have stayed close to the stereotype by choosing not to focus on designing monumental architecture but rather on a kitchen laboratory. Nonetheless, her designs started a revolution.
Perhaps nothing illustrates the diversity of Central Europe better than the richness of its languages. The perfect example is the way the region's countries approach naming the Easter holiday. The diversity is quite telling.
The A.S. Bytom Funeral Home found a thousand ways to ridicule the fear of death. It’s among the most prevalent Polish memes on the internet, and thousands perhaps still believe (or hope) it exists.
Only one wall remained of this work of medieval architecture as sea encroached on its foundations. Then people joined the struggle and saved the remnants.
Who is Romania's most skilled neurosurgeon – and the most internationally admired for his abilities and heart of gold? The story of Europe's best surgeon, who often operates free of charge, is quite phenomenal.
Although now widespread in the Anglo-Saxon world, "egg tapping" very likely has ties to Central European Easter customs.
Several locally famous families participate in a peculiar contest for the tallest Easter palm each year.
Have you ever wondered to whom you owe the fact that you can write every day with that tool that you call a pen? The answer might just surprise you.
Are Central and Eastern Europe destinations underrated? What must-see European places are located here?
Ever wondered what a fish presumably as old as dinosaurs would look like? Or if there are any alive? And if so, where? The answer to these questions can all be found in the Asprete, the specimen believed to be Europe’s rarest freshwater fish.
An innovative student project aimed to bring Brno online, and it succeeded. Not only can you roam the city, but you can also build in it! All thanks to a group of students and Minecraft.
In Kruszyniany, a small village in northeastern Poland, you can still experience the culture (and even cuisine) of the Tartar. Steppe Warriors were introduced as a lethal weapon against heavy German cavalry. The last Tartar families integrated into a colorful mix of cultures and religions along the eastern borders of Poland.
Almost everyone knows Michael Jackson's 1980s worldwide smash hit song "Smooth Criminal", but slightly fewer people know how a cover of this song brought viral fame to two cellists. So how did 2CELLOS become a world-famous musical sensation from Croatia?
The story feels like a Hollywood movie script: a trained miller-turned-composer inspires musical master Mozart. This is the story of a man who was nicknamed Il Divino Boemo – The Divine Czech.
Every Czech child knows Mr. Spejbl, his son Hurvínek, and their dog Žeryk. What does it matter that they are puppets? Their humor has entertained generations and will, no doubt, entertain more to come.
Hidden among the calloused patches of the evergreen forests or in plain sight, these eight UNESCO-recognized wooden churches stand tall – quite literally - as symbols of faith and determination, emblems of architectural artistry and historical resistance.
A new adaptation of a classic Polish-novel-turned-cult-film was just announced by Netflix, sending the Internet into a frenzy. While younger generations seem open, fans of the original film are up in arms over the remake of a beloved masterpiece.
In Lithuania's capital, pedestrian crossing lights recently got a makeover as part of the celebration to commemorate 100 years of women’s right to vote in the country. Lights featuring figures wearing skirts now dot the intersections of a bustling Vilnius neighborhood.
"Tytus, Romek i A'Tomek" was the longest-running Polish comic book series. But its creator's biography extended beyond the adventures of a monkey born from an inkblot.
For 50 years, the Polish company Melex has been creating EVs, which sell like hot cakes all over the world - long before electric vehicles became fashionable.
"Every Tangle of Thread and Rope" is the title of Magdalena Abakanowicz's retrospective in the most notable British modern art museum. The late artist's relationship with her body takes the form of unusual sculptures.
There's little doubt that one of the best holiday destinations in Europe is Croatia's Dalmatian coast. This is somewhat old news, as the area was already known as a dream retirement spot 1,700 years ago, attracting even the likes of Roman emperors.
Ever wondered what a Mongolian man on a hobby horse is doing representing one of the most gorgeous and historical Polish cities? There is a valid explanation!
Bram Stoker and Jules Verne, defining figures in the world of literature, took great inspiration from the Romanian lands - despite having never stepped foot inside the country.
Every good story has intriguing protagonists who make you want to figure out who they are and where they came from. In the Three Seas Region, there is a country whose history causes a lot of “I didn’t know that!” reactions. Want to know which one?
