Country Listing

Czechoslovakia Table of Contents



Topography and Drainage

The country's 127,905 square kilometers divide topographically as well as historically into three major areas: Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia, Bohemia consists of the five western political divisions, or kraje (sing., kraj): Zapadocesky (West Bohemia), Severocesky (North Bohenia), Jihocesky (South Bohenia), Vychodocesky (East Bohenia), and Stredocesky (Central Bohenia). Moravia consists of the two central political divisions: Severomoravsky (North Moravia) and Jihomoravsky (South Moravia). Slovakia consists of the three eastern political divisions: Zapadoslovensky (West Slovakia), Stredoslovensky (Central Slovakia), and Vychodoslovensky (East Slovakia). The three Slovak kraje constitute the Slovak Socialist Republic; the other seven kraje constitute the Czech Socialist Republic. Kraje are further subdivided into okresy (sing., okres), roughly equivalent to countries in the United States.

The areas of western Bohemia and eastern Slovakia belong to different mountain and drainage systems. All but a minute fraction of the Bohemian region drains into the North Sea by way of the Vltava (Moldau) and Labe (Elbe) rivers. The hills and low mountains that encircle this area are part of the north-central European uplands that extend from southern Belgium, through the central German lands, and into Moravia. These uplands, which are distinct from the Alps to the south and the Carpathian Mountains to the east, are known geologically as the Hercynian Massif. Most of Slovakia drains into the Danube (Dunaj) River, and its mountains are part of the Carpathians, which continue eastward and southward into Romania.

The uplands of Moravia are a transition between the Hercynian Massif and the Carpathians and are in contrast with them by having more nearly north-south ridge lines. Most of Moravia drains southward to the Danube, but the Odra (Oder) River rises in the northeast and drains a sizable portion of the northern region (see fig. 9).

Data as of August 1987