With Moravia and Czech Silesia, Bohemia constitutes the traditional Czech Lands, although historically there was a sizable German minority, and in its broader meaning Bohemia is often understood to include this entire area, which until 1918 was a Hapsburg crown land. Prague is the traditional Bohemian capital. Although Bohemia is highly urbanized and densely populated, agriculture and rural life and customs retain their importance. Central Bohemia consists of fertile lowlands and plateaus, drained by the Elbe and Vltava (Moldau) rivers. Grain, sugar beets, grapes and other fruit, flax, and the famous hops used in the breweries of Plzeň (Pilsen) are the principal crops. Prague is the center of a heavy industrial region, and Plzeň is also known for the huge Skoda works, producing machinery and munitions. Bohemia is celebrated for its spas and beautiful resorts, notably Karlovy Vary (Ger. Karlsbad ) and Mariánské Lázn&ebreve; (Ger. Marienbad ). The overwhelming majority of the population is Czech, but there are some Slovak, German, and other minorities.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.