There are only a handful of countries around the world where Coca-Cola does not reign supreme. Czechia and Slovakia are among them. Meet Kofola, the socialist Coke alternative introduced in the 60s, still holding strong and topping the soft-drink market.
It should be fairly straightforward. You are born in a country, which means you are its citizen. If someone moves abroad, then after some time, the original connection is lost. Simple? Not when it comes to Poland! We'll tell you why.
The past year of the war in Ukraine was also a year of forging an awareness of the common destiny of Central Europe.
Latvia's second-largest city, Daugavpils, is home to the Mark Rothko Art Center, named after one of the most famous artists in the world, who was born in the city in 1903.
The discovery of the 17,000-year-old Venus of Piatra Neamț figurine in North-Eastern Romania in 2019 was supposed to be an archeological miracle. However, some eagle-eyed journalists discovered that certain puzzle pieces do not fit into the story.
Vietnamese are the third largest national minority in the Czech Republic. What brought these emigrants to Czechia, and how have they assimilated into Czech culture?
Romania’s most renowned bacteriologist, Victor Babeș, dreamt of being an artist – until a tragic event changed the path of his life forever.
The Jew as a tavernkeeper remains a staple of any historical narrative based in early modern Poland. And there's a reason for that, as the occupation was virtually reserved for members of this closed society.
The Tokaj region, famous for its wines that have been prized since the 18th century, became an official appellation in 1737, some two centuries earlier than the famous Burgundy.
Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV is considered the most influential ruler of the High Middle Ages. Despite his education in France, he always remembered where he was born: Prague.
Most of the shops on this beautiful street in the center of Shumen in northeastern Bulgaria have seen better days. Except for one bakery still bustling with life.
Do you want to be a happier person with nothing standing in your way? All you have to do is learn the Croatian practice of fjaka. The people of Croatia have found their own foolproof recipe for happiness and joy every day – and it’s something that anyone can bring home with them.
Podpiwek, which can be peculiarly translated as 'underbeer', is a traditional beverage made from cereal coffee, hops, and yeast. Not unlike malt beer, it provides refreshment on hot summer days.
People all over the world wear pants, bras, and pajamas made in Latvia. A lot of the garments originate from Liepāja. How did this coastal city become the Northern country’s unofficial capital of lingerie?
When the Fiddler on the Roof praised his home village, what part of Central Europe did he have in mind?
A corpse found on the border between Austria and Italy seemed so fresh that the tourists who found it called the police. But it was archeologists would eventually dispute the nationality of the ice man.
The Witcher - a successful Netflix series, a mind-boggling game, and… a musical. All of these are spin-offs of a highly witty fantasy saga. So where did it all begin?
Under the English name Stephen come two different saints. Depending on where in Central Europe you are, it's important not to confuse them.
At a time when European states were looking to establish and reaffirm their culture, Romania decided the best way to cement its identity was through… architecture! Cue the birth of Romanian Revival style that, to this day, continues to brighten up the streets of Bucharest.
Everyone loves their birthday. In some countries where the Catholic Faith is prevalent, people also tend to celebrate the day of their patron saint. The people of Vilnius make sure the day of Saint Casimir is a party no one wants to miss.
If you are planning a trip to Cracow, Poland (if you are not – then you should do), we want to help you avoid one of the most terrible culinary faux pas anyone can commit while in this gorgeous city. One that the locals would not forgive.
Some of Riga's wooden buildings date as far back as the 18th century. Witnesses of wars, power struggles, and transformation, the sturdy structures are a living archive. What is their status today?
These days much is being said about the carnival season and various celebrations that take place as the Earth prepares for its rebirth. Romania tops it with its very unique take on the welcoming of Spring.
It’s the one accessory that goes with everything and never goes out of style. On March 1st of each year, Bulgarians adorn their clothing and wrists with martenitsas. The ancient bracelet, usually made of twisted red and white woolen or cotton threads, announces the end of winter. And so much more.
Due to its history, Central Europe is very sensitive about its own security. That is why since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the importance of the EU in the eyes of the people of CEE states has started declining.
Many countries have their own versions of one-ounce gold coins treated as a form of investment. But globally, the most important commemorates Vienna’s dedication to music.
One of the largest and most elaborate murals from Communist Europe consists of three million porcelain pieces and makes a huge impression. In fact, it had such an impact upon its unveiling that its creator was forced to flee Romania.
Should the Romanian Ursitoare have been present at the birth of Sleeping Beauty, she may not have ended up cursed, as it is the job of these creatures to protect and bless the newborn baby. Who, or what, are these mythological fairies, and why are they so important in Romanian culture?
The founder of the most prestigious awards in journalism was a lifelong rival of William Randolph Hearst. It was this rivalry that set the stage for modern journalism.
Once upon a time, lions roamed parts of the Balkan Peninsula. Excavations show that the last lions were spotted in Bulgaria somewhere around the 3rd or 4th century BC. And while lions were not around to witness the birth of Bulgaria or its struggles, they remain one of the country’s symbols. Why?
Cupid and Eros had nothing on Romania’s Dragobete - a young demigod whose sole purpose was to remind people to love and appreciate one another. Celebrated on the 24 February, the holiday has become Romania’s version of Valentine’s Day.
The largest of the Estonian islands was already inhabited thousands of years ago. In the 21st century, it’s still thriving, and its expansive heritage is just the cherry on top.
About 40 million years ago, a large pine forest was growing on land now long gone. As the Earth was rapidly changing, the forest saw its time was coming to an end. Resigned to its fate, sure of being lost and forgotten for all eternity, it… cried.
The population of the American Bison was severely hit after the arrival of the settlers. From an estimated 60,000,000 animals living on the land prior to 1800, only about 300 lived in the US in 1900. Its European cousin wasn’t that lucky.
The decline in the number of marriages and the rise in the number of divorces are ongoing trends in Europe. But in CEE countries, this trend is taking a much slower path. And there are examples of countries where it is even reversing.
The traditional Romanian woman’s blouse, known as ie, the symbol of authenticity and unity, has recently been recognized as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.
Spanning 140 kilometers, the Soča may not be the longest or largest European river. Still, it is among the most important and – last but not least – the most stunningly beautiful on the continent.
Communist countries were jealous of a few things from the West, and one of them was the famous "capitalist" soft drink. A Polish copy became the symbol of attempts at escaping communism – but in a very unexpected way.
During the longest, cold winter nights, you may want to curl up under your blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and a favorite film. But why not try something different? Estonians did. And now, each year, they host the European Sauna Marathon!
After a long period of short, cold days and endless, dark nights, there comes a time when something has to be done about it. In Hungary, the people of Mohács might just have the answer.
It turns out it was far easier to unite the city made up of several different towns than to come up with a proper name for it.
Known as the "Millennium Schools," characteristic buildings made with one ingenious design are still the most prevalent of their kind in Poland.
Used to fasting and celebrating Easter as a time of penance, many Poles limit indulgences to only a few special occasions each year. But when it’s time to feast time, they do it 100%. Or, in this case, 200%.
By late February, everyone is sick and tired of winter, especially as the eternal cycle of the seasons promises the soon arrival of spring. For millennia, the human race was celebrating that time, trying to scare away the death of winter and invite the season of rebirth and fertility.
Europe is not called “the old continent” by chance. Civilizations here have spawned for millennia. But three cities in Bulgaria are competing to be Europe’s oldest city.
Winter is coming, and for Romanian peasants, that is good news: they can now indulge in the much-beloved șezătoare, where anything can happen. From song learning to marriage planning, șezătoarea was the place where to catch up on village life.
In a small town in eastern Slovakia, an underground spring shoots a 15-meter-tall column of water every day and a half. This is the only place in Europe outside of Iceland where you can see such a marvel.
Books are probably the last things that come to mind when you hear the word “illegal.” Crazy as it sounds, this was once the reality in Lithuania. And it wasn’t just books – it was everything from newspapers to shop signs - which sparked a lucrative smuggling trade.
If the phenomenon of a self-burning fire is not mind-blowing enough already, know that the living fire of Vrancea is more than just pretty flames. It is an indicator that the disaster that lies underneath is about to erupt.
One of Estonia’s most famous scientists is the founder of embryology, Karl Ernst von Baer. Each year, Estonian students honor his life and achievements by giving his monument in Tartu Park a bubble bath to remember - with champagne and beer.
A unique aspect of Slovenian folk art is the way it intermingles with everyday farm life in the form of artfully decorated beehives. It is not only an excellent example of how creativity takes shape in all environments but also how seriously the culture of beekeeping is taken in this country.
Socialism’s great hotel investment in the heart of Polish Tatra Mountains is glamorous again. And it gets one hell of an (unofficial) product placement in the latest production of the most famous Polish opera.
The 2021 census in Bulgaria confirmed something that most Bulgarians know: the town of Melnik’s spot as one of the smallest towns in Europe is safe.
Doftana Prison, located in Prahova county at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, was notorious in the early 20th century for its harsh confinement of political prisoners, and ultimately became a veritable breeding ground for future leaders of a Red Romania.
At almost 650 meters tall, the radio mast in Konstantynów was the tallest structure of its time. Although it toppled in 1991, it held the record until the completion of Burj Khalifa in 2008.
It's like walking through a fairytale city. When you add snow, you feel like you're in a romantic movie. All this is Český Krumlov, a town in Southern Bohemia where time seems to have stood still.
In a small corner of the West Pomeranian forest in northwestern Poland, a grove of pine trees grow in unique shapes that might seem more suited to a fantasy film rather than wildlife reality. The origin of this curiosity is still up for debate.
In the Šalek Valley in Slovenia, new lakes were unintentionally created as a consequence of coal mining. They covered old villages where people have lived for millennia, which are now to be found at the bottom of the lake, hiding a mysterious underwater world.
A song, which some Latvians would like to see become the national anthem, has become an unofficial anthem of a faraway place - Catalonia. The Catalan independence movement gave the song new lyrics and meaning with the composer's blessing.
Today’s race for the tallest building in the world is usually a competition between the United Arab Emirates and China. However, a few short centuries ago, St. Olaf’s Church in Tallinn held the title. (At least, maybe it did.)
At only 91 years old, it is not the oldest Zoo in Europe. However, Prague Zoo is repeatedly ranked as one of the best zoological gardens worldwide. Let us give you a virtual tour.
The “Romanian SUV” took over the world in the mid-90s. What followed was a success story that made a hit around the globe and put Romania on the map of the automobile world, only to disappear into thin air less than 50 years later.
Can sweeping political changes impact what and how we eat? You bet, argues historian and writer Dr. Albena Shkodrova, author of “Communist Gourmet.”
You’ve probably seen or heard the name “Czechia” used instead of “Czech Republic” and may have wondered what the deal was - which name is right? It’s an easy answer: both. Depending on the situation, of course.
The formation process of the world’s languages is one of the most fascinating stories humanity has ever written. At least for language geeks. Or can you get sucked in too?
Step inside the filming set of the newest adaptation of Adams Family, Wednesday, the coming-of-age spin-off that took the world by storm. From the ordinary city of Jericho to the outstanding Nevermore Academy, discover the locations of one of the most binge-watched series.
Found in bathroom cabinets around Latvia, the ointment is said to help ease colds and soothe burns and muscle aches in humans and pets. While several products co-exist on the market, only one claims to be the real Evija.
Lithuania has always been at the crossroads between East and West, with hardly any moment in history when the people were not fighting for their freedom. The 20th century is no exception, but exactly then, a brand-new idea of ensuring security emerged.
Amanita Design’s hit series Samorost, “Machinarium”, and the slightly lesser known “Botanicula” draw from multiple sources of inspiration, including Marcel Duchamp’s Readymades. But they also capture the spirit of Eastern Bloc cartoons, such as “The Little Mole” and “The Tales of Moss and Fern”.
The RAF Latvija minibus, a close relative of the Volkswagen Type 2, never managed to achieve the same legendary status as its competitor beyond the borders of the Soviet Union. But then again, it was little more than an inferior copy, after all.
Europos Park is a “monument valley” on the outskirts of Vilnius to celebrate the spot being exact center of Europe. But the celebration was a bit hasty, as now one of claimants to the title is 11 km away.
The European aristocracy and artists loved the Czech Spas. The fame of Czech healing waters has gradually spread worldwide. The result is the 2021 inscription of the Czech Spa triangle to UNESCO.
We know – pockets are getting smaller, and wallets are only becoming heavier. This would be no problem for the world’s tiniest print money – which measured a mere 27.5 x 38 mm. How much could you fit in your pocket?
Cepelinai dumplings, the fist-sized Lithuanian delicacies, derive their name from Zeppelins - the long, cylindrical airships of the early 20th century to which they bear a striking resemblance. And like their dirigible counterparts, cepelinai will leave you high... on carbs.
"Can you treat a police officer seriously when he is asking you: "Why did you participate in an illegal meeting of dwarfs?" This was the ethos of Poland's Orange Alternative movement - and the origin of the dwarves that now adorn Wrocław's streets.
Despite worldwide usage in the past, timber rafting is very rare today. Last year, a group of countries led by Czechia and Poland nominated and safely navigated it to the UNESCO heritage list.
In this outdoor cabinet of curiosities on the outskirts of Bratislava, Slovakia, animals made of the most unlikely of materials – scrap metal – come to life. It is an art form that is quickly growing in popularity across Eastern Europe.
Bulgarian folk costumes, once considered a thing of the past, now live on Instagram, attracting younger crowds along the way
The 20th century: a time when everyone wanted to touch the sky, but few were thinking about the dangers. Apart from one whose work was centered around the question of, “How can one survive if things go wrong?”
An unusual hunt: digging for truffles in the forests of Slovenia’s Istria.
When frosty winter hits, people tend to stay home and warm themselves up with a nice cuppa… not! Not when they're Polish, anyway. Winter at the end of the carnival was considered by the nobles as the best time to hit each other's pads and party.
We’ve all heard of California’s Route 1 and Australia’s Grand Ocean Road - the world’s most stunning drives. If either tops your must-do list, you really should visit Romania’s Transfăgărășan. Even Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson agrees.
The Czech Republic has often been crowned the most atheistic country in Europe, sometimes even the world. Is it so that all Czechs are non-believers, or is it a bit more complicated?
When the Croatian national football team played the final of the World Cup in 2018, the whole world noticed the red and white squares on the Croatian fans and players. These same squares are also found on the Croatian coat of arms and are popularly called a chessboard.
Households in our region have to allocate relatively high shares of their budgets to basic needs. Their ability to buy non-essential items is limited. The consumption structure in our area will converge to the western European average in line with closing the income gap.
Perched high atop the list of countries with the most literate people in the world are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania... and North Korea. While the first three have some solid proof behind the statistics, the fourth makes the list based on more dubious claims.
Czechia is an aviation superpower. It's one of a handful of countries worldwide that can manufacture an entire airplane – from nose to tail. And Czech aviators and pilots are mighty proud of it.
Nestled amongst the trees in a park in the center of Budapest, Hungary, the much-anticipated House of Music, designed by famed Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, has finally opened its doors to the public.
The Krkonoše Mountains are like a wall, yet they are a bridge linking Czechia and Poland. They consist of deep woods and crystal-clear rivers, yet they are very open to the public. This is the story of the wilderness haven.
Contrary to popular belief, the Airbnb travel model wasn’t invented in the 2000s. Examples of it can be found 60 years earlier with Balkantourist, travel agent in communist Bulgaria.
The countryside is the bread and butter of every nation. Undoubtedly, a vast part of Polish cultural heritage originates in Polish villages and fields. It could not be so if it weren’t for the women!
French, Italian, American, Mediterranean, and so on – cuisine from all over the world seems to enjoy recognition. After all, tasting local specialties is an integral part of any travel. So what about Eastern Europe? What do people eat there?
Which of the Central European countries has in total over 7000 kilometers of ski runs and about 2,500 ski lifts? This whole infrastructure comes complete with guaranteed snow. I can hear you're sold. Want to know where to book your tickets?
The blood-red bohemian garnet is considered the national gem of the Czech Republic. Not only is it good-looking, but legends also say that this beloved stone can replace bad moods with joy.
These funny-looking, curly haired pigs are a Hungarian specialty. Their breeding is protected and regulated by law, and their meat is, well, quite simply delicious.
Due to the climate, which tends to bring rather cold winter months, the nations of the Three Seas Region developed their cuisines following the particularities of each season. But one vegetable dominated all four of them.
At the end of January, masked people with countless bells tied around roam the streets in villages across Bulgaria. But despite their scary outfits, locals are not intimidated. These are the Kukeri, and they are here not to scare onlookers but to chase away the evil forces
It is a route that Czech Kings took upon their coronation for centuries. And while there are no kings in Czechia these days, the Royal Road is still a crucial sightseeing trail through Prague.
Everyone knows that Christmas is on 25 December. It's just that we can't agree on exactly when 25 December should be. The same is true for movable feasts, such as Easter. And - say - the anniversary of the October Revolution, which falls in November.
The fire by the Christmas table is not meant only for Instagramming: try this Bulgarian fortune-telling Christmas tradition instead.
The original traveler-storyteller is thought to have been born not in Venice but on the Croatian island of Korčula.
Would you swim in the frozen waters during Romania’s coldest month to fetch a cross thrown by the Priest? Some wouldn’t - but many would. Or so the tradition proved for the past hundreds of years. Learn about Romania’s most astonishing Epiphany traditions.
2022 marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the word “robot,” brought to you by famous Czech science-fiction author Karel Čapek. However, the term, actually coined by his brother, has deep historical ties to centuries of feudal economics.
A UFO-like set of discs sits atop a mountain peak on the Czechia-Poland border. However, its inhabitants are not extraterrestrials, rather meteorologists who come from far and wide for the unique weather.
Some say that the woods in Poland's Masurian Lake District harbor a secret: that an abandoned channel project from the Polish Lake District to the Baltic Sea wasn’t only for an inland trade route - it was to provide access to a secret German WW2 era submarine shipyard.
While the concept of dining in the dark is not novel, in most such restaurants, the point is to have you guessing at what you’re eating, provided you’ve been able to locate your plate first. In Bulgaria, one restaurant takes this a step further to educate.
If this grapevine could talk, oh... the stories it could tell. Wars, plagues, and fires haven't been able to stop one remarkably resilient vine in Maribor, Slovenia, that is still producing fruit - and wine - at a ripe 400 years old!
The clock strikes 12, and we all suddenly find in a new year. New Year's Eve is the one day that unites people of all religions (and time zones) in celebration and has always been connected with many traditions.
Until 1989, Europe was partitioned by the Berlin Wall. Now, it is divided by the Great Wall of China. CEE countries are looking at Beijing with caution, but Western European states are looking for business opportunities with China.
In Czechia, the beer-drinking culture without a shadow of a doubt constitutes its national heritage. Activists are now fighting for official recognition of this fact by UNESCO.
Wherever you are flying with Czech Airlines, it will always be OK. Why? Because OK is the Czech Airlines callsign. Let us tell you the story of the fifth-oldest airline in the world.
The Struve Geodetic Arc is a network of triangulation towers spanning Scandinavia to the Black Sea. They made it possible to take the first accurate measurement of a meridian arc.
Ready to channel your inner Indiana Jones? Maybe walking across the world’s longest suspended sky bridge, hung almost a hundred meters above a valley in Czechia’s Moravia district, would help you do the trick.
Those traveling to Europe often think it will be sufficient to bring along some Euro, but this is not always the case. So what currency do you need when you find yourself in the Three Seas States?
On 1 October 1869, the Austrian Post Office issued its first postcard. Today merely a collectible, they were for decades a communication staple, as texting is now.
English-style beer consumption stole some ground from vodka territory when a jokingly named quasi-political movement called the Polish Beer-Lovers Party gained Members of Parliament (MPs) in the early 1990s.
Austrian startup Blue Planet Ecosystems has been presenting its product on efficient, bio, eco-friendly, and sustainable fishing production called LARA systems (Land-based Automated Recirculating Aquaculture). The product aims to address future food shortages.
With Christmas approaching, let's look at how it is celebrated in the Czech Republic, where little attention is paid to faith and church. And is Christmas here still a Christian holiday?
Many festive dishes tend to be present in some shape and form throughout the year. But can you find dishes that are so Christmas-exclusive that you can’t really taste them outside of the season?
Despite being called the most atheist country in Europe, Czechia has a rich religious history. Including having many saints.
Yes, there is a ranking of the world’s healthiest traditional feasts. And guess who’s at the top of the ranking? Poles with their fish-abundant, vegetable-based Christmas Eve supper. Never mind that it consists of twelve courses!
Though merchant Levi Strauss is mainly credited for the invention of jeans, little would have happened in this area if not for Latvian-born tailor Jacob Davis. In 1871 in Reno, Nevada, Davis found denim to be the perfect fabric for workhorse pants.
Believe it or not, winter in Croatia can get pretty cold. Most households used to have fireplaces, which served as the basis for developing an interesting Christmas tradition.
The date is the 18th of the second month. The year is 7527. And no, there is nothing wrong with your calendar. According to the Ancient Bulgarian Calendar, the year is very accurate, recognized by UNESCO as the most accurate calendar in the world.
It has been said and will never cease to be repeated that Austria – the home of Silent Night, the world's revered Christmas carol – certainly knows how to turn Christmas into a special time of year, spiced up with a short visit by the underworld demons.
The second largest island in Croatia is the home of the town of Pučišća. I know – it most probably doesn’t tell you anything. And it should, as its quarry has been supplying the world with marble for centuries.
Never ones to leave their guests hungry, on one particular day of the year, Latvians load the table with nine foods. Traditionally, this was Yuletide to mark the winter solstice. Today, many celebrate Christmas but still keep up with tradition, too.
Hidden in the forests of Bulgaria are immense riches. How should one go about obtaining them?
How much exactly should you tip in Central Europe? We've made a handy guide to help you figure it out.
Is Austria a factory of geniuses? It certainly looks like it! Let us briefly remind ourselves what the Nobel Prize is and what it is awarded for.
Riga Black Balsam, concocted by a pharmacist in the mid-18th century, was used as a magic cure for numerous diseases. Today it's a drink, cocktail ingredient, cure for indigestion, and, most importantly, Latvia's pride.
Created in 1766, Vienna’s Prater is one of the oldest public leisure spots on the continent. The amusement park in the center of Prater began operations in the 18th century.
Are you able to survive in water for a few hours at one time? Can you swim (advisable)? Do you like challenges? If your answer to the above question is ‘yes,’ then we have a proposition you won't want to pass up.
Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays worldwide. In Romania, the Christmas spirit is spread around by the Juni – a group of young men who carol the streets and houses for days in a row.
Prague’s Czechoslavic Ethnographic Exhibition of 1895, the Central European answer to the World Expo (of sorts), was the first time the people of Central Europe noticed the richness of regional folk culture. It immediately started a folk craze.
What do Agata Christie, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Ulay, Jackie Chan, and Nick Cave have in common? A Slovenian episode!
A massive level of inflation in Hungary created the need to issue the highest-nominated banknote ever.
In most European countries, you grow out of swinging in your early teens. But not in Estonia, where kiiking, or swinging, is a national sport recognized by the Estonian Sports Association.
During Christmas, one melody is sure to unite the world. This carol has been sung for over two hundred years by Christians all over the world. Do you know it? Where does it come from?
Adam Mickiewicz was perhaps the most important figure in Polish 19-century culture. His epic novel Pan Tadeusz – the epitome of Polish national sentiment – contains descriptions of more traditional Polish dishes than any other features.
If you order tea in an Estonian café, you can expect a wide variety of herbal drinks, though not necessarily what we usually call tea. Influenced by Russian culture, the social division between Estonian tea vs herbal infusion drinkers has left traces to this day.
Many communities and cultures would use words, foods, melodies, or actions to express themselves – not the Romanian people, however. For them, the deepest feelings of the human soul were best transmitted through a rug.
Who was the greatest musician ever alive? A celebrity by today's definition – famous, talented, and wealthy? Whose compositions are known to practically every human, even if they have no idea about classical music? There is only one answer – Mozart!
Sibiu salami, a trademark of Romanian cuisine, is not even made in Sibiu. In fact, it wasn’t even invented by a Romanian. How did this internationally-appreciated aliment gain popularity, and where did the name actually come from?
World-famous Polish ski jumper, Adam Małysz, was once asked what he did to relax when sitting on the bench, waiting to jump. He answered – "I hum Christmas carols." His answer might have astonished everyone but Poles. Poles smiled and understood.
To: Mum, From: Nicky – is what you may find written on your Christmas present, for example, in the UK or the USA. However, Central Europeans are adamant that the gifts have a more otherwordly origin. So what is it about all this gift-giving tradition?
We seem to take it for granted that Christmas presents are brought by Father Christmas in his sleigh. That's down to C.C. Moore, but what came before and is still practiced in many Three Seas States?
They’re everywhere. And they’re all watching you. However, this is not a horror story but rather the charming story of the Sibiu roofs, known for their “eyes” that watch over the city.
The Czech Republic is crisscrossed by one of the most perfect and dense networks of hiking trails. The marking system is so good that it is used worldwide.
Popular across Central and Eastern Europe from Poland to Estonia to Caucasus, this refreshing drink, which comes sweet or savory, is a zero-waste drink from bread leftovers. Its most recent Polish iteration has taken a turn to promote more responsible beer drinking.
In 1935, the Romanian government banned any visual representation of Mickey Mouse, and the reason behind this drastic measure might make you take a double look at Disney’s most beloved character.
Ho! Ho! Ho! With the merriest time of year around the corner, the cities of Europe are getting into the festive spirit. What better way to do so than by eating, dancing, and Christmas shopping? What are the best destinations to travel to?
In the middle of the summer, as we are stocking up on that lush, sun-generated heat, it seems safer to think about the growing trend of swimming in icy-cold water in the middle of winter. A sport that unites some of the Baltic countries. Which ones?
Slovenia has a rich tradition of building chapels. You can see them everywhere, in any shape and form, old and new. Although visitors to the lands would point to this extraordinary fact, it is unclear why the tradition was so alive among Slovenes.
You’d have to be pretty out of your mind to rob a bank – let alone during the communist times. But it happened, and the authorities were so shocked that they documented the investigation in a movie, casting in the leading roles the real-life protagonists of the heist.
Next year, Czechia will celebrate 45 years since the first Czech entered space. Even though the country is not a space superpower, it has plans for a base on the Moon. And a lot more!
Born Idek Trzmiel in Łódź, Poland, Jack Tramiel was the creator of the Commodore 64, the computer that holds a Guinness World Record for being the best-selling machine of its kind.
Hungarian-American startup SignAll has been intensely working for over a decade to invent the SignAll Lab tool, which translates American Sign Language (ASL) into American English.
A national holiday in Romania and a popular customary feast in more countries of Central Europe, the commemoration of St. Andrews Day on November 30 is an occasion to witness ghostly activities and get them to share insights from the future.
Slovenia has proportionally more karst than any other country. It shaped its history and identity. It was here that most karst phenomena were studied very early on. Even the name karst came from the Kras region in Slovenia, a smaller region within the Slovenian Classical Karst.
Ivo Boscarol is a Slovenian entrepreneur and aircraft designer with a great success story. Throughout his continuing success, he has remained true to his birthplace and dedicated a lot of made money to local causes.
Not sure if you want to believe the legend that a fir tree in this exact spot is one of the oldest Christmas traditions in Europe? Heirs to the Brotherhood of the Blackheads can show you historic proof.
No, this is not a story of an enemy spy inside the Czech secret service. It is a story of a Czech icon that raised generations at home and abroad. And even made it to space!
The rise of national languages in Central Europe led to the expansion of diacritic letters, unique to a few groups of them. Nowadays, Unicode has given us an easy computational solution. But the fight for diacritic inclusiveness lasted for decades.
Developing since the 1980s, Latvia's sea buckthorn industry is now well and truly ripe. Not only is export on the rise, but growers are creating new products to introduce people to the vitamin-packed berry and its powers.
Polish citizens, who found themselves under a foreign rule for 123 years, were often forced to leave their native lands in pursuit of opportunities unavailable to them under new rulers. Collectively, they are referred to as Polonia.